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If you’ve spent any time in the food industry, you know it takes more than fantastic food and a beautiful location to build a successful restaurant business — a wide variety of factors contribute to your establishment’s profitability over the long term. Some elements, such as a perfectly engineered menu and excellent customer service, are obvious; others, including top-notch operational management, happen behind the scenes.

Looking to create a business that stands the test of time? Start by improving the elements that have the biggest impact on your restaurant’s long-term viability.

Essential ingredients for a successful restaurant business

On the surface, every successful restaurant business is different. A long-running coffee shop might use a dramatically different restaurant concept than a fine-dining establishment. Look closer, however, and you’ll discover most successful restaurant owners have implemented a few common components:

7 tips and tricks for improved restaurant operations

To succeed in the long term, restaurant owners must adopt an attitude of continuous improvement. Whether you’re starting a new restaurant or looking for ways to optimize an established operation, these tips can help you build a successful restaurant business.

  1. Create systems for employees. A set of structured rules, policies, and standard operating procedures ensures every employee understands what’s expected of them. This eliminates confusion, reduces errors, and helps restaurant management provide adequate training. Plus, when all your employees are following the same steps for common tasks, you can prevent bottlenecks, improve operational efficiency, and boost customer satisfaction.
  2. Use restaurant staff scheduling software. A digital platform streamlines the scheduling process, ensuring you always have enough employees to deliver excellent service. Modern software can even analyze your past restaurant sales and scheduling data to predict how many people you’ll need for every shift. To create a better experience for employees, look for a program with built-in functions for online schedule viewing, time-off requests, and call-in notices. Adopting a POS system can streamline your tech to make balancing your restaurant’s needs more efficient.
  3. Invest in employee training. Informed and empowered employees are the core of every successful restaurant business. That starts with thorough, detailed training that sets your staff up for success. It ensures they have all the information and tools they need to provide the best possible customer service. More importantly, it gives them the confidence to communicate about the menu and turn new customers into repeat guests. Include training during staff onboarding, and provide regular updates to keep skills fresh and reduce employee turnover.
  4. Keep track of inventory. Effective inventory management is a key characteristic of a successful restaurant business; the way you track and order supplies can make or break your budget. In a small business, you may be able to get away with taking meticulous notes and tracking how items are used. In larger establishments, a digital inventory management program is a better solution. By ordering the right quantities and using food before it expires, you can minimize food waste, maintain food safety, and save money on food costs.
  5. Listen to your customers. At the end of the day, your guests’ opinions are the deciding factor in whether you have a successful restaurant business. Make a point to seek out their feedback regularly, and create easy-access communication channels to encourage spontaneous input. How do they feel about tipping? Do they want to see more menu updates? Use the customer data you gather to make targeted improvements — your diners will appreciate the effort.
  6. Embrace technology. Technology has the power to streamline your operations and create a more convenient customer experience. Keep up with evolving guest expectations with features such as mobile ordering, online ordering, contactless payments, and delivery tracking. If you’re using third-party services to streamline takeout and delivery, enable staff to accept orders and process payments quickly by integrating a beneficial solution with your existing POS.
  7. Focus on marketing. Smart marketing supports a successful restaurant business. It increases brand awareness among your target audience, showcases new menu items, creates a personal connection, and gives potential customers the motivation to try your restaurant. Marketing a restaurant successfully can even give you a competitive advantage over other establishments in your area. At a minimum, you should be building a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok — after all, 45% of customers have taken a chance on a new restaurant simply because they saw it on social media.

How Grubhub can help you build a successful restaurant business

Choosing the right partners is an important step in establishing a successful restaurant business. When it’s time to optimize your food delivery and takeout process, turn to Grubhub. We offer flexible, customizable delivery and driving options to suit your business. That’s not all — you’ll also get access to promotions and loyalty tools, a commission-free branded ordering website, and a merchant portal where you can manage everything in one place.

At Grubhub, we understand that restaurant owners are always looking to improve operations. To support your efforts, we provide business resources, food trends, tech tips, and data insights that help you keep up with the latest changes in the restaurant industry. Our platform integrates with your POS system for fast, simple order and menu management.Want to join the ranks of successful restaurants around the world? Try Grubhub today.