Is your restaurant living its value statement?
The Challenge: Sustainability
Restaurant survival in the current environment is tenuous, to say the least. While takeout may offer restaurants a brief lifeline, it lacks the long-term sustainability they need to survive, no less thrive. At the same time, devoted guests whose support creates the community that’s the lifeblood of a restaurant can only show their support in minimal ways.
Tiny restaurant profit margins, commonly 3-9%, are themselves unsustainable. With near-zero reserves to weather even a short-term crisis, outright failure for weaker businesses in this environment will be the rule.
The Issue: Profitability
The underlying, bottom-line issue is two-fold: 1. the cheap cost of many mainstream ingredients in the United States; and 2. restaurants are conditioned to compete on price. While menu prices should have been rising to align with inflation and hard cost like rent, prices were actually driven down because businesses felt they needed competitive pricing to retain guests.
The Solution: Reappraisal
Restaurants need to critically reappraise who they are in the community and what value they bring to their customers’ quality of life. In all honesty, guests likely feel they are the ones bringing value to the relationship through their patronage. Nonetheless, restaurants that thrive – not just succeed financially – are deeply valued institutions of service. Communicating value – the value statement of the restaurant – involves staff training to actively verbalize it to each guest.
We all serve each other in myriad ways.