5 Common Mistakes When Running a Restaurant

Running a restaurant is no easy feat. There are many factors to consider and decisions to make, and it can be easy to slip up and make mistakes that cost you customers, money, or both. According to a CNBC report, 60 percent of restaurants fail within the first year of their launch.

To make sure you stay ahead of the game and keep your business thriving, here are some things to avoid when operating a restaurant:

Not tracking food costs

One of the most important aspects of running a profitable restaurant is controlling food costs. But to do that, you need to know what your food costs are in the first place. That might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many restaurateurs don’t track their food costs regularly.

If you want a handle on your food cost, start by tracking your inventory and doing weekly or monthly cost analysis. Using software to track inventory and automatically generate reports is also a good idea.

Analyzing market data is also essential. Keeping an eye on the prices of ingredients and other items you use in your kitchen can help you make informed decisions about how to price your menu items for maximum profitability. That way, you’ll know what things cost you the most and can adjust your ordering accordingly.


Another common mistake that restaurants make is overstaffing. It might seem counterintuitive since most restaurants are constantly understaffed, but having too many employees on hand can also hurt your bottom line. That’s because every employee represents a fixed cost you must pay regardless of whether they’re busy.

So, if you’re often paying your employees for idle time, it’s time to reassess your staffing needs. The best way to do this is by using labor management software to track employee productivity and schedule accordingly. On the other hand, you can also employ staff scheduling software to create realistic schedules to keep labor costs down.

By keeping an eye on your staffing needs, you can ensure that you’re neither understaffed nor overstaffed. It’s a delicate balance, but it’s necessary to ensure you’re running a profitable business.

Not taking advantage of technology

In today’s day and age, there’s no excuse for not taking advantage of technology when running a restaurant. Many restaurateurs cling to old-school methods simply because they’re comfortable with them. However, this mindset can strain your restaurant’s finances and keep it from reaching its full potential.

From online ordering platforms to table management apps, there are plenty of tools available that can help streamline operations and boost profits. You can also look into automation and AI-powered software to help manage your inventory, payroll, and scheduling. Modern tech can also help you market your restaurant more effectively and increase customer loyalty.

To stay competitive, embracing change and incorporating new technologies into your operation is essential. Doing so will not only make your life easier but also help improve your bottom line.

Not sourcing on their own

Every restaurant requires raw materials and ingredients to produce quality dishes. Unfortunately, far too many restaurateurs make the mistake of relying on middle-man distributors for their sourcing needs. Not only is this expensive, but it can also lead to inferior ingredients that adversely affect the quality of your food.

One strategy that can help is to source ingredients directly from the producers. This way, you’ll have more control over quality and cost. Another option is to invest in your supply chain. You can start small, but eventually, it will pay dividends in terms of price and consistency.

For instance, suppose you’re selling beef burgers. In that case, you can negotiate with trusted Charolais bull breeders to raise your cattle and have them processed and delivered directly whenever you need them. This way, you can ensure quality while saving money in the long run. The same goes for other meats and produce. By sourcing directly from growers, you can get fresh ingredients for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you’ll also be able to access specialty items that you can’t get from distributors.

a woman wearing an apron standing at the entrance of a retaurant

Not marketing effectively

Another mistake that restaurants make is failing to market effectively. With so much competition out there, it’s more important than ever to let potential customers know what makes your restaurant special. But many restaurateurs rely solely on word-of-mouth marketing or low-budget tactics like flyer distribution.

If you really want to get people in the door, you must focus on developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes both traditional and digital marketing channels. Only then will you be able to reach a wide audience and maximize your chances of success.

In conclusion, running a successful restaurant requires careful planning and smart decision-making. Fortunately, with the above tips, you’ll be well on your way to running a profitable and successful business. Focusing on these details can go a long way in keeping your restaurant running smoothly and ensuring its success.

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