If you have a love for food that goes beyond the mealtime experience, a food business should be on the menu. So many people now want to show their love of food to the customer, either by setting up a restaurant, food truck, or even an online store. While there are many great reasons to set up a food business, it is vital that every company does it in the right way. With this in mind, there are a number of overlooked components that budding food entrepreneurs can fall foul of.
Insufficient Technical Knowledge
Many food-based entrepreneurs talk about the love of food and its relationships with the individual. The biggest problem is that this romantic notion doesn’t translate to the modern world. Companies need to have access to IT services; an understanding of how to protect their website and their customers is essential to building a successful business. Data breaches are far more common in smaller businesses than in larger ones, and this is why technical knowledge and expert support should always be on the menu.
Not Understanding the Restaurant Industry
Sadly, statistics show that 25% of restaurants open and close down within the first 12 months of trading. This is partly down to a limited understanding of what the restaurant industry entails. A restaurant business needs to be run efficiently in every stage of the chain: from the front-of-house staff to the food itself. Food entrepreneurs often focus on the dishes and customer experience, but overlook the food costs, profits, the right wholesaler, and many other aspects that are all pivotal to making a food business thrive. First-time restaurateurs must do a thorough research before opening, write a detailed business plan, consider their target audience and – if necessary – find a seasoned partner to help flourish the business.
The Customer Experience
We’ve all encountered a waiter that’s not given attention to detail or has been incredibly condescending, or experienced a restaurant owner hovering around the place telling off waiters in front of customers. It’s these things that will override the taste of the food, no matter how amazing it is!
Excellent customer service in the form of helpful staff is the most important factor that will create a long-lasting impression. The experience of the customer runs the entire experience, not just the interactions between the server and the customer, but the cost of the dishes, the ambience of the location, and everything that creates a unique feel to a place.
Obviously, one of the most important decisions when opening a food business is the location, as this will determine who your customer base is and therefore it could make or break your business. Is the restaurant in a central or in a remote area? Is it a business district or a residential neighbourhoods? Is the space small or large; quiet or noisy; what do the surroundings looks like; close to competitors or not? Look at franchise outlets: even if the food, the interior design and the hospitality are the same, the dining experience style of will be widely different. Choosing the perfect restaurant location for your food business is crucial to its success.
The Ingredients of Amazing Food
Of course, we don’t tend to overlook the food, but while we are all after providing amazing dining experiences, we have to ensure that we obtain it. It’s not just about the recipe, but also about the chef, kitchen team, and ingredients. There’s been a major shake-up in the restaurant industry in recent years with many hospitality professionals saying it is much harder than at any time in the past to recruit qualified staff. Naturally, this makes it harder to consistently provide high-quality dishes food and flawless meals to your customers. As a business owner, you should focus on retaining talent, which means keeping your staff happy, satisfied in their roles and well paid.
There are so many different aspects of food that will cater to an amazing customer experience, whether this is having the right coffee maker for your breakfast menu, offering a seasonal menu focused of locally-sourced ingredients, or a commitment to sustainability and zero food waste like at Pizza Pilgrims in Selfridges London.
Food is the key theme, but we have to remember that around the things we consume are so many other commonly overlooked aspects. Get these things right and it will make a real difference to the overall quality of your business.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.