Some Not-So-Obvious Mistakes Restaurants Make

The number of failed restaurants is large, and yet, becoming a restaurateur remains a dream for many. According to research by Ohio University, 60 percent of the people who decided to open a restaurant had to close it during the first year. So, before you dive into the restaurant business and follow your dream, learn these unobvious mistakes that might make that dream a nightmare.

Lack of Value

Customers might appreciate great design or  unique menu items, but what they really want is value. When you focus on other things instead of making sure you offer the value for every dollar spent at your restaurant, you are bound to lose some customers along the way.

Many customers won’t return if the food you provide is not good enough for the price they pay. The menu  will mean nothing to them if you haven’t taken the time to pick a great chef or hire an amazing service team and priced menu items accordingly.

Improper Cash Management

Restaurateurs have a wide range of responsibilities including creating the proper portion size, checking the inventory and avoiding waste. Of course, overlooking one or two of these aspects is not a crime. In fact, there is so much to take care of in the restaurant business, there is probably not a restaurateur who hasn’t overlooked something. When that happens, finances suffer.

“Try to stay in the real world and manage your capital. It is the key to maintaining any business,” said Peter Trenton, an HR manager at “Unexpected problems cannot be anticipated, but they can be financially planed for.”

Lack of Improvements

Whether you decide to change the carpeting or introduce a new item to the existing menu, you must improve the restaurant on regular basis.

In order to manage the finances while spending money on renovations and repairs, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the renovation/ replacement essential for the functioning of the restaurant?
  • Will it improve the design and functionality of the restaurant?
  • Is the more expensive solution cost-effective in the long run?
  • Is the restaurant up-to-date with the latest trends in the restaurant industry?
Bad Location

People will tell you that the location is not important as long as you provide a great service. Do not listen to this advice. Real estate experts will tell you the most important aspect of a business that attracts customers in it is location. Sure, there are those popular restaurants where people wait to get a table, even though they are in a bad location. But, how many of these do you really know and why put your restaurant at a disadvantage for poor site selection?

Insufficient or Inefficient Staff

Bad service can create terrible impact of the dining experience, regardless of the quality of the meal.

What is not obvious about this part is that you can have issues with too much staff, as you can have with too little. The line between too many employees and too few is very thin.

Here are some of the most unobvious mistakes the staff makes and entrepreneurs often fail to notice before it is too late:

  • Poor greeting

Try to pay more attention to the “host characteristics” of your staff. The first impression in a customer is one of the most important factors of their restaurant experience.

  • Not checking in

When the staff does not return to a table to ask if the customer needs anything, the guest will feel abandoned. This can even cost you more sales, since guests often discover a small missing item, or think of something else that goes well with the meal they ordered.

  • Inability to make recommendations

Servers should be prepared to make a recommendation. Make sure your staff knows how to be a sales team, and knows everything about the products they are offering.

Avoiding these mistakes will help you ensure that the guests have the best possible experience. Once you work to eliminate them from your business, you are one big step closer to living the dream of becoming the next great restaurateur.