Running a small restaurants has both perks and downsides. On the one hand, you have a smaller budget and less disposable funding, but on the plus side, you don’t have all the headaches that come with managing a larger staff and more of, well, everything from inventory to reservations. Here are some ideas on how to run a smaller restaurant and survive in today’s dining marketplace.
Starting a Small Restaurant
If you’re looking for ideas for a new small restaurant, there are more than a few options to weigh in the balance. Not every small establishment is the traditional brick and mortar kind. Especially popular right now are food trucks, which are much easier to open if you are tight on cash. Many food trucks advertise solely on social media, which saves you the cost of building a website. Just don’t forget to be tech-savvy! Another popular option is pop-up restaurants, which tend to show up in cities and stay open for anywhere from a few days to a few months. A pop-up can be a safe test-run of an idea for a restaurant you hope to make permanent. However, if you are set on opening a traditional small restaurant, make sure you choose your location ever so carefully, as you will be stuck with that lease or property for awhile.
A Personal Touch
With a small restaurant, you have the luxury of adding that extra personal touch to the experiences of your customers. As a manager, you can make customers feel appreciated and taken care of by going around the room and stopping for a brief visit at each of the tables to ask how the food and other aspects of your service are – not too long of a visit since you do not want to smother your guests. For your regular guests, you can ask your staff to be extra friendly to those who give you return business, memorizing their regular orders and even getting to know some of your repeat customers yourself.
Diners choose small restaurants when they want an intimate atmosphere. They are not looking for bells and whistles when they walk through your door but rather a quieter and warmer vibe. A small restaurant can be the venue for a romantic date, a small birthday celebration, a family dinner, or just a quiet drink. From the lighting to your delicious dishes, make sure you are not overdoing it and offering your customers something they are not looking for. Warmer lights, simpler decorations, a rose on the table, a quiet corner spot to sit, and music that is not too loud are all trademarks of the more intimate ambience many small establishments give off. See what works for you!
Whether your small restaurant is your pet project or your family’s livelihood, there are plenty of ways to make it both fun and profitable. With some tried and true practices, your spot can become a must for diners looking for anything from a cozy date to a special birthday drink.
Challenge: Over the next few weeks, look around and analyze whether your restaurant gives off the intimate ambience that is one of the best perks of a small restaurant. Add some details like a different flower arrangement for each table, anything you think will give your spot the personal touch it needs.