Despite a rocky start, restaurant builds reputation and doubles revenue

The Backstory


This first time business owner wanted to leverage a passion for food and a successful corporate finance career into a new restaurant venture. He envisioned a  friendly, local hangout with exceptional food. His foray into hospitality and entrepreneurship did not start well; a severely delayed opening drained his funds and his first chef did not work out. Given his financial background, the owner had a good handle on the menu and food costs, but was nervous as to whether his money was going to last long enough for the business to grow. By the time he opened, he had no funds available for marketing  and unrealistic expectations about revenue growth.

The Challenges

Without capital reserves or a marketing strategy, the owner was experiencing slow growth. An inexperienced and inadequate service team was underperforming and average checks were hovering  at the low end at around $20. Lack of funds and business also forced the owner to close for lunch two days each week.

The Plan

We helped the owner learn to maximize every opportunity, understanding that each customer was an opportunity for an upsell or repeat business and each lead was a potential customer. That meant creating a sales culture as well as an overall new business development plan. Due to financial struggles, we had little or no budget for this undertaking.

Our plan was to:
     Increase average check through sales training and price increases
     Focus on improving sales during specific days and day parts, including:  
            Wine Down Wednesdays  
            Bounceback cross promotion of lunch and dinner to existing customers  
            Promote large group lunches to community organizations for off days
    Build bar crowd 
        Take advantage of large bar seating by creating and promoting Artisan cocktails
    Create a more inviting atmosphere  
            Improve lighting
    Internal promotion/management
            Create daily journal to track sales/events/weather   
            Table tent program
              Loyalty program/email capture
    Create annual marketing/promotional plan

The Results

Over a period of four months: 
    Monthly revenues more than doubled from month 1 to month 4. 
    Average check increased by 47%
    Lunch/dinner bouncebacks enjoyed  a 14% redemption rate 
    Grew wine sales on Wednesday by over 200% on Wine Down Wednesdays
    Customer service training resulted in tip outs (based on charge card receipts)
increasing  to an average of nearly 18%
    New lunch groups booked and restaurant now opened 6 days/week for lunch