Expanding your restaurant business – steps to open a new branch
1. Go digital to leverage growth: Technology is a great enabler of growth; it can help your business boost productivity and scale up. Digital marketing, for instance, is a great way to make inroads into new markets. It enables you to reach out to a wider audience, without bearing the costs of physically being there. Data analytics is another area that you should consider investing your time and effort. Whether it is tracking product deliveries in real-time or simply monitoring internal organisational processes, going digital is a mandatory step in scaling up your business.
2. Consider franchising: Franchising is a proven method of expanding a business. See if your business all the right boxes before stepping into the world of franchising. Don’t simply assume that your business model is replicable and portable. It would help to hire a specialist to conduct a feasibility study. Once you have made up your mind, select a franchisee that’s not just financially stable but one that shares the same passion for your business. Also, prepare earning projections and business templates to demonstrate how your business works. Remember, that this is a decision that will shape the future of your business
3. Reinvent your product portfolio: Have a roadmap for product development. Undertake research that will help you identify new areas of opportunities. Consider the amount of time you will require for regulatory approvals, product testing and initial marketing. Planning and research play an important role, too. Conduct market research and demographic surveys to understand the needs of your customer base and get an insight directly into your customer’s mind. The preferences of the customer in terms of location, time and so on are determining factors in the success of your restaurant.
4. Develop an innovation mindset: Be proactive in terms of leading a cultural transformation within your business. The digital era we live in revolves around automation, innovation and online platforms. In order to survive in this changing landscape, your business will need to rehash its business model, improve staff skills and encourage innovation. And, it’s not just about technology. It’s more about changing the mindset of your business.
5. Encourage learning and training: Given the rapidly evolving space, it’s important to ensure your employees have skills that are relevant. To achieve this, organise tech-enabled learning and training sessions on a regular basis. Investing in training makes more sense that having to hire new employees with updated skills.
6. Focus on customer service: Your product and the way you market will help you attract customers. But, good service is what will keep them coming back. Today, quality service is not just about meeting customer needs, it’s about exceeding their expectations. The nature of their demands are continually evolving and your business needs to continue finding ways to give them a better experience. To achieve this, your business will need to adopt a holistic approach. This means not just training frontline staff, but also improving your overall brand strategy and product quality.
7. Build partnerships that enable growth: Don’t be afraid to partner with bigger enterprises or government entities to open new avenues of growth. They can inject funding at different stages of your business, while you provide their network with innovative solutions. Globally, many start-ups are moving in this direction.
8. Invest time in financial planning: Always have a backup plan. With competition intensifying and technology rapidly advancing, you never know what’s around the corner. It’s important for your business not just adapt to market changes as they happen, but to anticipate them. Forecast risks and be ready to adjust your resources according to the dynamic market conditions. Effective cash management and proper usage of your working capital is also critical. Financial stability is the foundation for long-term business survival. If you think you aren’t fully equipped to manage this internally, seek external assistance.
9. Widen your investor network: There are a lot of platforms available today that match you to a network of accredited investors that are interested in high-growth companies. You can also research regional VCs – and pitch for secondary funding. Adding on investors that identify the potential of your company will boost your confidence. But, that’s not all. It will give you some extra funds to aggressively market your product across new markets or verticals.
10. Integrate sustainability from the get-go: Sustainability doesn’t just make sense from an environmental point-of-view, but from a business perspective as well. Sustainable practices in a restaurant can help reduce waste streams and ultimately improve cost efficiency. By integrating sustainable principles in your business that can help reduce energy consumption or utilise cleaner forms of energy, can give you a head start and benefit you in the long-term.