24 Rules for Restaurants That Survive, & Thrive.
Updated: May 13
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 Alif Alif, 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.