Sometimes it’s difficult to identify a truly successful restaurant. And even as a seasoned restaurateur, I can’t always tell when I’m dining out.

I’ll give you an example.

My cousin and I went to a fantastic restaurant last year while I was visiting New Orleans. The food was absolutely delicious, the place was packed, and I was looking forward to eating there again. Cut to six months later, I was back in town and I was surprised to see it shut down.

Many restaurants look full or are booked solid, but shut down in a year or so.

It took me a while to understand what separates
those restaurants that look full and don’t do well
those that are not only fully booked,
but also turn a good profit and go on for another 20 years.

So what makes successful restaurants earn more money consistently over long periods of time?

  1. They have clarity of vision. They know exactly where they want to go and what’s their ultimate goal. So if this year their goal is to increase sales, they will get specific—‘We want to earn 1.5 million dollars in sales for the year 2017’. They are very clear about it.
  2. They have a plan to get there. Successful restaurateurs aren’t just throwing darts in the dark. They have identified the exact steps required to get to their goal. For example, they have planned out their marketing promotions for the year.

Now pay attention—here is what a truly successful restaurateur would do differently. Out of all the activities they have planned, they know how to identify the one step they will need to take which will yield the maximum return.

So building on our example, in addition to executing their marketing plan, they would know that the number one way they can achieve their target is to take more customer feedbacks and review them with serious attention.

They will not just take a few feedbacks here and there. They will focus on taking a hundred feedbacks a day if necessary. Then they will look over the feedbacks collectively over a period of say, 30 days to spot a trend.

To make it simpler, let’s say that within the 3,000 customers feedbacks in the month, they found 60% of customers to not like a particular dish. They will take what the majority of the customers are suggesting and implement those with the one focus to bring these very same customers back more often.

This single action of focusing on feedbacks and giving the customer exactly what they want creates raving, repeat customers and will directly contribute to a drastic increase in sales.

  1. They know how to stay there. Once they figure out what’s working they just keep doing it again and again. And at the same time, they evaluate and measure what’s working and not working.

Here’s another example.

Let’s say in my restaurant I’ve used some marketing promotions in a particular month. At the end of the month, I would evaluate my return on dollar of the investment in the promotion. The successful restaurateur would know it’s important to inculcate a habit of monitoring and reevaluating on a consistent basis rather than doing it one time. That’s what separates the rookies from the professionals.

This consistent analysis of actions taken will help chart the right course forward. Because we all know plans look great on paper, but in reality they don’t always go as envisioned.

And I cannot say it enough. Successful restaurateurs understand that consistency is the key.

They also know that they need to have a structure in place to make the above three steps a part of their day-to-day management style (More on that later).

Remember, be open to trial and error as it is a crucial part of the process to finding the right steps to get you to your goal and keep your restaurant earning more money consistently.

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