Food is one of the basic needs of mankind. Hence, well prepared and delicious meals would always attract the hungry if served attractively. Many have culinary gifts but have not been able to explore the business angle to it. One can start from his or her kitchen trying out different delicacies pending when there is exposure to formal catering training for improvement.
In the restaurant/fast food business, apart from the location, there are a number of factors that greatly influence the success or otherwise of the business. How effectively these factors are harnessed could determine the extent of progress recorded. Most businesses are made up of systems meant to work together to create a process that is efficient enough to yield desired outcome or product. The systems are designed to eliminate possible variations thus helping to improve on the quality /standards. Some of these include;
It is essential to consistently offer to the majority of the customers the kind of cuisine or meals that appeal to them. In the food industry, organizations desirous of offering very delicious meals would develop systems around the ingredients used for meal preparation. Their source, processing, storage and cooking methods are all essential. The type of food seasoning or spices employed plays an important role in the eventual outcome. Devoting attention to the way the ingredients are sourced, processed, stored, prepared and cooked helps to guarantee that the food will be fresh and palatable at all time.
A restaurant or fast food should have a measure of product (meal) identity synonymous with them. Mostly derived from the product (meal) they serve or offer. Which stands them out instead of just plain generic meals like every other.
The food must be freshly cooked and kept warm in clean utensils prior to serving. The recipe for each kind of cuisine or meal must be developed to produce very high quality meal products. It must be such as to achieve consistency in taste, flavor and presentation as many times as the meal is prepared in the restaurant. The culinary skills of the proprietor (which might not be exceptional) should not be used as a yardstick or standard for the quality of meals served. Rather, effort should be made to improve or develop recipes through the services of experienced and result-oriented chefs. Spices and ingredients abound from African, Asian and Arabian origin which when added can differentiate the meals distinctly on the taste buds.
Burnt meals, poorly done meat products, salty meals, sour or spoilt meals, poorly prepared and undercooked meals, no matter how well served are just unacceptable and unlikely to attract a repeat purchase.
Services rendered have direct impact on the impression formed by the customer. If your product (meals) or service does not meet customer expectation, you may lose them. And if one consistently fails to give the customer what they want , he has not provided good service and may not have a repeat patronage.
The staff must be neat, polite, cheerful, good natured with good communication skill and be professional in approach to work. Their verbal and body language must not offend customers. To render a great service, you need good hands and they need to be paid reasonably well. Since good hands make fewer mistakes and need less supervision, you get greater efficiency, which leads to greater customer satisfaction. Hiring too cheap a labour force or underpaying one’s staff is counter- productive as you may never get the best from them.
The immediate vicinity of the restaurant should be neat with adequate lighting. The interior should be well- fitted out with appropriate furniture. The floor space should be adequately tiled and the room well ventilated naturally or with an air conditioner. Walls coated professionally with the right paint, ceiling and interior décor properly done.
A cleaner should be assigned to mop or clean the floor periodically to ensure dirt-free vicinity due to human traffic. Left-over meals should not be left on the table long after meals have been eaten. Tables and chairs should be clean and well arranged, free from houseflies and the room space free from smoke emanating from the kitchen area.
The convenience-toilets must be very clean at all times. The state of the toilet directly reveals how much care and attention is devoted to the overall sanitation of the facility. Discerning customers know this truth and would not bother coming back the moment they discover a dirty toilet.
Hence, poor sanitation would certainly affect your patronage, image and confidence in the wholesomeness of food served.
Security should be put in place, this gives peace of mind to customers, helping them relax over their meals. It also spurs them to keep coming back. The common phrase “vehicles parked at owners risk”, is not excusable because businesses ought to secure their Customers’ Vehicles whilst on their premises. The outfit should not portray the image of a “beer parlour”. It should rather be such as to appeal to all individuals.
Music if available should not be too loud, to avoid portraying a negative impression. Which may fail to attract some group of people.
Is very essential for identity and absolutely necessary if multiple locations is being envisaged. The Logo, colour combination, name & signage are all part of it.
Pricing should be competitive with regards to the quality and quantity of meals served. Since food is a daily need, the more reasonably priced, the likelihood of a repeat patronage. A satisfied customer is most likely to keep coming if the total amount spent on meals in a month at a place is still reasonable enough in line with what is budgeted.
By Charles Ochieze