How to deal with an economic downturn in the restaurant industry

Posted 12th of July 2022 by Daniel

In a restaurant, cutting back on costs is often a necessary response to an economic downturn. However, if cost-cutting measures are taken too far, it can jeopardise the quality of the dining experience and the business itself. Here are some things to keep in mind when making decisions about how to cut costs during tough times:

1. Don't skimp on quality.

It's important to maintain the quality of your food and service, even if it means spending a bit more. If you cut corners too much, your customers will notice and may take their business elsewhere. You then find yourself in an occasion where you've got less customers so cut back on quality to cut costs, and this then becomes a death spiral.

2. Be strategic about where you cut costs.

There are some areas where cutting back is more acceptable than others. For example, you might want to cut back on advertising or marketing, but you shouldn't skimp on things like food quality or employee training. Think of economic downtimes as weathering a storm rather than a permanent change to thinking.

3. Consider alternative revenue streams.

If you're struggling to bring in enough business, look for other ways to generate income. This could include offering catering services, delivery, or take-out. Since the pandemic more and more people are working from home and sometimes those people want a space to enjoy a coffee while working, so think about how you could cater to the new world we live in.

4. Make sure your employees are on board.

Your employees will be key to weathering an economic downturn, so it's important to keep them happy and engaged. If you're making changes that will impact their work, make sure to communicate those clearly and give them a chance to provide feedback. Employees who feel like they're being listened to and valued are more likely to stick around, even during tough times.

5. Keep your customers in mind.

Ultimately, your goal is to keep your customers happy and coming back, even during an economic downturn. So when you're making decisions about how to cut costs, make sure you're doing so in a way that won't negatively impact the quality of your customers' experience. Just as much as your money is being squeezed, so is theirs - and the fact they continue to be patrons should be respected and rewarded.

6 Don't stop innovating & improving.

Just because times are tough doesn't mean you should stop thinking about ways to improve your business. In fact, now is the time to double down on innovation. Look for ways to improve your menu, your service, and your overall customer experience. If you can find ways to stand out from the competition, you'll be in a better position to weather the storm.

7. Focus on the long-term.

It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running a business, but it's important to take a step back and think about your long-term goals. What do you want your business to look like when the economy rebounds? How can you position yourself

8 Be transparent with your customers and staff.

Many people are struggling right now, and they appreciate businesses that are honest about the challenges they're facing. If you're making changes to your business in response to the economic downturn, let your customers and employees know what's going on. Transparency builds trust, and that's something you'll need a lot of during tough times.

9 Maximise the number of patrons you bring in.

Using booking software. In any economic downturn the most important thing is to maximise the number of patrons you have. Booking software is a cheap, easy way to do this. People don’t want to waste fuel coming to a venue where they might not be able to sit - BookingNinja is £29.95 a month, you'd need just 1 booking extra a month to justify the cost.

In conclusion, while it's important to cut costs during an economic downturn, you should be strategic about it and make sure you're not cutting too much. Quality is still important, and your employees and customers should be kept in mind throughout the process. By being strategic and thinking long-term, you can weather the storm and come out the other side even stronger.

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