Armed with a Spatula and Smartphone: A day in the Life of a Restaurant Owner
The business side of food is hard work.
You may be able to whip up recipes that everyone loves, but that can never be enough if you’re going to make a business out of it. A lot of planning goes before the opening of a restaurant. From the theme and decoration to determining how much it will cost to execute the business and actually putting work into ensuring that customers don’t just come once. You should be able to deliver awesome social media marketing in de horeca and not just be able to get found in the local streets.
They should enjoy the experience at your restaurant so much that they tell their friends to come try out your scrumptious meals too (word-of-mouth referrals remain the most credible).
Running a restaurant is a huge responsibility, and would be extremely hard to run if you don’t plan to put your full attention on it, especially at the initial stage. Be prepared for long hours of not only coming up with menus and preparations but also with managing staff, customers, and even suppliers.
Don’t run away just yet!
Life is all about taking responsibility for whatever you plan to do with your life. It doesn’t matter if you abandon your dreams of running a restaurant; you’d still have to work just as hard in any other business you switch over to. But if you have the passion then despite the stress that comes with it, you will find fulfillment in ensuring your customers are happy with every bite that disappears off their plate.
Your passion will keep your eyes on the prize. Even when you come across the occasional troublesome customer, or the fries get a little too crispy to be served on that bad day, or your assistant who never remember that cilantro isn’t meant to be used as toppings on a hot dog, even though you had corrected that mistake a thousand times.
Will your head hurt? Will you need to find your happy place more often than before? Will you feel like burying your head in comfort food each day till quite a long time into the business?
The answer is ‘yes’ to all those questions, but every bite that disappears of that plate, whether it’s disposable or made of China, makes it worthwhile.
Social Media plays a great role in today’s business. You can set up a business page easily by cloning your personal Facebook profile into a business page (your friends become your followers automatically!) and put up cool pictures, which is also great for Instagram content.
You have to work hard to give your business whatever exposure you can afford, and with how popular social media is today, it provides you a great audience that you can show off your restaurant to without meeting them one-on-one. The best way to get up in their faces without actually getting up in their faces is to fill your timeline with interesting posts and pictures about your restaurant daily. All it requires is a bit of time, which you could probably squeeze in during short breaks, especially since you may be too tired at the end of the day to remember.
A typical day in the life of a spatula wielder… with social media integration!
You would need to open the restaurant to clean and set up the place before the official time customers would start trooping in. Your opening hours would most likely be determined by the type of meals you intend to serve.
Mornings are the best time to pick out fresh produce. It’s great to a supplier who delivers early enough so you can make the best selection. Try to find a credible supplier – it’s bad enough that you have to be up early; you really don’t want an early morning squabble.
If you plan to serve breakfast meals at your restaurant, then your day will most likely start off earlier. Serving breakfast meals is a great way to draw in workers that need a venue for morning meetings or those who didn’t have time to eat breakfast before leaving home, and for these reasons you will be busiest when it comes to the serving breakfast meals during weekdays. Most of your patrons will not be hanging around because they’ll have to dash off to work after their meals. This means you’d most likely not have time to take pictures of your meals before serving your customers, but you could take pictures of a packed restaurant, or one of the dishes of a group meal while you’re filling up the rest of the plates. Customers that order in groups may be a tad bit more patient than those who order individually.
Your posts should be simple, with a bit of humor if you can handle it. If there are any specials, you could slide it in subtly, like this for example:
Full House… I wish I had an octopus for a waiter to get all these orders across in good time! Everyone seems to want to get a bite of our Monday Special… maybe because it comes with a free cup of coffee!!!
Lunch is one of the best times for business people as well; eating something while relaxing off that tense meeting during their break. The best kind of menu should be something that would be prepared quickly and of course, very tasty.
If you’re the one who manages the restaurant, make sure they see you. Walk by and say hello, ask them if they need anything and let them know about free refills if you offer any. Once the customers get familiar with you, they may even be comfortable with you taking a picture of them, just to put something real on your timeline. Even if you’re the chef behind the scene, you could get your manager to do that. Regardless of who the front-man is, try not to overdo things, so people don’t feel like you’re invading their personal space – they did come to relax before heading back to their various duties, after all.
Since they are in more relaxed moods, you’d most likely have a little time to take pictures of customers’ orders before serving. You could even talk about your refills in your posts:
Have your grilled chicken and fries with some iced coke! We promise you no extra charge when you need a refill!
Evenings would most likely be your busiest time, so the best time to get yourself some time off to rest and prepare for the influx is in the afternoon, while the number of customers that came for lunch is dwindling. Have some food and take a nap if you can, because you’re gonna need all the energy you can muster.
Once you are ready for the evening, let the staff in on the night’s specials, and maybe even wine you are trying to create awareness for. These are things you should also have posted on your social media, with maybe the bottle of wine if possible:
It’s seafood Wednesday! Come by and have our sautéed prawns served with the spiciest dip you’ve ever come across, if you dare!
The latest wine from the juiciest vines in France will be sitting on a bucket of ice waiting for you at a discount price if you would stop by tonight!
Still unsure if it’s worth it? Wait and see how many dishes pile up in the sink and maybe (just maybe) you’d begin to ask yourself why you didn’t decide to wield your spatula earlier.