5 tips for the budding restaurateur
MANILA, Philippines — Plenty of people who have a passion for food end up being in the food industry themselves, whether it’s to cook, manage a restaurant or to start up their own dream foodie venture. But as many people also know, putting up a restaurant is easier said than done.
Managing a restaurant takes a lot more than just passion. Even the most experienced chefs and managers can make basic mistakes that can affect their venture’s profit and success. There’s always the task of being up to date with food trends, being mindful of branding, managing the staff and maintaining good relations with suppliers - tasks that can be troublesome for someone who simply wants to cook!
In any case, there’s a lot more to a good restaurant than just excellent food. Here are a few tips for both start-ups and existing restaurateurs on how they can build a more successful venture.
You can’t please everybody, especially in the food industry. So the first thing you need to do is lock in your niche — what kind of restaurant are you? What’s your theme? And most importantly, how do you stand out from the rest? It might sound like a no-brainer, but there are restaurants and startups out there that suffer from ambiguous branding and a generic theme. This is the first thing that customers will notice about your establishment. Maybe you’ll attract customers the first time, but there’s no incentive for your customers to become loyal patrons. Generic is just not memorable, so set yourself apart by knowing your niche.
2. Be aware of food trends
Even though your restaurant should have a clear niche, your menu should still be flexible enough to accommodate the latest food trends. More than just jumping on fads, being aware of food trends sends the message that you are open to change and experimentation, and it’s a good way of keeping in touch with clients’changing tastes and preferences.
If you’re going to experiment, might as well experiment on dishes that would attract new customers. The outlook for the next 2 to 3 years in the food industry is that Mexican and Filipino cuisine will be big (READ: Filipino food has finally arrived - Washington Post). Perhaps your establishment can have one dish inspired by these cuisines or you can tweak an existing dish to feature Mexican or Filipino flavor. You can even have a fusion of both!
3. Make your menu inclusive to all kinds of diets
Speaking of food, the meals aren’t the only things that count — so do the ingredients. This year, the dining public continues to show strong preferences for healthy ingredients and healthier alternatives to staple dishes. When a customer walks in with very specific instructions, you are now collaborating to create a dish that is both delicious as well as suited to that person’s taste. So if you can, stock up on alternatives, and try to get the all-natural variety as much as possible, too. The forecast for 2015 is the popularity of sriracha, salsa, as well as matcha.
4. Maximize social media
It’s the mobile generation, and more people are using the Internet to follow and discover new restaurants. If you’re not taking advantage of social media, you’re not making the most out of your reach potential. Through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can let your audience know about special promotions, new specials on the menu, or store locations and contact numbers. All of which are important. Conversely, on the consumer side, loyal customers can also use social media to share your posts, which can boost your popularity and widen your reach.
5. Don’t be afraid of asking for help
Sure, it’s your restaurant, your vision. But there’s no shame in consulting with an experienced company to help sort out all the little details of your restaurant. One mistake that restaurateurs make is relying solely on their own creativity without seeking professional advice. Companies like Unilever Food Solutions (UFS), makers of Knorr, Lady’s Choice, and Lipton, can provide chefs and managers the insight needed to build a successful brand, as well as the right ingredients that are sure to cater to today’s market.— Rappler.com
For more information on trends for restaurants and food businesses, visit http://www.unileverfoodsolutions.com.ph/.