Taking your restaurant to the next level can seem like a daunting task. After all, where do you start? And, really, what does “the next level” even mean? For some, it’s measured in profits. For others, it revolves around increasing demand and expanding their footprint.
Sometimes, it’s simply wanting to return to the excitement and thrill that existed when you first entered the industry—before the late nights, number crunching, and scheduled chaos. There is one certainty. No matter what brought you to the precipice from which you must jump, Billy Cox, author and serial entrepreneur, reminds us, “Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.”
Are you ready to take the leap? Let’s see where the next step leads.
Growth demands movement. The good news is that you don’t always have to take a tremendous leap into the unknown to start progressing. You do, however, have to let go of the way it’s always been and embrace change.
A standard response to technology as a necessity in next-level achievements is, “But what does technology have to do with great food and service?” Or, at least, it used to be a common attitude. It’s the reason the restaurant industry lagged behind many other businesses when it came to technological advancements. Then, the pandemic nudged us, and the younger generations, who grew up with smartphones in their hands and the internet as their encyclopedia, began to demand it.
One study found that 89% of restaurant guests under 40 expect access to menus via an app or mobile browser and loyalty program benefits. Additionally, 89% of diners research restaurants via mobile devices before visiting. In response, restaurants are embracing the mobile app arena, enabling them to incentivize return guests and reward them for their loyalty.
They’re also using technology to help them expedite online ordering and delivery, the go-to in today’s digital, fast-paced world. In fact, more than $76 billion was generated in meal delivery in 2022. One of the leading restaurant technology providers today is Chowly. Chowly captures online orders, whether from third-party vendors, mobile apps, or websites and sends them through your POS system and off to the kitchen, just as if an employee had taken the order and typed it in.
Before you consider jumping on the expansion bandwagon, it’s vital to ensure you’ve developed an operational strategy that ensures consistency and that it’s one you can carry across multiple units.
No matter if you’re a single brand or a multi-concept enterprise, consistently delivering great food and service are the two things that will keep your guests coming back. This requires extensive training and maintaining a high morale. Quality checks are also essential, including random reviews on meals and service. Consider inviting a friend in for a complimentary dinner and asking their opinion or hiring a mystery shopper.
Expanding Your Digital Presence
Attracting and retaining customers requires a digital presence and a strong digital marketing strategy. It’s that simple. Before opening, you use your social media platforms to showcase the culinary journey, enticing guests by enhancing expectations. Soft launch events may target food bloggers and digital influencers.
And someone with digital know-how is updating Instagram and Facebook social media platforms on a regular basis and responding to all messages and reviews received. Whether you’re expounding on your unique experiences or developing a sense of community, no restaurant should be without a digital strategy in today’s world.
Developing an Expansion Strategy
As Lao Tzu reminds us, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The journey to the next level requires setting your intention and making some bold moves, one step at a time. And that’s where Emerging Concepts comes in.
It’s tempting to find a neighborhood you love that also has the perfect space and deem it destiny. Today, however, there’s no reason to throw the dice. Our team of data scientists, industry experts, and real estate professionals have helped countless leading restaurant and entertainment concepts create their expansion plans based on extensive data analytics and restaurant industry knowledge.
Of course, we’ve just touched the surface of the various strategies used to hit your next goal and embrace an upward trajectory. The bottom line is providing a consistent, engaging, memorable experience that continually drives a brand connection. If you’d like to dive into expansion strategies and take the guesswork out of when, where, and how, contact Emerging Concepts today.
How can I take my restaurant to the next level?
Several processes are non-negotiable. These include creating consistency, motivating your staff, and expansion. You can expand your offerings, physical location, or add more units, but going to the next level always involves expansion of some kind.
What are the stages for planning a new restaurant?
The first step with any business is a foundational business plan. In the restaurant industry, you’ll have to follow that up with an exceptional menu, developing a safe and reliable supply chain, funding, finding a location, hiring staff, working with tech partners, and letting customers in on your plans through a comprehensive marketing strategy.