How can you keep your head above the water in this climate?
Enzo Febbraro, the chef/owner of Washington, DC’s D’Acqua Ristorante, offers these tips:
Toot your own horn. It is important, in this economy, to keep getting your name out there. Utilize public relations efforts to keep your name in the public’s mind. When they decide to dine out, you want your restaurant to be their first choice.
Focus on quality. Diners are paying more attention to the details. They want quality ingredients; therefore, even if costs go up, quality should not be sacrificed. Now is a good time to cut expenses, but avoid any that will diminish the quality of the food you serve.
Price strategically. Cost will always remain an issue, for those dining out. Give them a reason to notice your restaurant. Run specials (e.g., happy hour, two-for-one drinks, half-price appetizers, free kids’ meals on Wednesdays, etc.) to get diners through the door.
Upsell. Once you have guests in your restaurant, work on selling them more. Offer drinks, side salads, desserts, etc. Offer a small daily bonus to the server who sells the most add-ons in a day.
Make the meal special. Try to make each diner’s experience as enjoyable as possible. Offer signature dishes that they can’t easily recreate at home. Treat them well and thank them for dining at your restaurant.