How to save a failing restaurant

Even restaurants with good food and service go out of business. This might sound ridiculous but it’s actually true. I have no plans of delivering an essay about the steps you can take to prevent your restaurant from falling into the list of failed restaurants. So, I’m going to attempt to keep this article as short as possible in order to talk about all of the steps without making you doze off. Let’s dive right in.


How to save a failing



Review food cost

Food and beverages are the main contributors of profit in a restaurant business. But having an overpriced menu item might break your restaurant.

Conduct a proper competitor analysis and review your food costs to make sure that you are not charging too much.

During my college days, I kept track of the best dishes available in the locality of my college and the restaurants which offered a better deal without compromising the quality of food. Same is the case with customers, no one likes to get charged more for the same service offered.


Employee management

Properly trained staffs are the lifeblood of your restaurant. It is impossible to manage the restaurant on your own without loyal employees. Paying them fairly, providing meaningful feedback in a constructive manner, and making them feel valued will make them happy and hard working.

Don’t trust your staffs blindly. Place security cameras strategically to monitor if your employees are stealing anything  or taking advantage of free food and beverages and also install a biometric fingerprint time clock in your restaurant to keep track of their activities. Also, consider firing any extra staffs that you have in your restaurant.


Act of kindness

Offering free dessert for a well-behaved child and providing special discounts or offering extra portions for a customer’s favorite dish once in a while will make them coming back for more and spending more on other menu items.

If a customer’s card gets declined, respect them as an individual and always be willing to take the blame to avoid embarrassment by using the phrase, “We are having trouble with our machines and the card would not go through”.


Online reviews

The best way to find out why your restaurant sales are declining is to read online reviews as they are the greatest source of honest feedback.

Respond to reviews as soon as possible. Tackle negative reviews by showing interest in the problem and always remembering the golden rule of customer management, “The customer is always right”. Try to find out what went wrong and work together to reach a compensation for the inconvenience caused.


Social Media

Use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram etc to promote menu items by posting drool-inducing images of cuisines and also use it as a medium to attract customers by offering special offers, this might skyrocket your sales if you succeed in building a fan base. All of this matters only if you are providing delicious food, and a pleasant, relaxed eating and social environment for your customers to enjoy their food.


Turn tables quickly

Every customer that walks out of the door during rush hours is a loss in revenue. Based on the type of your restaurant you should concentrate on either increasing the average check size per table or increasing the table turn time. Make sure that your customers get seated and waited on as quickly as possible. Consider training your staffs to manage tables faster or invest in a restaurant management software to increase the table turnaround time.

Take special care to never rush customers, but if a customer is causing a loss to your business by sitting there for a long time even after finishing their course, politely offer them a free drink at the bar (If you consider that as a good practice).

If you are planning to be evil, you can also offer free refills that taste bad, and install an uncomfortable seating.


Nonessential assets

Handover nonessential assets that are on lease like the surplus fridge, ice making machine, utility vehicle etc that is lying around without any use.



If your budget allows, consider updating the décor and focus on music, lighting, and aroma to provide a pleasant, relaxed eating and social environment to make your restaurant warm and inviting.

Research from the University of South Wales showed that subjects spent more in restaurants with upbeat music. Depressing songs led to less spending, but the worst results happened when there was no music at all.


Update Menu

I’m bad at storytelling but I’ll try my best to not doze you off. It goes like this, “Neo was a chubby little boy who happens to be  a foodie, with the dreams of having impeccable chicken cuisines he went to a wedding along with his brother Morpheus. With high hopes, he went straight to the catering area without even waiting for his brother. After reaching there, he realized that all that was offered was vegetarian food. His eyes were filled with tears, and they were not tears of joy”.

Now, you might be wondering what does it has to do with this article. Well, I’m getting into that. Conduct a proper study before designing your menu, to ensure that the dishes that you are planning to offer for the area in which your restaurant operates is right for the potential customers of that particular area (Neo in the above case).

Also, consider bringing in experts in hospitality to provide feedback on how to improve the menu and other offerings, and remove menu items that aren’t selling.


Want to share your ideas on how to save a failing restaurant? Feel free to post your creative ideas below.

2 comments on “How to save a failing restaurant

  1. Am amazed to see a great touch from your side. I was not aware of the circumstances held in online reviews. Thanks it’s important to show courtesy to online reviews..

    • Fazil, we’re glad that you found this article helpful. Let us know if there’s anything else we could help you with.

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