Today is the day! You have your new restaurant; you have all your shiny kitchen equipment; and you are excited and ready to start making a living doing what you love. Now what? How do you build your brand? When do people start calling in? What kind of food should you make? Most importantly, how do you make money with this new company? Here are 5 quick and easy steps to help you make sure your new business is a successful one.
1) Don’t get in over your head – just to make money
It’s very easy when starting a new business to limit your focus to making as much money as fast as you can. This is often a fatal mistake. According to Forbes, it takes approximately 3 years before a new business becomes profitable, with many restaurants failing in the first year. Plan on coming out of the gates strong, but only take the jobs that you know you can accomplish to a satisfactory level. The worst thing for your new company as it is trying to grow is to have negative reviews because you bit off more than you could chew too early.
2) Know your strengths
What are you good at? Whatever the answer to that question is, that is what is going to make you successful. It’s as simple as that! Stick to the food that made you think that you could accomplish your dreams. Just because the business down the street is serving it, doesn’t mean you have to make as well. It is ALWAYS better to do what you are comfortable with until you have built enough of a reputation to be able to take risks.
3) Offer discounts and coupons for referrals and return customers
So, how do you build your reputation? The single most influential factor in creating new customers is referrals. If you have a customer who enjoys your services, he or she will most likely recommend you to friends. Why not offer incentives to customers for bringing in more business for you? Giving customers coupons or gift cards could be a great way to motivate them to refer you to their friends. According to a study done by the Wharton School of Business, “Referred customers are about 18% more likely to stay a customer.” This is a valuable statistic that can make a dramatic difference in the long run.
4) Social media is KING!
Social media is the cutting-edge factor in business, and it is only growing every day. Every time that a new business opens, the immediate reaction is to look into Trip Advisor or Yelp reviews, check their Facebook for upcoming specials, even check Groupon for discounts. According to Instagram’s website, “400 Million people access their Instagram account every day, and 80% of those follow at least 1 business on their account.” These are significant numbers! With the virtualization of the society we live in, you will be missing out on a proportionate chunk of the market if you aren’t on Social Media.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether you have a business partner or not, you are not in this alone. It is completely unrealistic to think that one person in a new catering company will have mastered the culinary arts, accounting and bookkeeping, sanitation, purchasing, customer service, web design, catering software, etc. Realistically, there is going to be a time that you may not know exactly what you’re doing. This is completely normal! Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family you may have in the industry. They may have ideas that you haven’t thought of. Even though it may sound cliché, two heads are definitely better than one!
These five basic tips are a terrific starting point for your new catering company. Don’t forget, longevity is key! Take it slow, know your strengths, bring in repeat customers, get on social media, and ask for help. If you follow these steps closely, you will be heading in the right direction. Everything after that is up to you! 🙂
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