The Battle-Tested Way To Grow Revenue In Hospitality
Time and time again, people ask me what it is that we do that consistently brings our hospitality businesses to success. These people have never seen any of our business’ financials — their assessment is based purely on the sheer number of customers they see on our premises at any given time.
The remarks from our regulars generally follow the lines of ‘You can’t get a seat here anymore!’ accompanied by a *wink wink*. Our regulars know we’ll move heaven and earth to find them a place to sit, and then upgrade their seating as soon as possible — in truth we already have a spot in mind.
Being 5 steps ahead is vital to running a thriving business. You have to anticipate your customer’s every need and consistently surpass their expectations, while being prepared for anything else that can happen within a daily trading environment.
But let’s rewind a few months, or a couple of years for that matter, and gain an understanding of just how simple it really is.
Lay the Groundwork
Once you have selected the best trading location you can get your hands on, and your start-up finances are firmly under control, building a business is very simple. All it requires is relentless focus.
So you’ve made the life-changing decision to open your own espresso bar, café, bistro or restaurant…
What you need to do now is some research.
You have to sit down and start creating a list of things you’re going to do to make people love your business more than the competition. Let’s call this your “Bag of Tricks“. This is where the most difficult part of it all is buried.
This is where you need to grab the bull by the horns.
Implement Your “Bag of Tricks”
Practicing and maintaining your use of this “Bag of Tricks” is what will make or break your business. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, it can turn your offering into a roaring success story.
You need to consistently and persistently implement your “Bag of Tricks”, every second of every single day, without exception. This is the method of winners, and must be instilled in your staff at every single opportunity, but most importantly, you must live it and believe in it yourself to make it sustainable.
Creating and nurturing a highly accommodating culture is pivotal to your brand’s personality. You should strive to create an ambience your customer can practically taste.
Stay True to Your Vision
At all times, the vision and central personality of your business should be consistently reflected by your staff. Your attention to your employees’ morale and performance is critical to the growth of your business.
Regular customers are the lifeblood of the hospitality industry. They are not easily won, but when you win them, your mission is to keep them. One slip is all it takes for them to feel betrayed. They are trusting you with their hard earned money and free time, 2 very precious commodities.
Your customer will only be loyal to you if you and your staff are loyal to them — it’s that simple. When you embrace that and live that, healthy revenue is an inevitable side-effect.
Let’s take the following situation as an example of what I’m talking about.
You’ve just finished serving the 298th customer for the day and you’re feeling more than a little worn to say the least. You’re making the same small-talk with customer number 299, about the weather and life’s small difficulties.
There is only one attitude you can afford in this situation. Customer 299 is NOT your 299th customer, they are your first customer, and they could be your last. They could be a professional blogger, a food critic, or just someone with a big voice who works across the road in an office of 50 staff. Every single person has the power to sing praises about your service, and just as much power to wipe you off the map.
Your single purpose is to make a positive impact on every single one of your customers.
Your One Way Ticket to Revenue Growth
You now have the foundations in place that will help you grow your turnover sustainably and reliably.
Increasing your customer count from 300 to 1000 is a process that happens on its own. Surprised? Allow me to elaborate.
Day by day, minute by minute, you’re instilling a sense of familiarity and ease in your customer. You’re becoming part of their daily routine. Over time, they’ll recommend you to their friends and coworkers.
People already have their own established routines. You often need to break their existing habits in order to include yourself in their daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.
We all want to belong to something. We identify with things surrounding us that bring quality, trust and reliability into our daily lives. When a business is able to show those qualities to its customer, it becomes a worthwhile part of that person’s day.
It is not the newly painted walls that drives people to your business, nor the world class coffee machine standing proudly on top of a high gloss bench. Its all about paying meticulous attention to your customer in every possible way.
It isn’t hard to do. This approach to customer service is as old as the hospitality industry itself. The hard part is doing it every minute, every hour, every day. That’s the only secret.
The greatest mistake people make in business is thinking that their business is about them. Your business is never about you. It’s always, always about your customer.
What do you get out of it? Personal satisfaction, and the financial reward for the effort you put in.
Also published on Medium.