The food business is challenging and competitive. Even those who are the most passionate and talented can sometimes burn out. For every successful restaurant making a name for itself, many others don’t last.
Success in the food business requires many things – passion and drive, talent and creativity, and a willingness to work incredibly hard, potentially in the face of failure and setback. It also, of course, requires a bit of luck.
A successful food business, however, isn’t as elusive as it may first seem. This three-part “recipe” highlights some elements that the most successful food enterprises have in common.
One essential component of a successful culinary business is adaptability. Your creativity is central to your success as a food entrepreneur. A good restaurateur understands the power of good food and has a vision for his or her establishment, but a truly successful food business owner knows how to change and adapt strategy when things aren’t going quite right.
Whether it’s expanding into new territory or adding new recipes to your menu, continued and lasting success in the culinary business requires an adaptable mind. Adaptability keeps your food business relevant as the tastes of your customers change with the times.
2. Focus on Customers First
In addition to adaptability, you must focus on your customers to attain success in the culinary industry. As a restaurant owner, you must always be thinking about what your customers’ experience is like – from the time they set foot inside your door to the moment they pay their check and head on their way.
Staying customer-focused in your business can come fairly naturally, especially if you’re starting small (and of course, nearly every food business, even some of the biggest ones, start small). When your business is new and you’re just starting out, you can’t afford to lose customers or get bad reviews. You’re trying to build your restaurant’s reputation and that requires a focus on the needs and wants of your customers.
3. Hire Fantastic People
Hiring great people in your restaurant is the third element that nearly all successful food businesses have in common, and it goes hand in hand with a focus on great customer service. If you want your business to meet with success and maintain that success, be selective about who you choose to work for you.
The best employees not only have experience and a passion for their work, but they’re adaptable (see point 1 above!), effective, and genuinely enjoy what they do. Whether you’re looking at hiring line cooks, people to bus tables, wait staff, or hospitality staff, the common denominator that makes employees great is that they love their jobs. Your employees represent you to your customers when you aren’t there. Be comfortable and extremely confident in the people who work for you – your restaurant’s success really is in their hands.
Having great food helps, too. But if the environment is hostile or the atmosphere uninviting, even the best food won’t keep a restaurant afloat. Be more than a business – be an asset to the area, build rapport with customers, and rely on your employees. A vibrant and adaptable restaurant combines customer service that excels and breeds customer loyalty, creating more than just an eating establishment – but a community. And that is, after all, what the most successful food businesses are – communities of passionate, creative people, who love food and want to share it with others.
Just like the ingredients in a great recipe, these three elements – adaptability, great customer service, and excellent employees – add up to success in the culinary world. Like ingredients, they combine to create something greater and more wonderful than the individual pieces.
As a recognized American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) Quality program, we’ve combined these three ingredients into the curriculum of our 12-week culinary certificate course. A prime example of having done so is reflected in the catering events we host throughout the duration of the program.
If you’re interested in learning how a culinary education will prepare you for a career in food business ownership, register for a free information session. There’s no commitment required and food will be provided. What do you have to lose?