Your New Restaurant Isn't About You

I’ve noticed a pattern.

Start up restaurants and coffee bars created by novices nearly always fail.

Start ups restaurants and coffee bars opened by experts nearly always make a lot of money.

Doh! That's old news.

Authentic Engagement

You'd expect me to claim that this is because novices never have enough money for good designs but I’m not going to make that claim.  I think the reason is bigger and to do with creating authentic engagement with customers.  You may think this is obvious but I find it isn’t at all obvious to most people who I consult with.  It’s only obvious to expert restaurateurs, many of who learned hard by failing first when they were novices.  Newbie business owners nearly always get this the wrong way around; they think their restaurant is about them and that they’re important. They may want name it after themselves or their children or a place they've been to and build their format up around their personal experiences and world view.

It's Not About You

If you're thinking of starting a new restaurant please consider that success in food is rarely about what you like, it’s about what engages others, who most likely don’t have the same tastes and experiences as you (or me).  Telling customers what you like by using design or any other means of communication is the hard slog route to qualified success at best. Customers don’t care about your personal passion and they don’t care how this makes you feel. It’s not comfortable but it’s true. (I'm just the messenger here.)

Customers want you to be passionate about what they want.

Groundhog Day

Novice restaurant owners I’ve known who think it’s about them normally find it takes their business a while to take off or that they fail altogether.  Those who make it through to break even and profits then hold up their inward looking method as being successful, which it is for them, so long as they overlook working all those long hours making losses whilst they wait for their customers to understand them.  Just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Instant Profits

But we see that successful restaurateurs, and all the chain brands, get instant recognition and profits after every new opening by giving customers what they like, which is not always the very best food but a combination of experiences encapsulating reliable food, well-trained service and a pleasant and stimulating environment, all with well-directed novelty.

If you get this right you can get an instantly profitable, happy restaurant right from the get go. I’ve seen this happen many times.  These days word spreads fast via social media so there's no reason you can't do the same.

I'd love to help.