Taking on a Pub or Restaurant is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle choice.
You will want to hit the ground running and plan for success. Our blog gives you a framework to work with including considerations, actions and top tips to help you when taking on a Pub or Restaurant afresh.
Set your budgets, know your budgets and work within their parameters.
These should include sales, wages, marketing, bills etc. Sit down and write a list, find out your set monthly payments and then work out averages for the payments which will flex and budget for them.
Communicate to your team how much you need to take each day and incentivise them to do it. This can simply be, if by the end of the day your team has taken or exceeded this target, buy them a drink!
Can you negotiate set prices from suppliers? Can you reduce costs by switching suppliers? Review every account. Do you really need to spend everything you are spending?
Review window cleaning, gardeners, cleaners, car park maintenance, sky packages. Is there some expenditure that could be reduced from daily to bi-daily or weekly to fortnightly or even monthly to quarterly without any impact on the business?
If you do what’s always been done, you will always get the same results……
The stocking policy of a pub or restaurant business is of great importance. It will help you to deliver your vision and ultimately profit.
What are the stock results for the site? Is the site making a stock surplus or deficit? What Gross Profit have you budgeted to achieve? Is this currently being exceeded? How do you plan to maintain this or increase it going forward? What is your stockholding value? What is your monthly expenditure with your food and beverage suppliers?
Is your pricing in line with competitors? Is you’re stocking policy working for you? It’s always worth reviewing your product range.
How many wines by the glass do you serve? What Gross Profit do you make on the bottle and by the glass?
How many bottled beers do you stock?
How many pints per week of each product do you sell?
What are your 10 top sellers? Can you do a deal for your customers? Is this something you could use to negotiate better cost prices from your suppliers? Do they deliver your budgeted Gross Profit or higher?
What are your 10 lowest sellers and can you delist them? What could they be replaced with?
What are you wasting? Why are you wasting it? How can you reduce it?
Challenge your suppliers and ask what deals can they do for you? Can they provide any stock free of charge which can be used to increase your footfall through taster sessions or complimentary deals?
Speak to product Brand ambassadors to see if they have any promotional items which can be given away as freebies or Branded Glassware to help you enhance the perceived quality and delivery of the product.
What Food Gross Profit have you budgeted to achieve? What Gross Profit does your current menu deliver?
What Gross Profit does your top 5 dishes generate and is this higher than your budgeted Gross Profit?
How many ingredients do you stock? Are there any ingredients stocked for only one dish? Can this ingredient be utilised in others dishes or replaced to reduce wastage?
When was the last time your menu was refreshed and is it up to date and current?
What ingredients can you negotiate a set supplier price for? Is your supplier the best supplier?
Again what are you wasting and why? Over ordering? Product Quality? Investigate and then plan ways in which your team could reduce waste.
- Social Media
This may not be your area of expertise but in this digital age, the power of Social Media is ever growing. Your pub/restaurant needs to be ready. Get interactive and review what is being said on the main social networks. Feedback, whether positive or negative, is invaluable nowadays – negative feedback can be instant, non-forgiving and damaging and so needs to be dealt with in an appropriately polite and constructive way.
Are you able to be the social media Guru, or do you need to appoint member of team to help you?
Endeavour to take ownership of any account connected to your business. That means Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdviser, Instagram etc. This enables you to promote your business as well as your calendar of events. Post pictures and socialise with your customers. In the event of receiving negative feedback via social media, you should respond and rectify as a matter of course. This is your imperative – it shows your commitment towards the guest and the standards that you always expect to deliver.
If your site does not have any of these accounts yet, get them set up. Then let your customers know you can now be found on each network. Encourage sharing and try to build likes. Building a following can be a slow process and will not happen overnight, but as 99.9% of customers now have the world at their fingertips through their smartphone, you need to ensure your site is part of that world by investing in communication via this platform.
The more people who know about your business the better.
Research the local area, the surrounding community and your competition.
Get yourself out there. What happens in the community? What is popular? What groups meet? Where do people go? Why do they come to you or not?
Speak to people. Introduce yourself. Meet the local shop keepers and use the hairdressers. Make a point of listening to what the say and ask them some of these questions:
What do you do on the weekend?
What local teams do we have?
Where do families go?
This market research should be ongoing and even though some of the information you hear about your pub or restaurant may be a bitter pill to swallow, it does gives you the opportunity to turn any negatives into a positives.
By knowing your community, not only can you be supportive and sponsor or donate to local events, but you can be part of them too.
Loyalty breeds loyalty.
- Introduce yourself
Hold a meeting to introduce yourself. Get to know your team. Let them know who you are, why you are there and how long you have been there? What do they love about the pub? What do they think or want improving? In this meeting it is important to set out your expectations, lay down the ground rules and set the stage for the future. Ask about past promotions or marketing that has worked well for the pub, ask about what hasn’t worked. Is there anything the customers ask for that you don’t currently offer?
This is an opportunity to meet your regulars. Lay on some nibbles and if you can, factor the cost of buying them a pint which can be a great networking opportunity. It will probably be a busy evening as people like to know who is going to run their local. Some will be in mourning that you will never live up to the old manager while others will be glad to see the back of them and will think you are a breath of fresh air. Do a little speech but keep it short and sweet. Tell them a little bit about yourself and your history which should hopefully instil some confidence in them that you can run the pub or restaurant to their high expectations. Let the customers know that you won’t get everything right instantly. If they like their drink or food a certain way, ask them to remind you, so you learn. Maybe introduce a suggestion box for the first month encouraging people to talk to you.
It’s a good idea to review your trading. Ask yourself what works and what doesn’t work. Work out your busiest times, your quiet times and ask yourself why they are quiet?
Do your offers work?
If you have a quiz night, how many people attend? Look at what it costs you. Is it on the right night? Are there other quizzes in the local area? If so, attend them and take a look at their offer – are there ideas you can steal? Can you make yours better? Have a think about how you can encourage more participation? What time does it start and does it clash with sport or other popular local events?
Have a curry night? Review it. How many curries do you serve? What up-sells do you offer? How popular is it and which curry sells the best? Ask people for their feedback. What Gross Profit does the evening deliver? How can you improve it? Is it on the right night?
Fish and Chips – Normally in any establishment this is a top seller, is yours? Could it be improved? Is the fish big enough? Batter good? Is it priced right and could it compete with the best local fish shop? Do you offer takeaway? Get feedback.
Music – Is it right? Is the right music playing at the right time of the day? Is it themed at specific times? Are you licensed for live music? Would it work, be cost effective and return good profit on investment? Does the music change by time of day and if not, should it? Is it livelier on a Friday than a Monday? The atmosphere in a pub or restaurant can effect length of stay and spend per head, is yours delivering for you?
Lunchtime trade – does it work for the local area? Are you quiet or busy at lunchtimes? What are your food delivery times? Who are you appealing to? Is there a segment of the market you are not appealing to? Do lunchtimes deliver good gross profit? How could it be improved? What are your competitors doing? Can you compete, do you want to compete, or could you appeal to a niche market?
When taking on a pub if you have offers running which nobody knows about because it’s not advertised, it isn’t working for you. If you have an offer running which is advertised and isn’t working, there is a need to review it! Analyse the mechanics of the offer because there may be something you never even considered that would increase its popularity. Maybe it is not an offer that will ever appeal to your customer base and should simply be ditched. This is your business and in reality you hope everything you try is a success, but this is not always the outcome. Ensure you continuously review, revisit and revitalise – don’t get left behind.
- Say Thank you.
You work in a competitive marketplace so giving a little bit back and rewarding loyalty can get your customers coming back again and again. This could be a social media “for today only” offer, launched on the hop, that will reach people who actively follow you on these platforms. It could be a voucher to be used over the next week which would help to increase visits. Or a complimentary dessert or coffee provided on the house by yourself. Customers like to feel special, so think of ways to make them feel it. One idea that works is to hold a Christmas party for regulars, where you put on a few nibbles. Design and print individually personalised invites and deliver them by hand. Chuck in a few surprises, a prize draw, a meat hamper, it’s up to you but the individual invite, the personal touch and the great night had by all can ensure they are your regular for another year!!
Taking on a pub or restaurant can be a 24/7 job and there are not always enough hours in the week. It is imperative that you realise that you cannot do everything yourself. So whether you rely on a partner, family member or a member of your team, you must have help. Compose a list of weekly jobs and designate them to specific days, thus already making you’re to do list shorter. Train the key members of your team in tasks, so that you free up your time to focus on other areas or simply to have a bit of rest so that you are at the top of your game when the business needs you, during peak times.
- Keep Track
Review your performance continuously, set out a monthly planner, which includes key events keep this as a live plan which can be reviewed weekly. Monitor your income, expenditure, staffing levels and review contracts on a rolling basis.
Monitor your social media activity and learn, review and plan for success from feedback you have sites reputation.
- Listen to yourself
There will be daily, monthly and weekly unexpected occurrences which you need to deal with. Trust your instincts – if a freezer is broken review its use. Ask yourself whether you need it or if you can live without it. Should it be replaced? If your team are not living up to expectations, are your expectations too high, do you need to invest time into training or does your personnel need reviewing.
In conclusion when taking on a Pub or Restaurant, Rome wasn’t built in a day, a football team didn’t become part of the premiership and maintain their position overnight, and Amazon was a small start-up once. From little acorns do oak trees grow. By setting out your plan and continuously reviewing it, your business will evolve. There are many experts out there who can help along the way. Use their expertise to help your business get better and better.