6000+ Owners Give Their Advice About Running a Restaurant
The Beginning is the Hardest Part
The hardest part, owners agreed in every market, is first starting. There’s so many details you need to get right that have nothing to do with great cuisine, like building permits, governmental regulations, table settings, and decor. But patience and grit are key to success:
Take a deep breath — you’re likely at the hardest possible part of the journey to becoming a restaurant owner. It may seem tough now, but it will all be worth it in the end.
Create the Best Possible Customer Experience
When we asked restaurant owners to rank what they were most passionate about, customers came first. Hospitality matters more than anything else — owners ranked it higher than menu, profit, or employees.
Please rank in order what you are most to least passionate about with regard to your business.
- Consistently offering my customers an excellent experience
- Keeping my business profitable
- My cuisine and menu
- Training my staff
- Marketing my business
- (Tie)The logistics of operating my business
- (Tie) Accounting
And owners aren’t just passionate about it. They’re prioritizing it. 42% of respondents to a write-in question about their key priorities mentioned the customer experience.
So it’s no surprise that the majority of the advice we received revolved around creating the best possible customer experience:
Hospitality encompasses everything about how you make your customers feel, from the moment they find your restaurant online to when they sign the check. Read how this top-rated Colombian restaurant became known for their hospitality.
Your Staff is the Foundation of Your Hospitality
Hospitality isn’t just about your customer experience. It’s about your employees. The best employees will deliver the best hospitality, so it makes sense that owners had a lot to say about staff. The biggest piece of advice? Make sure you train your staff extensively and up-front so they know exactly how to make your guests feel at home.
American restaurants see staff turnover as high as 75%, but research has shown that training your employees and giving them a path to succeed and grow at your restaurant can help. Learn more tips on training your staff from this Mississippi cafe.
Managing Your Reputation Is Essential Part of Hospitality
Customer experience isn’t limited to what happens in your physical restaurant anymore. Diners interact with your business before and after they visit online through social media and reviews. When it comes to choosing a place to eat, reviews are generally the most trusted source of information after recommendations from a friend.
Trusted Channels for Advice on Hotels, Restaurants and Experiences
Bloggers and influencers
Your reputation is the kind of marketing investment that pays off over time:
Need some inspiration to get started with your reviews? Click here for our best tips on responding.
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
As a new owner, it can be overwhelming trying to do everything possible to get the restaurant off the ground. But most of our advice encouraged new owners to focus on a small, quality-driven menu and the customer experience as the best way to build a strong reputation.
When we asked owners about what kind of cuisine they were experimenting with in 2020 and beyond, they focused on sustainable, healthy eating — one that thrives with quality ingredients from local farms.
Food Trends Restaurant Owners are Currently Implementing
Healthier menu options
Sustainable foods or produce
Juggling suppliers can be tricky, but remember that they’re people just like you. Finding the right growers and distributors grounds your cuisine. And your customers will notice the difference.
Never Forget It’s a Business
While your customer experience and cuisine are essential building blocks to a successful restaurant, never forget the “business” side of the restaurant business:
No one got into the restaurant business to be an accountant or a marketer, but often, that’s exactly what restaurant owners have to do.
It’s a Tough Lifestyle, But You’ll Love It
The restaurant business is full of ups and downs, but every owner we asked said they wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Restaurant owners do so much for their customers and their community. Want to learn more about how Tripadvisor can support your business? Fill out the form below:
*Methodology: The 2020 Trends Survey project surveyed 6,652 Tripadvisor users across 9 markets (United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Netherlands, Brazil, Germany) in October 2019. The survey targeted users who had visited the site in the last 12 months. The sample is made up of Tripadvisor users who had opted into emails from Tripadvisor and were invited to participate in the research via an email link directing them to an online survey platform.