FSR Magazine reports that 60 percent of restaurants fail within their first year and 80 percent fail to survive beyond five years. (And, of course, Covid-19 in 2020 didn’t do any favors.
Most people working in the restaurant industry won’t be surprised by these statistics. Although they know the odds don’t always favor them, restaurateurs persevere because they are passionate about what they do.
Even the most experienced restaurateur can still benefit from the guidance of a consultant or restaurant manager. Restaurant consulting services are valuable for anyone looking to open a restaurant, or revamp an existing one. They can offer invaluable insights and guidance that will help you stand out, delight customers, and avoid costly mistakes.
Here are four things you need to know about restaurant consultants so that you can make an informed decision on whether this is the right choice for you.
What is a restaurant consultant?
You can hire a restaurant consultant to help run your business more efficiently and profitably. They can work independently or in a team. They might be hired to address specific problems or challenges in your business. They can also provide general guidance on your business operations, finances, and employees with the aim of helping you achieve sustainable growth and success.
Any of the following services can be offered to restaurant consultants:
- Design branding and concept
- Accounting and financial planning
- Pricing and menu development
- Efficiency in staff training and hiring
- Choose the right location and property for your restaurant
- Assistance in franchising
A restaurant consultant is a must-have.
A restaurant consultant can be a valuable resource for both novices and veterans.
A consultant is available to help owners and operators who are starting a new restaurant, especially those who have never opened one before. This could include creating a brand, developing a concept, hiring staff, and selecting technology.
Consultants can help restaurateurs run a restaurant to find areas they can optimize or fix problems. A consultant can help restaurateurs who are struggling with high turnover to assess their hiring processes and workplace culture and make sure they attract and retain the best talent, and keep them competitive with other restaurants. Consulting can help you automate your operations, reduce costs, and run more effective marketing campaigns.
What are the expectations of a restaurant consultant?
A restaurant consultant will spend time watching your restaurant’s day, front and back, if you have an established restaurant. The restaurant consultant can also get a sense of your current operations by tasting your menu and talking with customers, servers, bartenders, staff, and hosts.
The consultant will then make suggestions based on your specific needs, including changes to your menu, interior design and brand, concept, spending, customer service, and kitchen operations. The consultant will work with you to create and implement a plan. This could include major changes such as rebranding, moving/adding new locations, or retraining employees, implementing new technology, or cleaning up financials. Depending on your engagement structure, a consultant might simply make recommendations and pass them on to your team. Or they may implement those recommendations and ensure that they are successful.
It’s a good idea to hire a consultant early on in the process if you plan to open a restaurant. Your consultant will talk with you about your ideas, help you create a plan and brainstorm new ways to implement them. They’ll also check in periodically as you open the restaurant. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, your consultant will likely visit you after your establishment is open.
What is the cost of a restaurant consultant?
The fee scale determines how much a restaurant consultant will cost. You have a few choices.
Monthly, hourly, or daily retainer
It all depends on your experience and where you live, but restaurant consulting fees range from $250-1000 per day or $40-$120 an hour if done on site. If it’s more convenient, you can negotiate a monthly retainer fee.
Goal- or project-based
Restaurant consultants may charge by the project or according to your goals. The restaurant consultant can be asked to include in their proposal the estimated time and hourly rate for the project. A clause will then be added that the consultant will be paid per hour or per day if the project takes longer than expected.
It is common for out-of-pocket expenses and travel expenses to be separately billed and should be included in your proposal.
Use your time efficiently as a restaurant consultant
You are paying for the time of your consultant. You should give your consultant as much detail as possible from the beginning. This will ensure that you don’t have to spend time redoing steps to get your desired result.