The restaurant business is quite competitive. According to IBIS World, single-location full-service restaurant businesses are about 156,715. The number of total restaurants may be higher when you consider chain restaurants. If you have recently acquired an existing restaurant, you must learn how to take over a restaurant business and run it successfully. In this article, you’ll learn nine tips for taking over a restaurant business, even if it’s your first time.
1. Upgrade Your Storage
Restaurant storage helps you keep excess supplies and equipment, such as cutlery. Revamping your storage is one of the ways to take over a restaurant business. Start by evaluating the current storage capacity. What are the areas that need improvement? You may discover from your audit that you only need a commercial freezer repair, not a new one. Assess specific storage requirements of various supplies and equipment. With such knowledge, you can now explore efficient storage options that save space.
Food safety is another consideration when upgrading your storage. According to a paper published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management, 60% of food-borne outbreaks trace back to restaurants. Complying with food safety regulations is one of the best ways to stay ahead as a food business. Apart from preventing food-borne outbreaks, you can increase customer satisfaction. So, consider investing in climate controlled storage, especially for high-risk food. Train your workers to separate raw and cooked foods in storage.
To learn how to take over a restaurant business, you must embrace technology. Upgrade your storage with modern technology, such as inventory tracking and digitized restocking. An automated inventory system ensures you are never caught by surprise. You can also reduce waste with inventory control measures such as the first in, first out method.
2. Give Your Interior a Makeover
Knowing how to take over a restaurant business includes giving your interior a fresh look. Start by redesigning the interior aesthetics to reflect your brand and personality. Consider your customer preferences, style, and ambiance. For example, if you mainly deal with oriental dishes, you can choose a coastal theme. You can explore painting, framed photos, or decorative finishes for the wall. Your restaurant aesthetics can be an extension of your personality, so don’t be held back. The wall, flooring, and ceiling are your blank canvas – paint away.
Doing an interior makeover is not limited to aesthetics – comfort matters too. Start by assessing the current seating capacity and arrangement. Is there room for upgrading the seating furniture? Guests should be able to move around the restaurant and sit without the hassle. If you plan on offering different dining experiences, design special sections. You can go a little extra with acoustics with sound-absorbing materials.
Don’t forget the restroom in your facility. According to Bradley Corp, 26% of customers will leave because of a dirty restroom. The most basic upgrade you can do is a thorough cleaning. Another factor to consider is accessibility. Can all patrons, including those with disabilities, access your restrooms? If not, add grip bars, proper signage, and lighting.
3. Install a New Door
One of the things you can’t ignore if you want to learn how to take over a restaurant business is the door. It’s a small part of your building but affects security, aesthetics, and functionality. Restaurants are often targets for break-ins and robberies. So, for security purposes only, you can consider commercial door installation. Choose a door with reinforced steel, quality locks, and capacity for surveillance.
A restaurant door should be functional and accessible. It should allow customers and staff to enter and exit without hassle. Ensure the door permits accessibility for persons with disabilities. For example, it should be wide and allow entry of a wheelchair. You can also add features such as automatic door openers and push buttons. To promote safety, install adequate lighting near the door so it’s easy to see during the evening.
Remember, your door is the first thing customers see when approaching. So, make sure it’s appealing. Worn-out handles and outdated designs give the impression you don’t maintain your property. So, select a door design that matches your restaurant’s style and theme. Also, ensure the finish and color align with your branding. Thus, your door will create an inviting and warm atmosphere.
4. Keep Pests Away
In a case that has gained media interest, a McDonald’s restaurant in the UK was recently fined £500,000. The fine came after a health inspection discovered an out-of-control rodent infestation. So, if such a huge brand can have a pest infestation, a single-location restaurant can be affected too. Apart from rodents, flies and ants are the next common unwanted restaurant visitors. If you want to know how to take over a restaurant business, deal with pests.
As the old saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Start by developing a rigorous cleaning schedule with daily and weekly tasks. Your staff should know proper cleaning techniques and the essence of restaurant cleanliness. Pests often invade because of leftover foods on surfaces. Remove all waste to a separate location and sanitize all storage spaces. Work with a waste management company to empty the trash bins frequently to prevent attracting pests.
If the restaurant is already infested, don’t panic. Instead, engage with pest control companies for regular inspections and treatments. They’ll give you recommendations based on the types of pests that have been infested. For example, they may recommend food baits for ant extermination. Ensure they do a thorough extermination before your business takes off. You can also request comprehensive documentation of the inspections.
5. Repair Your Parking Lot
Did you know customers can leave your restaurant because of parking problems? A study by Inrix found that 40% of drivers will drive away from businesses with poor parking. Start by assessing the condition of the current parking lot. Are there cracks, potholes, drainage issues, or fading marks? Is the space enough for your expected volume? You can determine the extent of repairs you’ll need based on your assessments. Ensure to work with commercial paving services for professional help.
A professional paving service will repair the cracks by filling them with asphalt. A seal coating can help protect the asphalt surface and improve its appearance. If you have drainage issues, ensure a proper slope for easy drainage. Drainage issues can cause flooding, which makes your property look unkempt.
If you want to know how to take over a restaurant business, make your parking lot easy to access. One of the ways to achieve this is by installing universal signage. Ensure the signage indicates parking rules, entrances, and exits. If your restaurant property has trees and shrubs, trim them for clear visibility. You can also increase accessibility through adequate lighting. Well-lit parking lots are safer, especially during nighttime. If you expect high traffic flow, install speed bumps to regulate the flow.
6. Invest in Safety Features
To know how to take over a restaurant business, you must invest in security. Focus on three key areas: fire, property, and humans. Restaurants are quite vulnerable to fire incidences, considering cooking is the main activity. According to the US Fire Administration, 61% of these fires involve cooking equipment. So, your first stop should be ensuring all cooking equipment meets standards. Look for fire extinguishers for businesses that can fit your needs. Apart from regular inspections, also install robust fire detection systems on the property.
Your restaurant building requires robust security systems for physical security. Start by installing a comprehensive security system. It should include surveillance cameras, access control, and alarms. Ensure place the security cameras at strategic spots such as cash stations and exits. If your budget allows, hire a dedicated team to check the security footage for any incidents.
Many restaurants forget employee safety when considering safety and security. Some injuries employees will likely get include lacerations, burns, trips, and falls. Your best strategy is to provide suitable safety training to employees. The training should include food handling, lifting techniques, and responding to emergencies. For customers, safety includes everything from the food itself to the seating. Ensure all areas are well-lit to avoid falls. Promoting customer safety isn’t only a legal requirement; it’s an ethical obligation too.
7. Maintain Your HVAC
Was the former restaurant owner paying more energy bills than they should have? The University of Florida says leaks in the ductwork could lead to 40% in energy consumption. You don’t have to let faulty HVAC parts chew up your bottom line. Consider replacing older HVAC units in your restaurant. That way, you can reduce energy usage and so your utility costs. Insulating the ductwork around the HVAC will help reduce heat loss and gain. You can also use solar panels to reduce reliance on the grid system.
If there’s a functional HVAC in place, maintenance can ensure longevity and save you costs. Start by scheduling routine inspections for each unit with local HVAC services. Regular air filter changes help ensure proper airflow and, thus, good indoor air quality. Dust and debris may accumulate in the air ducts. So, plan for inspection and cleaning to remove these contaminants.
To know how to take over a restaurant business, you must learn to please customers. Maintaining your HVAC is one way how. Most people are willing to pay more to get ambiance. A well-maintained HVAC guarantees a fresh and comfortable dining environment. No customer wants to spend an afternoon in a stale, stuffy restaurant. Yet a functional HVAC provides efficient ventilation–leaving a smile on your customer’s faces.
8. Fix Your Roof
In a recent KMTV headline, a woman was injured at a restaurant in Lava Hot Springs after a roof collapsed. The police and the fire department arrived to rescue two people trapped inside. Was the incidence preventable? A roof can collapse under the weight, especially after heavy rain or snow. Yet not all roofs fall–well-maintained roofs stand the test of changing weather. If you have taken over a restaurant, have a roofing service inspect and fix the roof.
Once you have taken ownership of the restaurant, call an inspector for a thorough inspection. Are there any signs of damage, leaks, or deterioration? Roof issues often include damaged shingles, gaps, cracks, and poor drainage. Check for the condition of flashing, gutters, and downspouts. Using the assessment report, determine if replacement or repair is the best option. Even if it’ll be costly, your customers’ safety comes fast.
Yet fixing the roof before commencing business has many advantages. First, you’ll skip legal liabilities that come with personal injury. Second, you’ll build your reputation as a business that cares for more than the bottom line..
9. Revamp Your Menu
Lastly, spice up the menu to learn how to take over a restaurant business. After all, the main reason people go to a restaurant is to eat. Make them come back with your revamped menu. Add fruits vegetables, desserts, and even oriental dishes. According to the 2022 Dining Trends report, 84% of diners check a menu online before visiting a restaurant. What that means for you is to offer variety—in both walk-ins and takeout options.
While orienting to dishes you love may feel natural, research customer preferences. What do customers in your area want more? You may consider making accommodations for different dietary needs. You can also be playful by incorporating seasonal and local treats. In the end, your menu should reflect modern trends, your style, and your culture.
When redesigning your menu, remove less popular items to simplify it. Having too many options can make you stretch too wide. Yet narrowing options you and customers love helps you focus on your strengths. Even the menu fonts, layout, and design should express this simplicity.
To bring it all together, taking over a business can be an exciting opportunity to grow it. Yet some people fail because of ignoring some basic principles. With these nine tips, you can learn how to take over a restaurant business that succeeds in a competitive industry. You’ll gain a sense of satisfaction creating an incredible dining experience.