You’re turning out the best food you’ve ever made. You have diners lining up to compliment you on your flavours, professionalism and turnaround. And the Google reviews are in: your business is a certifiable local hit.
photo credit: Tim Douglas Via Pexels
Where do you go from here? If you’re like most enterprising restaurant owners in this country, your thoughts turn to expansion. How can you get your locally-loved product into hungry mouths in other neighbourhoods, other cities, perhaps even other countries?
Expansion takes planning and consideration. Expand in the wrong way – or too quickly – and you could risk over-extending. Expand too timidly, and you might not fulfill your restaurant’s true potential. In this article, let’s explore a few things to keep in mind that can help you take your local idea and make it a widespread hit.
Consider thinking outside the (takeout) box. Rather than opting to open several costly brick-and-mortar locations, speak to a ghost kitchen operator about opening delivery only restaurants. Opening delivery kitchens rather than conventional restaurants allows you to expand with minimal capital.
All you need is a good, locally-trialled business idea and the help of a ghost kitchen operator with a wide-reaching network. Together, you can work toward expanding your business into new areas without having to worry about over-extending your finances.
photo credit: freepik Via Freepik
Food Packaging Branding
Those plain paper bags and stock takeout containers worked when you were a small business, but, as you expand, you need to capitalize on every available branding opportunity. After all, you’re not just a local restaurant anymore – you’re an enterprise.
As you expand, look into food packaging branding. Your packaging offers an excellent opportunity to convey your brand values (like health or sustainability), style (hipness, sophistication, etc.) and catchy taglines (“life’s too short for boring chicken,” for instance).
Branding is a pivotal part of successful expansion, and it starts with the first thing your customer sees – the packaging.
Recipe standardization is critical to restaurant expansion for several reasons. First, standardizing your food allows you to control portions and yield – an essential step in minimizing food waste and maximizing profits. Secondly, standardized recipes ensure food safety by defining, prescribing, and controlling things like cooking time and temperature. (Nothing derails a successful expansion quicker than bad press surrounding food safety).
Most successful local restaurants already understand the merits of recipe standardization. Still, it might be worthwhile to fine-tune your recipes and processes further just to ensure consistency. For help, you can sign up for a class in a local hospitality program, or ask the neighbourhood kitchen operator you are working with for resources.
There is much more to restaurant expansion (securing financing, market research and hiring the right staff come to mind), but the three tips above represent significant, sometimes-overlooked choices you can make to ensure your expansion is smooth and successful. Keep them in mind next time you think about your scaling your restaurant business.