4 Strategies for Successful Restaurants to Stay Competitive

4 Strategies for Successful Restaurants to Stay Competitive

Keeping your restaurant competitive requires consistently great service, high-quality produce, constant adaption, while still remaining true to the venue’s identity. 

ResDiary Head of Customer Success and Support APAC Stefan Overzier – who has worked in the hospitality industry since 1991 says: “There are certain businesses that do well but eventually the ball stops, often because everything becomes automatic and you can lose track of what’s happening in the hospitality scene.”.

“Sometimes, to remain competitive you have to make small adjustments to your menu or fit out, or you might have to make substantial changes. When you stall, you have to reinvent yourself so customers don’t go elsewhere – that’s akin to being competitive.”

These are four steps that businesses should consider to remain competitive in the hospitality industry.

 1)  Conduct research

 It’s hard to get out of a slump if the venue doesn’t know what’s going wrong. It might be the menu, the service, the location, the fit-out, economic and social conditions, software, booking and branding issues, changing trends and so on.

There are always going to be things to work on, and the venue needs to know what they are in order to fix them. In addition to conducting market research and checking in with competitors, Overzier suggests inviting friends and family to dine at the venue with a critical eye to help pinpoint what’s going well, what could be improved and what changes need to be made. 

2)  Fix the issues, then get the word out

Once potential issues have been investigated, identified and remedied, tell people about these improvements. Be active on social media, and put time and energy into different marketing strategies to get the word out.

Overzier suggests utilising their website, social and booking notifications (such as ResDiary’s Event Manager) to show what’s new at the venue.

“Record birthdays, anniversaries and significant milestones, and send an email a month before offering a personalised deal or promotion. If they were here six months ago, and haven’t come back, offer them something to return. You may have to give a bit away to gain that business.”

 3)  Consider updating your menu and fit-out

Diners want to go to venues that look busy and vibrant, and changes to the internal layout can send a message that the business is going through a period of reform.

This does not necessarily mean a full-on renovation; a new coat of paint and/or indoor plants can help to revitalise the venue. Overzier also suggests using new and local produce, keeping up to date with trends locally and internationally – for example, incorporating plant-based dishes – and tweaking the menu accordingly.

4)  Formalise. Align. Execute. 

 Once changes have been identified, and potential diners have been notified of these changes, it’s important that they are executed properly. This involves updating procedures and protocols, and ensuring that everybody in the venue – from the top down – is up to date with the new MO.

According  to Overzier, the best marketing is still word of mouth post-dining, so it’s critical that the venue creates expectations of a consistently positive experience. “You have to do it right so customers come back and tell their friends,” he says.

For a hospitality venue to be competitive, they have to do a variety of tasks and actions well. If they fall behind, it’s not necessarily the end. Rather, it may move the business to examine what’s happening internally and externally, make the necessary improvements and reinvent accordingly.

Disclaimer: This guide is general in nature and does not take into account your individual circumstances.  Before acting on any information, you should consider whether this is right for your business.