Restaurateurs frequently find themselves in an uncomfortable situation: people used to like your restaurant, now customers are dwindling, you don’t know why. Anyone who has seen TV shows in the vein of Kitchen Nightmares can understand that there are a million reasons why restaurants stop being successful. But people who consider these tales a bit more closely start to see that there actually aren’t that many causes of customer discontent. In general, people stop showing up because the food isn’t as good as it used to be, the restaurant has fallen far behind the times, or the service/management is terrible. It can take a lot of honest soul-searching to observe and accept the reasons that your own restaurant is starting to fail. Butndoing this work is imperative if you want to make the important changes.
Let’s say your restaurant is simply old-fashioned or unhip. This isn’t a terminal situation in all cases, but it all depends on what’s wrong. Restaurateurs tend to get riled when people suggest they’re not cool anymore. But “Cool” is an umbrella term that covers a lot of very important realities. It can happen in the tiniest places, like your POS system or the state of your menu. iPad POS for NYC restaurants are now totally commonplace. They’re convenient and easy to use, for staff and customers. Restaurants that have less-than- modern credit card systems seem like dinosaurs. Similarly restaurants with huge, unfocused menus seem that they’ve lost their identity at some former time.
Maybe your restaurant still performs well according to those criteria, but it’s not doing well in terms of service and management. This is a shockingly common problem, but it makes sense why it happens. Restaurants are a tough business. Everybody involved has to work hard, sometimes for little money and at the expense of their personal lives. When all is not going well, management can become apathetic, and front of house can become edgy and unhelpful. It’s important to get a clear understanding of your problem. Check independent online reviews, and ask people you trust how they are treated in your restaurant. Make the changes necessary if you need to get your service back up to snuff.
Finally, your food might just be kind of lame. This happens with time in a lot of places in life. Marriages start to suffer as time goes on and it can be difficult to revive the flame. Great sports teams lose their spark even while their best players are still young. For restaurants, passion and enjoyment are palpable on the plate. A customer can always tell if the food he or she has been given is sub par.
If your restaurant is losing customers and you don’t know why, it’s time to take a careful look in the mirror. Like the Beatles said, it’s time to get back to where you once belonged. it can take some doing and some tough action, but for the good of yourself, your restaurant, your employees, and your clientele, it’s got to be done. Good luck!