Having a successful business in the food & beverage (F&B) industry is no easy feat. Competition has always been fierce, and the added challenges brought on by COVID-19 are still being felt. It’s particularly tough for India’s restaurants with the industry having experienced a 90% reduction in sales since the initial lockdown.
As restaurateurs organise to get back on their feet, staying on top of industry trends and evolving customer behavior is more important than ever. What does this mean for your restaurant? It means being an expert in so much more than cooking good food. While what’s on your menu is the cornerstone on which your business is based, how you market your menu and make it available to the public is just as vital.
At KitchenPlus, we make it our job to be at the forefront of F&B innovation. Because of our hands-on experience with cloud kitchen operation, we have an insider’s perspective on what it takes to succeed in the business. Here we’ve put together our top 10 tips to bring your restaurant to the next level.
Tip #1: Open your own cloud kitchen
Cloud kitchens offer a viable F&B business solution for every type of entrepreneur, no matter what type of food you cook or the size of your enterprise. Here’s why: 100% of your physical costs come from having and running your kitchen. No customer-serving amenities are needed like a dine-in area, restrooms, decor, etc. Once the food is cooked and packaged, all orders are handed over and entrusted to third-party delivery services to get your food successfully to paying customers.
Cloud kitchens are simply easier to open and less expensive to run. Because cloud kitchen operators like KitchenPlus handle all of the time-consuming logistics, such as finding a promising location, securing insurance, licenses, renovations, fundamental kitchen equipment and so on, owners are freed up to do what they do best—cook great food that people love.
Because the business is boiled down to basics—with a turnkey business plan that minimizes all upfront and operational costs—a cloud kitchen’s average profit margin is typically much higher than traditional restaurants. With this extra cash flow, kitchen expansion becomes a natural progression for your restaurant business.
Tip #2: Locate the best suppliers possible
Something all the most profitable restaurants have in common is a network of reliable and great value suppliers. Finding suppliers that offer you all the raw ingredients and products you need at an affordable price will help you produce high-quality food with larger profit margins. Spending all the time necessary to do this at the beginning of your business venture will more than pay off in the long run.
Tip #3: Uphold consistency in your food quality
First impressions are the most lasting. If you’ve pleased customers with menu items that are high quality and delicious, this is the experience that they’ll expect every time and will keep them coming back—which is why maintaining that positive experience is critical to your business’s longevity. All it takes is one bad occurrence to ruin your reputation.
During a kitchen expansion—which may involve opening several locations—maintaining consistency and high-quality levels at all locations becomes more challenging. But implementing quality measures is vital for your brand’s survival, as this is what loyal customers are banking on.
Tip #4: Partner with delivery platforms
One major aspect of F&B innovation is the boom of online delivery platforms. In India, the online food delivery market is forecasted to reach US$ 21.41 billion by 2026, a massive jump from US$ 4.66 Billion in 2020.
The big-name players in India are Zomato, Swiggy and Uber Eats – but there are many to choose from and many new ones entering the scene. Research your best options and be sure to partner up with one or more of them to make sure you’re benefiting from the trend.
Tip #5: Make your business website a priority
Having an online presence is not just important in today’s day and age, it’s essential. Ignoring the look and feel of your website—or not keeping it properly maintained—is a huge mistake you can’t afford to make. Customers regularly search for local businesses and will expect to receive important information like what your brand is about, contact info and—most importantly—your menu.
Your menu must be easily accessible, visually appealing and updated with the most current food offerings and any specials or promos.
Tip #6: Cultivate your online reputation through reviews
When people are browsing online for food to order, reviews are one of the first things they will look at. A restaurant with few or low ratings can be enough to deter away potential customers, while one with lots of positive reviews can be the deciding factor for some. Important places to encourage reviews include the delivery platforms you’re selling on and Google.
Tip #7: Optimise your restaurant’s performance with data analysis
One of the biggest innovations of a cloud kitchen is how easy it is to collect data for your F&B business. Analyzing restaurant data is extremely valuable for streamlining your kitchen’s performance and maximizing your bottom line. Tracking which dishes are most popular, seasonality changes and knowing where any bottlenecks occur will help take your business to the next level.
Tip #8: Hire a professional food photographer
Never underestimate the power of high-quality visuals—especially when it comes to food. Remember that for online customers, they eat with their eyes first. Having professional-level photos that make the observer’s mouth water can mean the difference between captivating a new customer and losing them to the competition.
Hiring a professional photographer is a wise investment because you’ll be sure to get well-lit, attractive and persuasive visuals that you can put to good use across all your business channels—including your website, social media posts, promotional materials, ads and more.
Tip #9: Offer seasonal promotions and specials
Restaurants that are known for seasonal offerings or special events tend to stay on people’s minds and stand out from their competitors. For delivery-only restaurants, this could mean offering a weekly Samosa Sunday deal, Taco Tuesday special, or gaining the reputation for the best at-home party meal deals.
Tip #10: Value your restaurant staff
At the end of the day, your business’s most valuable asset is your staff. Your employees are what keep your kitchen afloat and make it all possible. Offering them incentives and benefits that make them feel valuable and personally invested in the restaurant’s success will go a long way, especially when it comes to expanding your kitchen and operations in the future.
Have more questions?
Please don’t hesitate to contact us. Any of our KitchenPlus experts will be happy to answer questions or offer F&B advice about starting your own cloud kitchen.