The Restaurant Biz is Hard, But This is Why You’re Failing

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Anyone who has watched Gordon Ramsay’s combative approach to helping failing restaurants knows that it isn’t easy to get a sinking ship back above water. But if you look a bit closer, viewers start to notice that these failing restaurants have a lot in common with each other. Without giving too much away before the meat of the post, the problems usually stem from falling standards and owners who are in denial. If you want to rehabilitate your restaurant, why not look at some of these problem sources. They might just be what’s going on in your situation.

The Food


First, think about the food. Maybe it’s not so good. It’s hard to keep great food coming out of your kitchen day in and day out. There are many causes. For one, running a restaurant is time-consuming and stressful. Fatigue sets in at all places on the line and in management. When people aren’t feeling their best, they tend not to produce their best work. And that counts for cooks too. If you aren’t sure if your food is good, look to Yelp. If that doesn’t help, ask people who you trust, and you are sure will be honest and also know what they’re talking about. If the food’s not great, fix it. Good food makes happy customers, more times than not.

The Vibe


Second, think about the vibe. Does your restaurant feel relevant and interesting to today’s generation of foodies? You don’t have to be the trendiest spot on the block, but it’s important that a restaurant not feel culturally stale either. Symptoms of slippage in this area can be seen everywhere from the color of the walls to your new iPad POS system. Try out some restaurants in your area which are doing well. Look at the elements they’ve updated, and think about how this might relate to your problem. You don’t want to copy their elements, but seeing where they’ve put their time and money could provide insights.

The Service


Third, think about the service. Front-of-house has more of an impact on customer experience than many people realize, even restaurant owners. It can be hard for a restaurant owner to catch their servers and f-o-h managers in bad form, because they shape up when the owner is around. In this case, it’s very important to listen to independent online reviews, and even set up situations where a reviewer will go in and tell you what they experience. Don’t stand for service that’s less than gracious among your employees. Your patrons certainly won’t.

There are a bunch of ways that a restaurant can fail. It’s important to consider every possibility, but you can’t forget about the basics. The above issues are some of the most pressing for restaurants that are having trouble making ends meet. These are the things your customers will notice, and they are the ones they’ll remember. If they aren’t right, your business will go elsewhere. Fix these, and you’ll stand a good chance of turning the tide for your business.

Photo courtesy of: neshom27

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Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at or follow her on Twitter @shoeaholicnomor.

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