Shops can pop up overnight and close just as quickly. Why do some fail while others thrive? Luck is part of it, but without grit and planning opportunities can still pass you by. You can set yourself up for success by implementing these tips.
Don’t Open Early
Keep your doors closed to the public until renovations and decorating are finished. It may be tempting to multitask by making scones in between stenciling items onto your wall menu, but it creates a chaotic and unprofessional atmosphere that will imply poor quality to customers.
Be Very Professional
Foodservice can be stressful sometimes. While it’s impossible to please everyone, make sure that the people you hire to work behind the counter are trained to handle hard situations and to keep conflict from escalating. A yelling customer may never be placated, but keeping a cool head means the situation reflects badly on them, not you.
Cut Back Clutter
While you want a lot of customers to come in, you may not have the space for them to stay. Seating should be kept comfortable, even if it means some people have to walk away. Don’t sacrifice your kitchen and food-prep space for the sake of seating either, as this can negatively impact your employees’ well-being, as well the quality of their work.
Communicate Services Clearly
It’s worth investing in quality signage, as it is the first thing potential customers notice about you. Inside your shop, having clear and easy-to-read menus will turn curious browsers into customers. If you have food display cases you should keep them clean so customers can trust the freshness of what they’re getting. If you make things fresh as they’re ordered rather than keeping a stockpile, you can display samples of your wares with attractive tableaus.
Narrow Your Focus
Gordon Ramsay is a big proponent of the “keep it small” philosophy when it comes to menus. It is better to do 5 things really well instead of 20 things poorly. By keeping a smaller menu you can guarantee consistency and quality with every item served.
Love Your Community
Know your worth, but know your customers’ limits. Branching into gourmet items may be fun, but first, make sure you have a reliable menu of affordable options first. Creating a loyalty program that grants discounts not only helps incentivize people to come back for more but also shows how much you appreciate their support.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Enthusiasm is contagious, and customers will be just as excited to buy your products as you are to serve them.