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Assessments: How to Protect Your Restaurant in 2020

Jan 02, 2020

Couple a predicted downturn in the economy with the start of a new decade, and we think now is a good time as any for operators to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their restaurant(s). RTS Partner Len Ghilani, who has opened and operated more than 275 restaurants nationwide, has done his share of such assessments over a long career. So we turned to Len for advice. Here’s his list of tasks without which no assessment is complete.

Analyze your menu. Len says operators must always be aware of the size of their menus, which includes scrutinizing SKUs and ingredients — and then determining whether you have too many. “I am always talking to operators about the size and efficiencies of their menus,” he explains. “There’s a tendency for smaller operators, for instance, to want to keep up with trends and then end up with too many ingredients that aren’t making the restaurant money.”

Consider technology, but . . . Make sure you’re committed to using technology before investing in it, cautions Len, who advises you to apply these four rules of thumb to all technology purchases:

  • You can afford the technology
  • You are 100 percent sure you (and your staff) will use it correctly
  • You will trim costs by using it
  • You will use the data you get

Remain on trend. Len believes it’s a good time for operators to ask themselves what they’re doing to stay current — and therefore more attractive than competitors down the street. After all, he says, restaurant seats are a dime a dozen these days. “Does your place look new, clean and relevant to customers,” he asks. “Or are you still operating like you did in the 1970s?” Also: Don’t forget to check for worn carpeting and outdated bathroom and lighting fixtures.

Maybe add a ghost kitchen. Len recalls the time years ago when he created a full-service restaurant for a hotel. Because it had plenty of kitchen space, the restaurant began making pizza and marketing it to hotel guests as a delivery service. Yet he branded the artisanal pies as if they were made elsewhere. Today, that ploy would be deemed a ghost kitchen. If you have enough room (and staff) back-of-the-house, consider developing a small, delivery-only menu and branding it separately from your restaurant.

If you need assistance with an assessment of your restaurant, Results Thru Strategy can help. Please email RTS CEO Fred LeFranc:


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