How to scale a restaurant business

Have you ventured into the food and drink sector and are looking to take your restaurant business to the next stage? We take a look at some of the ways in which you can help expand your company onto bigger and better things.

Be patient

Whilst you may be keen to find the first available opportunity to start scaling your business, it is important that you do so with a reasonable amount of caution. In other words, try to be patient. This is because the right timing often plays a significant role when it comes to expanding your business. For example, good signs that suggest you should look at scaling your restaurant company includes:

  • Demand (does the restaurant have long waiting lists on the busiest nights?)
  • Have you built a large number of loyal customers?
  • Do you have positive cash-flow?
  • Is the restaurant able to scale successfully? Do you have access to the ingredients on a scalable basis?
  • Does the restaurant show signs of sustainability? Is it faddy and would it be still popular in five or ten years’ time?
  • Do you have the right expertise within the company to help you expand?
  • Are you emotionally equipped to deal with the stress and challenge involved in developing a restaurant brand?
  • Will you still be able to maintain the quality of food and service at this restaurant by expanding onto other ventures?

Increase revenue streams

Scaling your restaurant business doesn’t necessarily mean opening another restaurant. As we have previously said, some restaurants may be too complex or niche to in fact work on a much larger scale. For instance, KFC are currently struggling to supply their best quality chicken to their hundreds of branches around the UK. Could you still provide the same quality produce to other locations at the same price?

You could look at other ways to expand. How about including a new breakfast or lunchtime service, or perhaps offering the premises to companies to hold business meetings? You could even hold cooking demonstrations or classes on a weekly or monthly basis to increase restaurant income.

Something that is very scalable is takeaways. Due to the popularity and mass marketing of Hungry House, Just Eat and Deliveroo, the demand for takeaways is increasing massively and provided you can meet the orders, you can turn out dozens more meals every night.

Build a reliable, loyal team

One of the most important aspects of scaling a restaurant business is the people in the team. It is very difficult for just one person to run all aspects of the business and having the right staff is key. A popular decision is taking some of the experienced staff and promoting them to new positions in different branches, allowing you to grow maintain the same high standards.

Whether it be a fantastic head chef, a great manager, a friendly service team, they are all very important components that will help you scale your business. You can learn what sort of characteristics in people you should be looking for in other potential outlets and replicate the same model.

Reward the team

In order to keep and incentivize the great team you have, there must be a clear incentive structure in place, and you should stick to it. This is important as many applicants will be looking for a good work-life balance, and the happiness of your workforce is vital to the lifeblood of your company.

If they are not happy, they could end up leaving, and if this becomes something increasingly commonplace you may find yourself in an eternal loop of searching for applicants and wasting valuable time that could be devoted to scaling the business.

Good incentives include employee of the months, days off for good results, flexible work hours and rewards for good reviews online or TripAdvisor.

Hire agents

There is the option to hire specialist property agents who can help you locate the best premises for your restaurants and at the best prices. The purpose is that they can help organise your leases, administration and even help you get the lowest rent possible through regular rent reviews. (Source: Cedar Dean)