Great Restaurant Ideas and Checklist

The business brokers with Pacific Business Advisors have represented hundreds of buyers and sellers of businesses, including restaurants, over the last 35 plus years. We have also provided consulting services for many restaurant owners and have made many observations that we want to share.

The following restaurant ideas do not apply to every restaurant. Most apply to fine dining restaurants, others to casual dining restaurants, and others to fast food restaurants.

If you are intending on selling your restaurant, some of the ideas provided may help you increase your revenue and your selling price. If you are intending to acquire a restaurant, some of the ideas may help you turn an average restaurant into a more profitable restaurant.

The ideas below are in no particular order. If you would like to provide us with comments or additional ideas, we would be pleased to hear from you. You may contact us by phone or email:

  • Install a call light on each table so each server can easily and quickly be alerted that they are needed. Place pitchers of water on each table so patrons never have to ask for water. Do the same when a customer pays for iced tea;
  • Bread should be unlimited so no one leaves the restaurant hungry. Guests should not be required to ask for more bread;
  • Remember, guests love it when a dish comes out of the kitchen and the server says, "The chef wanted you to try this";
  • Always make your chef one of your investors;
  • Always offer beer and wine. These are the two highest profit items;
  • Coffee cups should be large with large handles;
  • Arrange to have fresh flowers delivered for each table regularly;
  • Napkins should be paper and large, No cheap napkins;
  • Soft drinks should be refillable at no additional cost;
  • A healthy children's menu should be available;
  • Provide coloring books for small children;
  • Offer at least one vegan meal.
  • Advertise: We use olive oil to prepare our food.
  • Offer a private dining room to accommodate up to 8 people on a reservation basis;
  • Offer a few private booths that are partitioned off;
  • Chairs must be comfortable;
  • Restrooms must be immaculate and should always include at least two stalls;
  • Never place tables near the restrooms.
  • Consider decorating with tropical fish aquariums that are professionally maintained;
  • An outdoor dining area should be provided if possible. Some guests prefer the outdoors. It also protects the owner in the event of another pandemic;
  • Take-out service should be provided. Some guests prefer to eat at home. It also protects the owner in the event of another pandemic;
  • Greet returning guests by name if possible;
  • Always thank every guest warmly when they are leaving;
  • Offer an online menu with photos;
  • The waiting area should have attractive photos of the more expensive dishes and deserts;
  • Accept reservations;
  • Food portions should be adequate so no one leaves hungry;
  • Consider offering certain guests a 2 for 1 dessert coupon for use at their next dinner;
  • Offer a free dessert when it is someone’s birthday;
  • Stay open 7 days each week. Many restaurants are closed on Mondays. Spread your fixed costs such as rent over 7 days instead of six which helps the bottom line.
  • Request customer feedback by providing survey forms;
  • Decorate for the holidays such as Christmas, Hanukah, Thanksgiving, Independence Day;
  • Sponsor a Charity Night where a percentage goes to a non-controversial charity. Hold a silent auction;
  • Bring in a close-up magician on special occasions;
  • Bring in a caricature artist on special occasions;
  • Make certain the parking area is well lighted and that video cameras are in place with warning signs;
  • Employees and their families and guests should be offered a discount of at least 10% except on alcoholic beverages;
  • Invest in tasteful uniforms;
  • Send a monthly mailer to all local new residents; and
  • Create a script to address complaints.

 

Glossary of Restaurant Terms

 

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