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While many restaurants have improved service in the front of establishment using new point of sale (POS) solutions, the process of getting orders to the kitchen is still very old fashioned. If your wait staff is still handing written tickets through a window or attaching them to a wheel, you’ve left yourself open to costly mistakes and inefficiencies.

By replacing these manual order processing systems with a modern kitchen display system, you can improve accuracy, boost productivity, and increase customer satisfaction at your restaurant. Kitchen display systems can be integrated with your POS terminal, so orders are immediately displayed on monitors in the kitchen. The kitchen staff can scroll through orders using a bump bar and a controller, and orders can be sorted by station or location, and then prioritized based on custom criteria (timestamps, destination, etc.). This streamlines kitchen processes by eliminating unreadable tickets or lost printouts. Orders are more accurate and more efficiently distributed to the right prep station at the right time. The system can also issue visible and audible alerts if a meal hasn’t been prepared within the correct time frame or if part of an order is missing.

Improve Customer Service

Kitchen display systems can be pre-loaded with all of your menu information, so that kitchen staff can see everything they need to know about each order (including all of the ingredients and meal prep instructions). All of the tickets are fully visible on a large screen in one central location. If there are changes to an order, that information is communicated to the kitchen quickly so that the staff can quickly adjust before the food reaches the customer. This level of accuracy improves customer service, minimizes food waste, and makes life easier on wait staff and kitchen staff alike.

A kitchen display system can also be configured to monitor ingredient inventory levels based on order volume. Alerts can then be issued in real-time when supplies should be re-ordered.

With a full view of all orders, cooks and chefs can more effectively prep and then prepare meals. Different parts of each order can even be routed to specific stations in the kitchen, which further increases efficiency. Once the order is complete, the orders can then be sent by destination, ensuring that every customer gets an accurate order in a timely fashion.

Kitchen display systems also make it easier to adjust order priorities dynamically. If additional customers join a table that has already placed an order, those new orders can be prioritized and moved up in the queue so that everyone at the table gets their meal at the same time. That’s because these solutions allow staff to easily move and reprioritize orders.

A Time-Saving, More Efficient Kitchen

If an order is at risk of falling behind an acceptable preparation time, part of that order can be shifted to a different station. The display can also be customized so that order details or status can be easily distinguished using colors, fonts, or other formatting.

The impact on kitchen efficiency can be dramatic. By making it easier to manage orders, restaurants can absorb an increase in traffic without having to expand the kitchen staff.

Using a kitchen display system integrated with your POS can improve ticket times, volumes, and accuracy, while also boosting the efficiency of wait staff and kitchen staff. It also eliminates the need for expensive printers, as well as reliance on inefficient manual processes that require written tickets and calling out orders.

A more accurate and productive kitchen improves customer satisfaction and makes it easier to boost ticket volume with less staff. For more information about how kitchen display systems can benefit your restaurant, click here.

It seems like loyalty programs are everywhere, from the gas station to the grocery store, and most larger chain restaurants offer some sort of loyalty or points-based programs, as well as sell gift cards. Smaller chains and independent businesses are eyeing their own restaurant loyalty programs  and gift card offerings, but may be unsure how to begin or if there are any benefits.

The Ease of Beginning Loyalty and Gift Card Programs

The costs to begin loyalty and gift card programs are relatively low. Many merchant banks offer gift card programs at minimal or no cost in order to gain or keep your credit card business, and these solutions are increasingly simple to deploy. For example, Restaurant Service Solutions (RSS) POS software makes it easy to offer gift cards, track balances, and redeem points at the point of sale. The solution makes it possible to issue cards for single-unit and multi-unit chains and even convert in-house or third-party cards. By integrating the restaurant’s POS system and merchant account, restaurants can offer multiple payment options as well as gift and loyalty cards.

Benefits of Loyalty and Gift Card Programs

Below are four ways that restaurant loyalty programs and gift cards can boost your profits:

Increased loyalty leads to more sales. A study by consulting firm Loyalogy found that consumers estimate restaurant loyalty programs could increase their visit rate to a restaurant by 35 percent. In addition, a survey by the National Restaurant Association found that six out of ten Americans said they would like to receive a restaurant gift card as a gift. Gift cards  encourage visits by new customers, and possibly help bring in more potential repeat customers.

Loyalty programs help create targeted promotions. Targeted promotions can increase response rates. Rather than simply offering generic promotions to all customers, the data generated via a loyalty card can allow you to see exactly what your customers are purchasing and then tailor a promotion based on their preferences. The promotion can be built around specific items (a favorite dessert or wine, for example) or even provide “experience” promotions, like private dining offers or special events.

These promotions can be designed to increase traffic during slow periods and boost same-day sales. A mobile marketing component tied to the loyalty card can improve response rates even more.

Loyalty and gift cards increase revenue. In most cases, customers using a gift card will spend in excess of the amount on the card because they are less price sensitive, so you get follow-on revenue beyond the face value of the card. In fact, a 2010 study by First Data found that 72 percent  of gift card shoppers spent more than the original card value upon redemption.

Higher value cards, meanwhile, encourage additional visits. Card recipients typically bring other diners with them when they redeem the cards, which can also provide additional revenue tied to the card. And selling gift cards ensure that you are visited by at least two customers per card — the one buying the card and the recipient.

Restaurant loyalty programs also boost sales. Using a point-based rewards program will encourage additional purchases as customers try to accrue points with each visit. They may increase individual purchases if it means receiving a comp offer, such as a free dessert or beverage.

Loyalty/gift card programs help you compete. For smaller restaurants, the availability of gift cards allows them to compete with national chains during the holidays. By making it possible to purchase the cards online, you can even encourage out of towners to buy cards for their friends from afar. Gift cards are also a great way to get a new customer referral that is tied to guaranteed revenue.

Implementing a restaurant loyalty program and offering gift cards can provide new revenue streams and encourage your customers to keep coming back more often (and spending more while they are there). It’s now easier and less expensive than ever to develop these programs — the time is right for taking this step toward increased profitability.

POS Buyers GuideNothing lasts forever, including your point of sale (POS) hardware. But with proper POS maintenance, you can extend the life of your systems and avoid costly and frustrating downtime.

In a restaurant environment, the terminals, touchscreens, and printers you rely on for customer transactions run for hours on end while exposed to heat, moisture, dirt, and grease. That can greatly reduce their lifecycle. Below are some important steps to take to extend the life of your POS system:

  • Invest in a POS maintenance and service package. Your vendor, integrator, or reseller likely offers various levels of remote and on-site service, including help desk, depot repair, on-site repair, or advanced exchange programs, as well as remote login to give the vendor online access to the system to troubleshoot and fix problems. For example, RSS offers an advanced exchange service so that if a restaurant’s POS system is down, they can request and receive replacement hardware the next day. RSS even offers a similar program for headset repair. While many restaurants view headsets as disposable, over time the cost of discarding damaged headsets can quickly add up. RSS provides free inbound shipping, with options for repair, replacement, or reconditioning the headsets. There’s also a Headset Care Plan that provides unlimited repairs for a monthly fee.
  • Spot check the hardware. Have staff in each area of the restaurant check the printers for paper, and make sure the POS terminals or kitchen printers are working and inspect them for any damage. You should also test the printers and credit card systems prior to each shift so that you aren’t caught by surprise later if something has gone wrong. Repeat these POS maintenance inspections at the end of each shift as well.
  • Clean the equipment. Restaurants are messy places for computer hardware. Touchscreens can be cleaned with a cloth that has been sprayed with ammonia-free glass cleaner (don’t’ spray it directly on the screen), while the exterior of the printers and terminals can be cleaned with a soft cloth.
  • Arrange professional inspections. At least once a year, have a trained technician inspect the hardware. Your vendor or reseller can provide these services, some times as part of a larger POS maintenance package.
  • Restart the system periodically. You don’t have to shut everything down every night, but periodically restarting the POS system can help clear bugs and glitches.
  • Know the lifecycle of the hardware. Find out what the expected lifecycle of the terminals, card readers, and printers should be and perform an evaluation to see what needs replaced once you reach the end of those time periods. Equipment in the kitchen, in particular, will experience a lot more wear and tear than other POS hardware.
  • Keep the system updated with the latest software and firmware. This is especially critical for payment systems, since you have to ensure PCI compliance and keep security patches up to date to avoid breaches. Again, this can be rolled into a POS maintenance agreement with your vendor or reseller.

For restaurants, having a POS system go down can be a disaster, which means you need immediate service. Getting an on-site technician at the last minute is expensive and inconvenient. Regular POS maintenance is critical for ensuring system uptime.

Make POS maintenance a priority, and you will reap the benefits of lower repair costs and fewer system outages.

POS Buyers Guide

POS Buyers GuideManaging a restaurant is a challenging task, which is becoming even more difficult as the market becomes more competitive. Restaurant managers are ultimately responsible for marketing, customer relations, staffing, accounting, and just about any other function you can name. Keeping a restaurant running smoothly — and profitably — requires a host of different skills.

But there are techniques and tools that can make the job just a little easier. Here are five tips for managing a restaurant that can improve your chances for success:

1. Keep an Eye on Cash Flow

When considering how to manage a restaurant, cash flow will be a prime concern. It is critical for ensuring you can meet payroll and pay the bills, but it can be difficult to manage in a busy restaurant. Your point of sale (POS) solution can help you by automatically tracking sales, inventory (based on order volume), and profitability, as well as providing insight into the popularity of menu items. The data generated by the POS can also help you better manage payroll, identify potential staffing level improvements, and gauge the effectiveness of promotions.

2. Train Your Employees

Successfully managing a restaurant requires visibility into staff performance. Outline your expectations for the entire staff, and then make sure you take the time to train them to meet those expectations. Walk the floor and monitor their performance. Praise them when they earn it, and (discretely) correct them when necessary. Have regular employee reviews and team meetings to keep everyone up to speed and to provide coaching or training on new procedures.

3. Invest in Customer Convenience

Eliminate obstacles between your restaurant and your customer (and their money). Invest in a modern POS solution that allows you take a variety of forms of payment, including new PIN and chip cards and phone-based systems like Apple Pay. Your POS solution can also make it easier for you to offer coupons, loyalty cards, and gift cards that can help keep your customers coming back. If you take reservations, let customers request them online or using a mobile app.

4. Communicate Constantly

Succeeding at how to manage a restaurant also requires a significant amount of people skills. Customers, obviously, appreciate it when the manager takes a moment to greet them, ask them about their experience, and make them feel special.

But talking to employees is just as important. Hold regular meetings and give credit to top performers. If there’s a problem, make sure everyone is aware of their role in helping to solve it, and what the ramifications are for the business (and their compensation) if the problem goes unsolved. Make sure employees are comfortable bringing complaints or suggestions to you.

5. Embrace New Technology

Margins in food service are razor thin, so anything you can do to improve efficiency and accuracy are critical. Managing a restaurant is difficult enough without relying on manual processes. There are plenty of software tools available that make it easier to manage your restaurant, and also make it easier for your staff to provide great service. Use technology to track and manage your inventory and alert you when it’s time to place an order with a supplier.

A kitchen video system/display system can improve order accuracy and make the kitchen more productive. Upgraded POS systems can lower your costs, while mobile tablets or handheld devices can help your servers improve their speed and accuracy.

The answer to the question of how to manage a restaurant is never going to be cut and dry, but deploying the right technology and keeping lines of communication open with staff and customers will ensure that managers have the information they need to keep customers happy and make critical business decisions.

POS Buyers Guide

POS Buyers GuideThe mobile point of sale (POS) system market is exploding, with analyst firm 451 Research predicting the global installed base of mobile POS devices will increase by 400 percent, growing from 13 million units in 2015 to 54 million units in 2019. These solutions have been installed in plenty of restaurants, but are they the right fit for your business?

If you have limited space or your restaurant is frequently crowded, a mobile POS system can help expand your checkout capabilities without eating up valuable floor space. These solutions can also increase efficiency and make it easier for your wait staff to do their jobs.

If you are contemplating a mobile POS solution, consider the potential benefits:

Efficiency: Having POS capabilities that travel with the wait staff can reduce lines and bottlenecks at the register, and staff can even check out multiple customers at once.

Employees can accept payment and access information from the table without traveling back and forth to the register or the kitchen. If customers have questions about the menu, staff can look up important information about ingredients, food allergies, or preparation techniques that might affect which dishes they purchase.

Accuracy: With mobile POS there are no more scribbled tickets. Customers can be assured that their orders were taken and accurately communicated to the kitchen right from the point of ordering. That reduces confusion and food waste in the kitchen, as well.

Faster Service: These solutions can speed preparation times by allowing staff to send order tickets directly to printers in the kitchen. This improves ordering efficiency because your wait staff no longer has to take hand-written tickets to the kitchen or retype information into fixed workstations. Because they aren’t walking to the kitchen as frequently, wait staff also have more time to service their tables.

Flexibility: With mobility, you can easily establish payment stations on patios, at catered events, or at a pop-up takeout station. You can also more easily shift the layout of your facility if the POS station isn’t fixed. Mobile POS systems can also be configured to work offline or using an alternate router so that you can keep accepting payment even there is a network failure.

Security: Wait staff wont’ have to leave customers’ tables with their credit cards, reducing the possibility of theft or fraud. Staff can easily split bills on the tablet at the table, accept payment, obtain signatures on the device, and generate printed or e-mailed receipts quickly and efficiently, all in front of the customer.

Morale: Staff will be happier because can do their jobs more effectively. In some cases, these solutions allow guests to choose from a list of suggested tip percentages, which can increase the frequency and amount of tips.

All of these improvements will result in improved customer service, happier diners, and, potentially, more revenue. Mobile POS is a cost-effective and appealing alternative to traditional systems, particularly for new restaurants that are trying to save start-up costs. Even if you plan to maintain your current POS solution, adding mobile capabilities can provide significant improvements for your staff and customers.

POS Buyers Guide

POS Buyers GuideNew restaurants, or existing ones that are looking to upgrade their point of sale (POS) infrastructure, may be tempted to implement free POS solutions that are offered by a number of vendors. In some cases, these solutions are offered by online developers, payment processing vendors, or POS hardware vendors. At first glance, these systems might seem like a good idea for a cash-strapped restaurant.

But just how “free” is that free restaurant software? As it turns out, there are a number of hidden costs and disadvantages to these solutions. Here are a few potential drawbacks:

Vendor Lock-In: First, if you deploy free restaurant software from a cash register or payment processing vendor, the solution is directly tied to your relationship with that vendor. If you want to switch hardware or payment processors in the future, you’ll have to scrap the entire solution. Being tied to the same vendor for years can prevent you from finding better processing rates or more up-to-date hardware.

Hidden Fees: While the initial deployment of the base software may be free, more advanced features often come at a price. The vendor may require you to pay for reporting, enhancements, or other important functionality. There may also be installation, training, or update costs.

The price of the software may also be wrapped up in the processing fee or hardware costs, which increases the cost of the entire system without adding much benefit. In many cases, purchasing the software separately from the hardware or payment services may be less expensive in the long run.

No Customization: These free restaurant software products are designed for the broadest possible universe of POS customers, and may not include features that are important to restaurants. If there are specific features or functions you need altered to fit your business, you’ll have no way to get the software vendor to implement them. With a traditional deployment of purchased software, the vendor will usually work with you to fit the software to your business.

Lack of Support: Paying for POS software usually gets you some level of software support. End users can contact the vendor for troubleshooting, tweaks, and other support issues. Updates and patches are also typically included with the purchase. Free restaurant software, however, may not include that level of support. If you have installed a system from a vendor that isn’t primarily in the business of selling POS software (like a payment processor), then support may not even be a priority at all. Alternatively, the vendor may only offer support via an overpriced service contract.

There are low-cost, easy-to-deploy alternatives to “free” restaurant software that can still provide cost savings over more expensive, on-premises solutions that require an investment in servers, as well as lengthy implementations. Hosted or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems have been adopted in a number of markets, and there are now Point-of-Sale-as-a-Service (POSaaS) options. For example, Restaurant Service Solutions (RSS) offers companies in the hospitality industry a POSaaS system that is licensed on a subscription basis.

This licensing model offers new or growing restaurants a way to implement the solution without the upfront expense of traditional software. For new businesses with limited budgets, POSaaS provides a way to quickly get up and running with a robust POS solution. For expanding restaurants, a hosted solution can help replace outdated POS or cash register solutions with minimal disruptions and budget impact.

When it comes to POS software, free restaurant software often isn’t so free once you take stock of the poor performance, limited functionality, and lack of support. By “renting” the software via an SaaS model, restaurants can save money while still enjoying the benefits of a fully functional POS suite, complete with updates and support.

POS Buyers Guide

The new address for the Louisville office is 2680 Technology Drive, Louisville, Kentucky, 40299

Louisville, KY – June 1, 2016 – Restaurant Service Solutions (RSS), a leading provider of restaurant point of sale and technology solutions, has announced the relocation of their corporate office in Louisville, Kentucky.

Founded in 2003, RSS has experienced tremendous growth over the past 13 years and made the decision to relocate in order to better serve customers. The new location, located at 2680 Technology Drive, Louisville, Kentucky, is more spacious and modern and will allow RSS to more efficiently deploy and repair restaurant POS solutions.

“Service has always been a core focus at RSS, and this new location is ideal for our current operational needs, as well as for the growth we expect in the coming years,” said Mark Love, President and CEO at Restaurant Service Solutions. “We have expanded our business to include a POS rental program, and we are continuing to push the restaurant industry forward by offering customers innovative solutions that are designed to drive growth. This move is just one step of a larger plan we have been building toward since our inception.”

The main purpose of this move is to better provide for existing and future RSS customers. The new facility will allow the company to enact more efficient business processes, handle a greater number of equipment repair requests, and research more cutting-edge features for their point of sale solutions.

As of this date, Restaurant Service Solutions requires all repair and invoicing requests to be routed through the new location at 2680 Technology Drive, Louisville, Kentucky, 40299.

To learn more about RSS and their restaurant point of sale solutions, visit

About Restaurant Service Solutions

Founded in 2003, Restaurant Service Solutions is a leading, nationwide provider of restaurant POS and technology solutions. With a focus on quick service, fast food and fast casual restaurants, RSS specializes in delivering complete quick service POS systems, including hardware, software, training, and installation. Decades of knowledge and expertise in the restaurant industry, combined with partnerships with industry-leading hardware and software providers, have made Restaurant Service Solutions’ POS offering the most complete solution you’ll find on the market. For more information, visit

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With up to 70 percent your fast food restaurant business taking place at the drive-thru, this is definitely an area that deserves your attention. Your customers choose the drive-thru for convenience and expect the quickest, most accurate service possible, and technology can help you deliver. Here are five ways tech solutions can enhance fast food drive-thru service and boost efficiency and accuracy:

1. Presell and menu boards. When customers pull into a fast food drive-thru, the first thing they do it look for a menu board. Consider a presell board ahead of the speaker where they can look at the menu while they wait in line. This can get customers ready to make their order when they pull up to the speaker — shaving time off the ordering process. Presell and menu boards should be easy to read and easy to understand. Images and large font sizes can help drivers and their passengers see choices at a distance. Also, make sure the boards are easy to read in direct sunlight as well as at night and that menu items and pricing are up to date. Using digital signage integrated with your POS system allows you to update them instantly and keep the content of the boards fresh.

2. Wireless headsets and high quality speakers. Good communication between the customer and your staff is critical to order accuracy — and to a positive customer experience. Use high-quality speakers and make sure they are in good condition, are installed for optimal performance, and are positioned as close to the driver’s window as possible. Wireless headsets enable your employees to communicate with customers without being tethered to a workstation. In addition, because your employees hear the order, they can begin filling it immediately after the order it taken, which saves time.

3. Order confirmation boards. The accuracy of fast food drive-thru orders is important — even more so than at the counter inside the restaurant. Once a customer pulls away from a fast food drive-thru, errors are more difficult to correct. Order confirmation boards allow your customers to review their orders and make corrections before they are sent to the kitchen, and they also eliminate the need to read the order back to the customer, saving time for your staff. With order confirmation boards, orders are more accurate, the process is quicker, and customers have a higher degree of satisfaction.

4. Drive-thru timers. Using drive-thru timers can have a number of benefits for a fast food drive-thru. The timers give immediate feedback to your staff, providing a reminder of their accountability to meet benchmarks for service time. Drive-thru timers also provide managers with reports on how the drive-thru is performing over time which can be used to assess staff performance or to pinpoint challenges and correct them. This information can be used for staffing — you will be able to schedule your strongest employees during your busiest times — or to compare with customer service surveys to correlate service times with accuracy and customer satisfaction.

5. Mobile payment. With mobile and in-app payment becoming more prevalent, it’s also important to consider the forms of payment you accept at the drive-thru window. Many fast food restaurants accept credit or debit cards at the drive-thru, but customers in the near future may want to use their smartphones to make mobile wallet payments or to pay through your restaurant’s app. Accepting mobile payments will decrease transaction time and, possibly, boost sales since customers won’t be limited to spending only the cash in their pockets.

Drive-thrus are all about speed and accuracy — and technology solutions can help you achieve those goals. Evaluate your fast food drive-thru’s performance and consider how technology solutions — such as digital signage, wireless headsets, order confirmation boards, drive-thru timers, and mobile payment solutions — can make a difference in your operations.

Opening a Restaurant E-bookDepending on your personality, your managerial style, and your business goals, a franchise may be the perfect choice for your new restaurant — or it may be the wrong decision. Here are the pros and cons of buying a franchise restaurant related to four considerations every new restauranteur needs to consider. 

Concept and Brand

To be successful as a restauranteur, you must develop a concept for your restaurant based on your target customers, the experience you will offer them, the menu, operating procedures, and standards for customer relations. You must also establish your brand — which is more than a just a logo; it is how customers and prospective customers identify you and understand what differentiates you among your competitors.

Pros: Franchisors have a proven concept and an established brand. The risk associated with an untried concept is removed, and the day you buy a franchise restaurant, customers will already recognize and have familiarity with the brand.

Cons: You lack creative control to make changes to the concept or the brand. Your business investment is in someone else’s ideas and vision, not yours.

The Time from Decision to Grand Opening

Once you decide to open a new restaurant, you need to find and acquire your location, renovate to reflect your concept and to comply with code requirements, install necessary equipment and technology, and stock your shelves with supplies and ingredients. This is not only an investment of money, but also of time if you need to research suppliers and the right products for your establishment.

Pros: Much of the research into what is needed to open your franchise has been done for you. When buying a franchise restaurant, you get a “turn-key restaurant solution.” Franchisors create repeatable processes that guarantee results — including how to open the restaurant. You can use their experience to successfully get to your grand opening more quickly. Also, many franchisors have negotiated deals with suppliers based on purchases their large numbers of franchises represent. This buying power is passed on to you.

Cons: Your success as a franchisee will be rooted in how you follow the established, proven processes — you won’t be able to deviate from franchise guidelines. In addition, you may be limited to dealing only with certain suppliers.

Capital Investment in Your New Business

Whether you open an independent restaurant or a buy a franchise restaurant, it will take a significant capital investment to get the project started. There will be many expenses related to acquiring a location, construction or renovation, equipment, stock and supplies, and labor before you serve your first guest. 

Pros: Some franchisors have relationships with lenders who can help you finance your business.  

Cons: Franchise fees can be significant — often more than it would cost for you to start your own business. You may also need to budget for royalty, marketing and advertising fees throughout your time as a franchisee.

Exit Strategy

Even though you are considering a new business, it’s wise to give thought up front to your exit strategy. A successful independent business can be attractive to potential buyers, but the pool of potential buyers interested in your restaurant may be small.

Pros: When you buy a franchise restaurant, your contract may include provisions for the franchisor to buy your franchise back when you are ready to sell.

Cons: If, for some reason, you want to close your business before the end of your contract, you may still have financial obligations. Make sure you thoroughly understand your agreement.

As you make your own list of pros and cons, whether to choose a franchise or an independent restaurant for your new business venture will become more apparent. Carefully considering your options can help ensure your investment of time and money will be the right one — with the best return — for you.

Opening a Restaurant E-book

If you are planning on opening a restaurant, you probably have a long list of decisions that have to be made and tasks you need to complete — even before the final decision to move forward with the project. On your lengthy to-do list, however, there are six things that you can’t bypass to ensure you get off to a good start and give you the best chance of creating a sustainable business. 

1. Market Research. You need to thoroughly understand who your target market is before you can plan how best to serve them. A valuable exercise is to create a profile of your ideal customer. Include descriptors such as how old he or she is, how much money they make in a year, personality traits, their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, and their values. When you think about your restaurant, its atmosphere, and how to market it, do it with this persona in mind.

You should also investigate your competition and what they offer. Opening a restaurant similar to an established one might make it hard for your business to grow.   One of the best ways to conduct market research is to get feedback on your ideas: compile a packet of information on your proposed restaurant that includes the menu, prices, location, and a description of your concept. Give it to 100 people, with at least 15 of them from outside your target demographic. This gives you the chance to get unbiased opinions — and not rely only on opinions from supportive family and friends.

2. Differentiators. Your restaurant should stand out from your competition in ways that your customers perceive as valuable. Think about your target market and the customer profile you developed. What do they value? Will your restaurant address this with quiet, intimate seating for couples, games and activities for families, or a sports theme with large television screens? Make your customers the focus of your concept and create an experience they will value and enjoy.

It’s worth noting that a change in concept can be costly. It’s better to get this right when opening a restaurant rather than reinventing this later.

Interested in learning more? Download our FREE e-book: 6 Things to Consider When Opening a Restaurant

Opening a Restaurant E-book

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