Running a hospitality business can be tough. It's such a competitive market that owners/managers often lose sight of making sure they get the basics right. This can be the difference between turning a profit each day, week or month and keeping the doors open. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the most basic elements of the game that we notice are being overlooked: See how many of these items you can tick off. Chances are that if you can comfortably say that you are doing most of these things then you’ll be successful in an industry where many fail.
- It's important to get the mix right. Skills and experience are important but can also be taught with good training. Personality is equally important when it comes to giving the kind of service that your customers are going to come back fro and make it easier for your team to function in general.
- Training is paramount and best to be done as early as possible with new staff to prevent any bad habits forming. Time invested here can ultimately pay dividends long into the future.
- To keep your staff happy you can run little competitions/games to keep them engaged and working towards your customer experience goals. Money is a good reward but can become a bit bland after a while so find some cheap massage/experience vouchers on Groupon to rewards them with.
- It's crucially important that the people can find you in the marketplace and these days that means online. It doesn’t mean you need to be making constant status updates on multiple platforms to ‘connect’ to your customers but enough social validation must be present when people come across you on the internet.
- Social Media pages are great for increasing interest in your daily specials or promotions but need to be supported by a minimum level of testimonials/reviews and positive feedback that other people have had a good experience at your establishment.
- This can be done by encouraging your customers to help you out with their recommendation on either their Facebook, Google, or other account on those pages.
- Zomato, UberEats, BeanHunter and Instagram will help too.
- Get our staff to take care of a morning post on your busier days to highlight a new menu item or special you are running at the time.
- Have loyalty cards. They are basically expected for coffee these days if the customer will be buying more than a single coffee from you per week. So always have them available and even throw in a food prize with their 10th purchase. The law of reciprocity will ensure they return for future coffees and food.
- Utilise any referral partners you can. By that, we mean any local business that shares some of your customers but is not a direct competitor. Use mutually beneficial referral deals to encourage people to try each other out. You’ll often find the owners and employees of those businesses become more likely to choose you when they need caffeine hit or food break.
- Make sure that your brand reflects the message that you would like to give to the whole market, not just the person you are serving. By this we mean, give great service every time and make sure the whole experience reflects your values. This could mean ensuring that the cafe is always
Menu / Pricing
- Cater to your customers, ask your regulars what they like about the menu and specific items on it. The best way to ensure you have a menu that a wide range of people enjoy is to ask a wide range of people. You can even float new menu items/ideas with them before trailing them to see what the initial response is.
- Finding that sweet spot between competitive pricing and maximising profit can be tough. We suggest eating at your local competition regularly to make sure that your value proposition/quality matches the pricing. You can’t pay the bills selling bargains and you won’t pay the bills if the market thinks you are overpriced.
- Keep it fresh! Update the menu at least 2-3 times per year if not more to keep your regulars engaged and reflect seasonal ingredients. You’ll save money if the more popular dishes are seasonally based.
- Make sure that your favourite food items are just as good take away. Many of your customers are time poor these days and will be more likely to get something to eat as well as drink if they know it's going to travel well and still be delicious.
Learn about your Customer
- Ask them about themselves
- Ask them about what they like or don’t like about your business. If that seems to forward ask them what you could be doing better.
- Ask them where else locally they eat out and why. This will give you a better idea about who your direct competitors are as well as your indirect competitors.
- Is absolutely paramount to maintaining regular customers and positive validation of your offering in the market.
- Ever heard the saying that someone that has a fantastic experience might tell a few of their friends but anyone that has a bad experience will tell a dozen? Is true. And with the internet holding court over your performance for the lifetime of your business.
- This one seems like the most obvious on the list but in reality, it's the most important.
- A substandard meal or coffee can often be excused by the market if the service was good. Bad service will rarely if ever be forgiven and is almost certain to be passed on through word of mouth. People take it personally when they receive rude/obnoxious service.
- If you have staff that have good days and bad take them aside and make sure they understand that if their mood dictates their service then they won’t be working for you for long.
- Nobody likes waiting, so even if it's busy make sure that you acknowledge new arrivals verbally and let them know they won't be waiting long. There is nothing worse than being ignored.
We hope this article can help you fine-tune your business to impress the market and keep them coming back for more. Check out some of our other blog posts for tips regarding packaging. Why we choose to distribute BioPak and why your choice in packaging is so important to your business. Head to the store for packaging ideas to keep your business one step ahead of the competition.