Most restaurant owners will reach out to a restaurant consultant at some point in their restaurant’s lives.
Some will understand the enormous wealth of experience that a restaurant consultant can bring right at the very beginning of their restaurant’s journey, giving themselves the best chance of success.
Others might risk it alone in a make-or-break restaurant industry or wait for trouble to strike and then try and problem-fix by enlisting the services of a restaurant consultant.
What is certain is that a restaurant, like any business, to succeed requires a team of experts with an incredibly diverse set of skills. It is impossible for any restaurant owner, however experienced, to have a firm and updated grasp on every single aspect of restaurant management including strategy, revenue models, operations, branding, marketing and sales.
Restaurant consultants can really help to plug knowledge and expertise gaps, so that restaurant owners, like yourself, are able to give their businesses the right foundations for success – and accelerate growth. It is, however, critical to know what to look for in a restaurant consultant, so you choose a team who can fast track the growth of your restaurant.
Here are seven things you should look for when choosing a restaurant consultant to help your business:
Entrepreneurial & Successful
Entrepreneurial experience from any consultant or consultancy is like gold dust. Someone who has had the experience of building their own company or business will be able to understand first hand the principles of success and be able to apply this to your restaurant.
They will not only be able to come up with real solutions from experience – they will also be more inclined to challenge your thoughts, rather than just blindly project manage, so that the very best and most effective solutions are found for your restaurant’s challenges. This does not necessarily have to be someone who has owned a restaurant, just someone who has some form of entrepreneurial passion and personal experience.
Challenges Your Vision
Choose a restaurant consultant that can listen to your vision, but who has the courage to step back and critique it / mould it so that it can become commercially viable. A good restaurant consultant should be a strategy and ideas person, one who can use their entrepreneurial experience and enthusiasm to understand where you want to go and in fact, ADD to that vision, to make it bigger and better than what you might have even had in mind yourself.
Cross Industry & Sector Experience
Work with a restaurant consultant that has worked with a diversity of clients – both across restaurants and food concepts (from fine dining to grab and go) but also ideally, someone who has worked with other industries. This is rare to find and doesn’t occur to most restaurateurs, but the benefit is that they will have learned valuable cross sector lessons and bring to you a completely unique perspective that someone from a pure restaurant background will not have.
A Multitude Of Skills
Choose restaurant consultants that have a multitude of skills and who can see the bigger picture of your business. They should be able to help you exactly the area you think you need help with, but are also multi-disciplinary and so in a position to see how strategy, brand, operations, financials and marketing interconnect and add enormous amounts of value across the whole business.
A company that has a team of experts on board, will have more experts to draw experience and expertise from than a one-man consultant.
Proven Track Record
Choose a restaurant consultant that has the expertise and proven track record in exactly the area you need help with, to complement your own strengths. So if you are more confident on the operations side of things – but are clueless to the subtleties of restaurant brand building and marketing – make sure your consultant has these strengths in abundance.
Knowledge & Contacts To Share
Great restaurant consultants are eternal students; they keep an eye out for innovation in products and services in the restaurant space but are also a source for new ideas that they can bring to their clients. They are also extensively networked and can bring to your restaurant a range of vetted companies from tableware to interior designers, accountants and technology providers.
Strategic & Professional
A good restaurant consultancy will know your business inside out, feel passionate about taking it forward and have solid business skills. They will be working with you on a plan with actionable steps and deadlines. They will not be treating the interaction as a relaxed exchange of ideas.