This is a part 6 of a 7 part series about how to start your own bar, restaurant, or nightclub business in Japan.
Lesson 6 of 7: Bar, Restaurant, Nightclub – Five Secrets to Growing your Japanese business
During Lesson 6, I’ll cover the following topics:
- Do Your Homework
- Pay Attention to the Details
- Be Realistic in Projections
- Hire Carefully
- Care About Your Product
Do Your Homework
Preparation is one of the most important keys to success. Creating your business plan was a first step in preparing to open your business, but it’s vitally important to continue the habit of careful research and planning throughout the ongoing operation of your business.
Are you thinking of adding a new item to your menu? Poll your customer base to ensure that they are receptive to buying that type of food, and that adding it doesn’t merely serve to stretch your resources too thin. Are you considering advertising in a local publication? Ask questions to find out exactly what their circulation is, who their readers are, and what return your can expect for your investment.
Careful research will help you ensure that your funds, resources, and efforts are spent in the most beneficial ways possible so your business can grow responsibly.
Pay Attention to the Details
“The Devil is in the details.”
Yes, it can be tedious to delve into details, and it can be tempting to ignore them because sometimes scary things can be found there. But scary things do not go away just because you ignore them. In fact, they can grow into situations that can cause real damage to the success of your business.
Paying close attention to details can help you spot early warning signs and put out little fires before they become engulfing blazes. Get in the habit of seeking out details that will give you clues to the health of your business, such as details in reports and feedback from your customers. However, don’t get so bogged down in details that you forget to keep the big picture in mind.
Have a Clear Marketing Position
Understand your position in the restaurant market. Then get to know your target customers and their needs, wants and desires, and work to always meet them.
In many businesses, the employees are the face of the business. This is especially true in the restaurant industry. From the time your customers walk in your front door to the time they pay their bill, they are dealing with the people you hire.
Take the time to meet with employees personally, and ask them open-ended questions that will help you learn their motives, loyalties, strengths, and weaknesses. Be sure that the people you hire will represent your restaurant professionally, and in the manner that you wish them to. Take the time to train them in the type of customer service you expect them to give. And most importantly, never underestimate the power of praise as a motivator.
Care About Your Product
Consistency. Consistent quality and presentation of foods on the menu will ensure high levels of customer satisfaction. When people return to your restaurant, it’s because they liked were satisfied with their previous experience. If the next visit differs from their previous experiences, they will become confused and annoyed, and will possible not return. Be sure your menu items are always prepared and served exactly the same, and that your staff’s level of service is always up to par.
Quality. The best way to set yourself apart from competitors – especially competitors who offer similar menu items as you – is in the quality of your ingredients and service. People who dine out are becoming more and more discerning, so don’t skimp unnecessarily. They will know.
Share Your Passion. “Do what you love and love what you do.” Your commitment to the success of your business will be contagious – to your staff as well as your customers. If you don’t have a passion for the food industry, at least make sure that you hire an onsite manager who does.
Here are some books worth reading about opening a bar, restaurant, or nightclub.