The global pandemic of Coronavirus drove rapid changes in the way restaurants would operate in 2022 and beyond. Local business restrictions on restaurants and a shift toward off-premises channels led restaurants to rely on food delivery to keep their business afloat. Amid this upheaval, technology and effective business strategies were crucial to success. Those who could adapt to the new business model and changing consumer needs faced much fewer challenges than those who couldn't rely on delivery services.
Fast forward to now, when restaurants are operating in full bloom, there are still a lot of ongoing challenges that restaurant owners face. Changing customer expectations, increased employee turnover rates, and effective inventory management are the most common challenges restaurant owners face in their daily lives.
This article summarizes some of the most common challenges restaurant owners face post-COVID and some practical solutions to overcome these challenges.
4 Pressing Issues Restaurant Owners Face
Restaurant owners face multiple challenges every day as they open for business. From demand forecasting to order management to keeping up with your customers and employees, these are four of the most pressing issues you might have faced as a restaurant owner.
1. Losing Thousands on Operational Costs
Running a restaurant business means spending thousands on operations and management each day. While the profit margins for restaurants are notoriously slim, the higher wage rate of employees makes it extremely difficult for restauranteurs to manage their profit and loss statements.
In a scenario like this, the restaurant owners must spend a reasonable amount of time and resources maintaining extensive excel sheets to keep track of their expenses and profits. A better approach would be to automate the process of profit and loss and integrate technology solutions that make it easier for them to track all their expenses and profits.
As soon as your operational costs are systematically tracked, restauranteurs can move on to the next steps of minimizing their variable costs.
Without compromising on customer service, restaurant owners can look for ways to increase their revenue by preparing DIY meal kits or preparing branded goods like sauces on their own. This saves them the additional cost of purchasing. Apart from that, restaurant owners can optimize their menu with items that place high-margin foods in the center.
Engineering your food items on the menu to save costs on additional ingredients and analyzing prime expenses, like labor, food, and beverages can help you identify overheads quickly.
2. Keeping up with Labor Expectations
The recent Big Quit took the entire US by storm, affecting almost every industry, including restaurants and retail. The cause of this movement has been only one: Changing employee expectations.
Now it’s challenging for restaurant owners to satisfy their employees with changing labor expectations. However, you can certainly turn the tables in your favor with intelligent planning to retain your skilled and reliable staff.
In addition to paying your staff a good wage, many other financial wellness benefits can keep them engaged. Solutions like Wages on-Demand™ give employees better control over their wages and allow them to access their earnings daily. This automatically removes some of the employees' financial burdens by making their payments accessible without waiting for payday.
Besides, promoting staff from within, introducing employee referral programs, and offering extended employee benefits can keep you ahead of other competing restaurants.
In short, the employee-first approach will save overhead operational costs and help you stand out amidst the Great Resignation wave and changing employee expectations movement.
3. Struggling to be Trendy
Running a restaurant is more than having a full-time job. Instead, it’s a lifestyle that needs to be nurtured and maintained over time. To keep up with evolving eatery trends and changing consumer behaviors, restauranteurs need to ramp up their services and spend generously on their marketing efforts.
We live in an era of digital evolution where dining experiences are rapidly evolving. People seek restaurants that provide a fun, "Instagram-worthy" experience for their customers. Thus, it's a promising idea to focus on the décor and ambiance of your restaurant.
Marketing plays a key role in the success of your restaurant. Keep your social channels updated and aligned to what most of your customers would like to see.
Introducing trending discount offers and loyalty programs would help you attract new customers while keeping your existing customers loyal. Keep your digital presence sleek and current with shareable customer experiences.
4. Discrepancy-free Stock Management
If you are a multi-location restaurant owner, you must spend a reasonable amount of time and resources to keep track of stock at every restaurant location. Multiple branches need to be coordinated in a situation like this. Inefficient management of stocks in various restaurant locations costs thousands to restauranteurs who either purchase additional items beforehand or waste the things purchased already.
Keeping your inventory and stock in sync for multiple locations can save you thousands and lead to effective management of goods. Opting for robust franchise management software can assist restaurant owners with effective management of their inventory at every branch.
Take it to Go!
Like most industries, the restaurant industry is not immune from facing challenges. Restaurant owners have been navigating choppy waters, from facing labor shortages to completely shutting down and relying on online orders to run business.
Losing thousands on operational costs, discrepancy-free inventory management, and meeting employee expectations amid the labor shortage are some of the challenges restaurant owners most report.
However, effective inventory management using technology applications and offering healthy employee benefits like Wages-On-Demand™ helps restauranteurs overcome these challenges while running their business smoothly.