There’s a lot of talk about the “crisis” – but there is little talk about the pain that so many hospitality businesses inflict upon themselves.
It is incredible how small changes, minor improvements, and a little planning and management can (positively) affect your business! Following are some tips that will help you attract more people to your bar, restaurant, nightclub or hotel:
- Buy some nice plants and flowers, or even a fish tank
- Reduce the number of tables and chairs and instead give more comfortable space to your guests
- Integrate “happy hours” for drinks, snacks, lunch and dinner with 10-30% price reduction for times of the day that are really slow
- Nice background music (low, not loud!) during specific hours can bring a lot of joy to people coming to your place
- Make a plan from Monday to Friday to offer something different every day! Inform people passing by your restaurant about your cheap lunch menu with a flyer at the door that shows the menu of the week
- The owner (or an employee) should communicate with guests: “Welcome to … Bar”; “Welcome to the … Restaurant”; “It was nice having you; hope to see you again soon”; “I hope you have a nice day”; “Good bye”…
- The cook should come out to the dining room and ask people if they liked the food. A quick “Hello” and a courtesy interest in the well being of your guest can do magic for achieving return visits.
- Make sure everything is in order and that it’s very clean everywhere.
- If the chef has time, he should personally ask the people what they would like to eat and take on suggestions for future menus.
- Never underestimate the fact that guests do not come back if you have given them a bad meal and a bad service or they leave with the feeling that they overpaid. General chaos, lack of attention, a dirty kitchen and smelly toilets and the client will never come back!
- Open your bar or restaurant 15 to 30 minutes earlier than usual, open the windows, let in some fresh air, create an atmosphere… You have no idea what a positive affect this can have on the first few customers that walk in the door!
- Use your free time to paint the walls and doors once every few years.
- Use your free time to thoroughly clean the kitchen once every 6 months.
- Clean all the shelves, lamps, fridges and doors to perfection every year.
- Change the pictures on the walls, or the decoration around your premises with themes appropriate to your guests and the style of your bar or restaurant.
- Analyze the lighting of all rooms and ensure it creates comfort and a good positive atmosphere. Nobody wants to dine in a hospital style lit restaurant or sleep in a sterile hotel room, especially not on a romantic date! And nobody wants to come have a morning coffee in a dark and dingy cafeteria!
- Check the toilets regularly for cleanliness, toilet paper, soap, etc.
- Let your plants and flowers grow! Dead or half dead plants are not inviting and should be substituted immediately!
- If your restaurant or bar is to cater for couples make sure there are candles on each table. Nobody wants to go on a first date to a bar or a restaurant that isn’t cozy!
- Are there 1000 and more employees working in your area? If you price your lunch menu too high, don’t be surprised if people only come sporadically. Reduce the price by 30-40% and you will see how people start coming everyday!
- If you charge too much for a drink (e.g. Vodka with orange) then don’t be surprised if guests order 1 or 2 and then leave. Charge 30-40% less and you will see how they suddenly stay all night, order one round after the other and on top of it come back with all their friends!
- If you charge above average for a coffee, or a croissant, or a sandwich then people living and working in the area won’t come regularly! Reduce the prices by 30-40% and you will see how they start coming to have breakfast at your café 3 or 4 times a week!
- Neither you nor your employees should wear the same clothes at work as during leisure time. Create a working style. You don’t need to necessarily wear a uniform; but a clear style and appropriate working clothes can make all the difference in the world to how your service is perceived!
- Never forget that a smile and a nice gesture or welcoming word to each and every guest doesn’t cost you a cent; but they will feel welcome and comfortable when they come to your place!
- Never let your guests wait around for more than a minute when they have taken their seat. Engage them and ensure that they are comfortable. Never let clients feel lost at the entrance, welcome them in, and ask them where they would like to sit!
- If your bar is empty in the early evening then why not introduce a happy hour? Reduce your prices by 30-40% from 5-10 pm, and you can have great success! After 10 pm your guests will gladly pay more if they feel comfortable and are enjoying themselves.
- If you play music in your bar then never put on music that your regular guests don’t like! Ask your guests what they would like to hear! Let them choose! Invite them to make suggestions to the music type (and volume).
Practical example for a hotel or hostel:
You manage a small hostel or a hotel (1*, 2* and even 3*): Offer rooms on a monthly basis to young people, students and people who are unemployed: $150-250 and additionally a simple breakfast for $2.00, lunch and dinner each for $3.95 (a salad or soup and 1 main course, and water). That’s the way to get $1000-$2000 or even more per month during low season (from October to May). And you and your staff can work for personal satisfaction and current expenses! Plus you can pay the bills!
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