No restaurateur opens up a restaurant hoping that it will only last for a year or two. There are over one million restaurants in the U.S. alone, generating more than $799 billion in sales according to 2017 numbers. Nearly 70 percent of those restaurants make it past the first-year mark. However, those who make it to the five-year or 10-year mark are drastically less. Here are some qualities of those restaurants that stay open for 10 years or more – make sure to find your niche in your community.
Restaurants that remind customers of having dinner with relatives or loved ones tend to stay open longer than cookie-cutter concepts. They can get away with having mismatched plates, assorted tables and booths, and selling home-made meals because they fit the brand and aesthetic of the establishment. Look at the popularity of Cracker Barrel to see how well this aesthetic can work.
- Classy bars
Cushy chairs, expansive tables, and low-lighting give off an air of classiness that few restaurants can achieve otherwise. It can remind customers of a swanky New York club, or a social club they had to wait years to get into. Serving champagne in embroidered flutes or fancy bourbon alongside lobster sliders or toasted brioche are ways to incorporate these aesthetics into your menu. It’s about making your customers feel valued, that they deserve to be treated as a high-class member of society. Be cognizant of your location demographics to make sure this type of concept can be supported in your neighborhood.
- Memorable bites
Meaty pork ribs, overstated burgers, salads garnished with ingredients that are hard to find. These are ways to make sure your restaurant stay in your customer’s long-term memory. Offer your customers a new way to think about traditional dishes. If you have some of the best food in town, chances are you’ll be in business for the long haul.
- Outdoor seating
This one is relative to the space available for you to open a restaurant in. But, more times than not, restaurants with outdoor seating draw larger crowds on average. Some customers want to bring their dogs to dinner, soak up nice weather, or just watch people pass by on the sidewalk as they have a nice drink. Outdoor space also gives you a chance to market your restaurant. Serve tall drinks and plates of food so that they catch the eye of passersby.
- Farm-to-table aesthetics
Farm-to-table is one of the hottest trends in the restaurant industry, and for good reason. Fresh ingredients are generally healthier and more flavorful. Learning how to incorporate farm-to-table aesthetics into your concept can go a long way to keeping your business open. Have a hanging garden near the kitchen so your customers can see the herbs used in their dishes. This will give your customers the impression that you care about their health and the ingredients you are using in their dishes (because you really do, right?).
- Open kitchen
Having an open kitchen allows your customers to watch your masterful chefs in action. It also gives them a chance to learn something about how their favorite dishes are prepared. This allows them to interact both with your business and their food, two of customer’s favorite activities. It is almost like dinner and a cooking show!