5 Tips to Prepare Your Restaurant Business for 2016

As the New Year begins to unfold, it’s important for restaurant owners to take a good, hard, look at how their restaurant performed in 2015. Identifying areas where the restaurant had great success, like hiring new staff, running certain specials, or opening a new location, allows the owners to reinforce those successes so that they continue on into 2016. It also forces owners and managers to find flaws within the restaurant, leaving the management team to develop new plans and initiatives to improve on those areas of business. As you go over your 2015 results, be sure to talk with key employees throughout your business to obtain additional insight on processes that may not directly reflect themselves in financial reports. Here are a few places to look at closely as you begin to implement your 2016 plans.

Prepare for Growth

Whether it’s planning space for more tables, freeing up operational costs to hire additional staff, or designing an additional menu for lunch or breakfast, being able to plan in advance for an uptick in sales and growth will allow your business to guide its growth, rather than react to it. Your restaurant’s 2016 plan should include specific milestones that you intend to hit throughout the year, along key indicator points along the way and strategies to get there. If a year goal is to increase dinner traffic by 15%, determine what needs to be done to accomplish that, such as hiring additional wait staff, adding more tables, increasing menu offerings, or changing hours of operation.

Invest and Improve in Tech

Technology available in the restaurant industry has boomed over the past few years. With the introduction of tablets at tables where customers are able to order, play games, and pay from, many of the traditional tasks that occur in restaurants are now being automated. An easy place to start is to look into credit card payment technology, where there are a variety of options that all provide the same competitive rates as the traditional credit card processing companies, while providing an additional layer of security by operating in the cloud. Be sure to schedule regular trainings for staff to ensure that they are all experts on how to utilize the technology within the restaurant. Customers are impressed by new technologies that restaurants offer, but are not impressed by an employee who isn’t trained in using it.

Examine Pricing and Menu Items

A smart restaurant is able to look at its sales and food costs and determine where overspending is taking place. While having an impressive offering of imported seafood may seem important, if the sales are not keeping up with the food costs to provide a desired margin, then making a menu adjustment by introducing a more cost effective ingredient may make a big difference over the course of the next year. By examining sales, management can also identify items that are popular and determine if a price increase would help improve margins, or if it would detract customers from continuing to purchase the item.

Make Sure You are Covered

Accidents happens, and just because they didn’t happen in 2015 doesn’t mean they won’t in 2016. Plan a time to meet with your insurance agent to go over your restaurant insurance coverage. One of the best ways to find savings within your insurance is to speak with a Restaurant Programs of America team member. Our team will examine your current policies and determine if there is any excessive coverage or shortcoming in your plans before recommending a comprehensive policy that will cover only what your restaurant needs, and nothing additional. Many large insurance companies use a “one-size fits all” policy for their restaurant clients that include things like Equipment Breakdown Insurance, Worker’s Comp Insurance, and other industry related policies. The team at RPA will break down each aspect of your business to ensure that the proper coverage is obtained. Be ready to take on whatever 2016 throws at you by speaking with RPA today.

Revitalize Your Social Media

Millions of people are using social media in every aspect of their life, and especially when it comes to dining. Whether it’s checking reviews or finding new spots on Yelp, posting pictures of their meals on Instagram, or tagging friends in pictures from a meal on Facebook, there are countless ways that your restaurant can interact with regular customers, as well as gain new ones, by being active on social media. Some easy ways to spruce up your restaurant’s social media accounts is to update new images, build customer tabs, run a photo contest, and schedule posts to announce the daily specials. The more you utilize social media, the more eyes see your content and may be enticed to come visit your establishment.

Restaurant Programs of America wishes you all a successful 2016 full of happiness and growth. To learn more about how Restaurant Programs of American can help your restaurant business, please give us a call at 844-358-2296 to speak with a RPA team member.