Perhaps you currently own a bistro and the business is proving hard to stay above water and bring the profits you had hoped for.
This may be for numerous reasons, if you come from a chef’s side of the business then you are probably more interested in creating dishes than understanding the business side of things. And if you are a businessman you might not realize the importance of your menu and how to attract people into your restaurant. There is plenty behind the scenes that is going on in a bistro that creates a great dining experience.his may be for numerous reasons, if you come from a chef’s side of the business then you are probably more interested in creating dishes than understanding the business side of things. And if you are a businessman you might not realize the importance of your menu and how to attract people into your restaurant. There is plenty behind the scenes that is going on in a bistro that creates a great dining experience. Here are some great tips to help your bistro become and remain a success.
The biggest single factor that makes your bistro special and above the rest of the restaurants in your area is the menu. It is worth spending a great deal of time composing your menu, and you need to constantly tweak and improve it. If your menu is too far left field then you will restrict the number of customers who will wish to visit your bistro, so don’t give your chef a total free hand. A moderate way to tackle this problem is to take old classic favorites and put your own spin on them. Keep in mind that you own a bistro and you want the casual atmosphere to be dominant.
The Mark Up
The bottom line is that your business has to turn a profit, the average mark up for food is thirty percent, but you may want to consider a maximum price policy. That means set a maximum value, say $40 where every dish on the menu is under this price. Diners then know what the outlay is from the start no matter which dishes they choose. This is a proven and workable pricing strategy. If some of the dishes don’t meet your markup margins, then make it up on other items such as pastas and pizzas.
Your bistro business might be ticking along nicely, but you constantly need to reinvest in the business. Priority areas are maintenance and repairs, also to purchase new kitchen gadgets to cut labor costs. There are many new machines that hit the market every year, they can help streamline your kitchen to a more effective and faster department.
Consider hosting weekly or monthly themed events, such as Mexican or Pasta nights. These are extremely popular and create a great buzz in your restaurant. The addition of a few free props and perhaps a cocktail or two will be really appreciated by the diners. Remember returning customers are the lifeblood of a thriving bistro, so consider loyalty cards to reward them for their patronage. Make the cards worthwhile as trying to replace regular customers with new ones is one of the most difficult things to do in the restaurant industry.
Finally, always ask for feedback about service, quality of food etc. Offer a free meal for two for the best monthly suggestion of how to make improvements, and then deliver on the suggestions. Keeping a business operating successfully over a long period is not easy, in fact it gets harder year after year. But put the effort in and you will reap the rewards.