Our 5 Step Methodology For More Restaurant Customers
“You’d better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changin’.” - Bob Dylan
Competition in the Food Sector and in the Catering and Hospitality Industry is tough. Owning and operating a restaurant business is not an easy task and it’s not for the feint hearted. It’s not just competition from other restaurants either. Theatres, cinemas, takeaways, supermarkets are all vying for their slice of the market. In fact, any other option that gets someone to part with their hard-earned cash as opposed to them spending it whilst delighting in the surroundings of your fine establishment, is competition.
Be it a night in with a pizza and beer in front of the latest Box Set or money being set aside for a summer holiday, you have to work hard to keep your customers happy enough so that they rave about you and recommend you to others, and keep returning themselves for more of your hospitality.
This is why you must take advantage of the marginal gains that are hidden within your restaurant, and when you are planning on renewing your dishwashing system, the following steps will go a long way.
I go into this in a lot more detail in my book: Clean Dishes, Clear Profits but this is the outline below:
Step 1: Current Setup
What I have?
Whether you have a setup in place already or are starting from scratch, the first step is to look at what you have.
How Busy Am I?
No matter where you are located or the size of your operations, you must ask yourself ‘how busy am I?’ and consider the number of covers you have on your very busiest day. This is what your dishwashing setup needs to be able to handle.
How Will I Grow?
When evaluating your setup, you must take into consideration your plans for growth over the next 1, 2 or 5 years. Are you intending to expand your facilities or offers? Will these plans involve extending the dining area or changing the layout of the kitchen? Are you revamping the menu, and if so how will this impact on the amount of dishes, silverware, glassware, etc that you will be using? You don’t have to be able to answer all these questions exactly but it’s good to have a general idea before investing in a new setup to ensure that it can expand with you.
What Works and What Doesn’t?
Make a pros and cons list of your existing dishwasher. This will give you a great starting point when looking at new machines because you’ll know what you do and don’t want.
Do you have a dishwasher company that you already deal with and trust? Know someone who gone through this process before that you can pick up the phone to? Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and remember there are no stupid questions!
Step 2: Clarity
Know Your Options
Once you understand what you have and what you want, you can begin to narrow the field down to the machines that will best service your business.
Do It Yourself
Armed with this knowledge you can do the research and legwork to find the dishwashers that may suit you best. While this can seem like an economical option, that is often a false economy as unless you really love researching this can eat up a lot of your time better served elsewhere in your business.
Do It With Me
A little less time consuming than doing it yourself, you can draft in an expert to bounce some ideas off while you decide the best setup for you.
Do It For Me
Work with a reputable, expert company whose job it is to liaise with your staff to find the ideal setup for you. They will do the legwork, complete a site survey and minimise the stress of the process.
Step 3: Cost
How Much Do You Want To Spend?
The most common answer to this is, ‘as little as possible.’ While that is understandable, we are all looking to keep costs down in our business, you should try to avoid falling into the trap of compromising quality for a lower price.
When considering cost think of the project as a whole, rather than the component parts. Buying on price alone can end up a costly venture in the long run.
How Would You Like To Pay?
There are many options when it comes to paying for your dishwashing system and they are all worth considering. Whether you are in a position to pay cash, use a company credit card, take it on account or use a finance/leasing agreement, you should seriously consider all the options and decide which make the best financial decision for your company.
Don’t forget to consider rental or purchasing a recycled/upcycled model. These can be a great option if your budget is tight.
Think Outside The Box
TV Chef Gary Usher has successfully used Crowd Funding in various projects. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and make use of everything that may be available to your business.
Step 4: Create
When And By Whom?
Installation is an important factor to consider. The process will impact the running of your business for a time and you want to make sure that time is as short as possible. Carefully consider when it is best for installation to take place and who you will entrust to do it.
Delivery Company Or Installer?
Often when you buy online, you’ll find the supplier will not install your machine and only offer what is classed as kerbside delivery. This means that the delivery driver is under no obligation to site the new machine in its box anywhere other than the doorstep of the delivery address. While it may seem tempting to pay less and receive this service, it can have a greater impact on your business long term. Consider using a company that specialises in sourcing, supplying AND installing your new machine.
How Long Will Installation Take?
This can be dependent on a few factors that can vary from location to location. This is another reason why it is good to deal with a company that specialises in this. They won’t be able to guarantee exact times but they will have a good idea of how long things take and if there are any snags, they’ll have the expertise to deal with them.
What Will You Do With Your Old Machine?
Will you recycle it, sell it on or scrap it? These are all options worth considering. If you do decide to scrap it always make sure whoever is dealing with that knows the WEEE regulations that govern the scrapping of waste electrical and electronic equipment.
Step 5: Clean Dishes, Clear Profits
If you have bought your machine from the supplier or one of their agents, you should have a few weeks after installation to highlight any issues that arise with using the machine over and above the 12-month parts and labour warranty. Make sure you take note of any problems and contact your supplier to have these checked.
This is a vital step in going forward with your new machine. It is so important that all staff involved in the operation of the dishwasher be trained in how to clean, operate and get the best out of the new system.
Regular Planned Preventative Maintenance programmes (PPMs) can minimise or even eliminate breakdowns. It is therefore a good idea to have a service package in place with a reputable company. Not only does this ensure that the machine is running well over its lifetime, but greatly minimises stress should anything break on it. You know that a simple phone call to your service company is all it takes to arrange for it to be assessed and mended.
Follow this 5 Step Methodology and these small wins will go a long way to getting more customers!
- Richard Hose