A good friend of mine who owns an upper scale small family restaurant called me in panic. The business is slow, in fact it is so slow that she was afraid that she will have to lay off people because her cash reserves were getting depleted.
It is true that with this uncertain economy, with the stock market collapsing, the sub-prime mortgage down the tubes and the credit taughter than titanium, sometimes it seems like the end of the world.
So what can a restaurateur do to keep the business going?
The best course of action is to focus on the bases. Yes, the economy is not good, yes people go out less and eat less in restaurants because they have less money (specially if they invested in real state or the stock market) or they are just afraid that the economy will collapse and want to save some money… but you know what? This is more an emotional reaction than a real depression with lots of jobs being lost.
Most the people are still keeping their jobs and there is always enough people who go out to eat to fill in your restaurant IF (and this IF is really important in these taught times) provides them with something better than your competitors.
In easy times it easy to make money by just about anybody with a business. People are happier to spend their money when the economy is vibrant and there is plenty to spend and they are less picky where they spend it.
However, turn the economy around, just like now, and people start watching really careful where they spend their hard earned dollars. If they decide to go out for dinner, they better hand pick a restaurant that it will guarantee them a great dinning experience.
This is where your restaurant should shine and set apart from your competitors. Focus on your clients with a laser sharp intensity. Make their dinning dollars count by giving them the best food, best drinks and best service that you are able to provide at your place and they will be grateful to you and come again looking to repeat that great experience.
Also, don’t skimp in your marketing. this is a mistake that many restaurateurs do. In times of crisis, they start cutting down their marketing and sales effort and this brings less clients and less revenue.
Try no to panic and run your business the best you can. This is the only way you can weather these stormy times. Hang in there and wait for the economy to recover and people to come back to eat at your place.