Bonji Hot Takes: Volume 7
Restaurant Owners Work Hard: Let Us Help
Hi all, welcome back to Bonji Hot Takes, where we address some of the opinions and knowledge that we've picked up along our journey in the industry. We are here to offer assistance, stories, and hopefully some value!
One of the least known things, to most people, is just how difficult it is to own and operate a restaurant. It makes being president look like a cakewalk. Seriously, if you didn’t know how demanding becoming a restaurant owner was before you started, you’ll be quick to realize. However, there’s truly nothing that compares to becoming a staple in your community and watching customers enjoy your food. So, now that we got the fact that owning a business requires hard work, where do we go from here? If every single restaurant owner is grinding just as hard as the next, how can you grow your business to new heights? Let me be of service.
1. The Best Way to Use Your Money is to Free Up Your Time This might be the biggest lesson our team has come to realize. How many of you have had days where you wake up at 6 am and get home at 9 am and it feels like you haven’t done anything to help your business progress. That’s because, although you told yourself you were going to put up new paintings, update your menu and put your restaurant on Doordash, you had no time to do any of those things. Yet you’re completely exhausted from spending 3 hours at Restaurant Depot, setting up the weekly schedule, then doing your own accounting. All on top of servicing your customers. Free up your time and set up systems that put you in a position to grow and succeed. So how do you free up time? a) Outsource accounting and other managerial mumbo-jumbo. I know this might not be financially feasible for everyone, but if you have the capital to do so, then absolutely do it. Nothing is more mentally draining than looking at a spreadsheet for hours, so look to find an accountant or service to help shoulder the load. b) Use online services. How crazy is it that we live in a time where you can order something and it shows up at your doorstep in an hour? What is even crazier is that we business owners do not take advantage of this. Stop wasting your time spending hours at Restaurant Depot. Use online services like Instacart and Webstaurant, so instead of spending time on mundane, time-consuming activities, you can focus on what will bring more customers into the door. Is an extra $15 worth 4 hours of your time? I believe so. c) Delegate responsibilities to your employees. One of the toughest things to realize you don’t have to do everything. Let one your store managers be in charge of scheduling. Give them an extra dollar an hour if your finances permit it. Also, a Pro Tip: Stop setting up weekly schedules. Set one schedule and be done with it. In sum, get the useless things off your plate. Focus on the things that will bring more customers into the door and your return on investment will pay off handsomely.
2. Spend Time on Marketing If some of you are thinking, “I’m just a small-town restaurant, people will know I’m here. What’s the use for marketing?” Marketing doesn’t require some full-scale TV Advertisements or Magazine ads. Honestly, if you get a phone call for some idealistic, sketchy salesman for some great deal on a local television ad, it’s probably best to hand up immediately. There’s no use to spend $5,000 to have a commercial on some TV channel no one watches. However, do things that build a tighter connection with your community. Here are some examples: a) Community events. Recreational Baseball League Championship? There. Walk-a-Thon in your town? Let me know where I should set up. Tom and Susie’s backyard wedding? Crash that thing! The more you're in front of people in your community, the more they think about you. This works especially well if you’re a juice bar. How many older gentlemen have you heard proudly say, “I don’t eat fruit!” Well, guess what. Once they see a free stand at their son’s baseball game and they get some of your delicious product into their mouths, you just got another customer. b) Local fundraisers. One thing that draws a crowd like no other is a fundraiser, specifically for a high school or college organization or team. Whether it’s the field hockey team or drama club asking you to host a fundraiser, I hope you give an enthusiastic YES!! Do a deal that if they show you the flyer, you give 20% of the profits to the organization. Pro Tip: Choose a day that is typically slower than most. Having 60 football players come to your cafe is great on a slow Wednesday, but if it’s Saturday morning then you just made yourself twice as busy. Plus, you may drive out the customers that you’re getting full profit from. c) Build a social media presence. There are two key things that help drive traffic from your store. First, post every day. I promise you people won’t be annoyed if they don’t want to see it. They can scroll past. But, it will get a few people to look at it and have a craving. Secondly, like and comment on community and frequent customers’ posts. This does two things. It will make them more likely to like and comment on your posts (which sadly matters to establish credit in 2022). It also builds a strong connection with your customer base.
Final Thoughts: In conclusion, you can boil it down by saying use your excess resources on focusing on internal procedures and find ways to get yourself in front of customers by spending next to no money. If you want to set yourself apart, focus on things that customers can see and taste. Breaking your back on more administrative duties should get cut out immediately if possible. The hard work will still be required, but you will start seeing your business grow, progress, and make more money! Plus, it’ll be fun!