24 Rules for Restaurants That Survive, & Thrive.
Updated: Feb 11
Most restaurants fail, about 80% of them. Others succeed, we’ve written up timeless rules (in no particular order of importance) that will help you build a restaurant brand that never fails. Our goal is to eventually end up with a list of community-vetted rules that restaurants and retailers can check off as they build their businesses. Please contribute new rules in the comment section!
Rule 1/ Don’t upset your customers on a regular basis.
Rule 2/ Don't let customers walk all over your staff.
Rule 3/ Avoid food ordering services that charge double-digit commissions like the plague.
Rule 4/ Treat your inventory like it’s chopped up currency.
Rule 5/ Don't let anyone hijack your brand.
Rule 6/ Use checklists religiously.
Rule 7/ Don't base your marketing strategy on discounts.
Rule 8/ Serve items that people want to share, online & offline.
Rule 9/ Make posting online a part of your daily checklists.
Rule 10/ Hire when it hurts, not when it’s convenient.
Rule 11/ Keep a small menu and by extension a small list of ingredients.
Rule 12/ Your only wastage goal should be zero%.
Rule 13/ Ditch your “social media” company.
Rule 14/ Your online ordering & online menus are as important as your in-store menus, so treat them that way.
Rule 15/ Offer delivery and pickup, no matter how fancy you think your restaurant is.
Rule 16/ Keep your food cost under 35%.
Rule 17/ Keep your rent, labor, and utility costs under 40%.
Rule 18/ Don’t open a second branch until you have lines out the door.
Rule 19/ Setup a loyalty program for repeat customers.
Rule 20/ Make sure everyone on your team understands the concept of customer lifetime value.
Rule 21/ Spend 5% of your sales on online ads.
Rule 22/ Build a customer database that you constantly communicate with.
Rule 23/ Survey customers for feedback often.
Rule 24/ Take care of your packaging.
Follow all of the above rules, and you’ll build a restaurant brand that goes on and on for years to come. We intentionally left out “serve good food”, because if you are following rules #20, and #23, you’ll have no issue coming up with a product that people love.
Did we miss anything? Contribute new rules in the comment section below.
At Upzaar, we build tools that help retailers, restaurants, and home based businesses launch & grow online. Launch an online ecommerce store, start a fully-integrated loyalty program, and create your own designer-quality marketing campaigns all from the same platform.