Why Top Restaurateurs Focus on Making More at Their Best Locations

Underperforming locations? They’re facts of life in the growth of any brand. 

And sometimes they’re just born that way.

That’s because site selection has become more science than art, but still has some artistic qualities – and can create a maternity ward for underperforming stores.

Then, when owners feed those locations, there’s pain.

Nobody lulls themselves to sleep every night thinking about their personal lease guarantees.

For people I work with, owners of successful multi-unit independent restaurant companies, that’s just human nature – but it causes them to throw an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources at underperforming units.

That’s exactly the opposite of smart business, putting pride ahead of strategy:

  • Pride makes people feel that, if they just start pulling different levers, they can make that underperforming location shine.
  • Pride has a nasty habit of diverting people from the best things to do.  
  • Pride does not create the most success or the biggest net worth.
  • Pride does not have a wallet or a credit card.


Logic Proves High Impact Beats Low Impact


Do you want your company doing a bunch of low-impact aerobics? Or do you want it to really work out?

Then spend all your time on high-impact activities.  

A smarter strategy? Work harder on your most profitable locations so they increase profit to make enough money to compensate for underperforming locations.

I’m not proposing abandoning underperforming locations and becoming a bad restaurant parent.

Instead, place those locations on a trajectory to, if possible, break even – then move on to focus on other locations with more upside.

Make another dollar where your brand works well instead of where it does not, because that dollar spends the same no matter where it comes from.


Choices on How to Boost Revenue


Over nearly three decades of advising restaurant owners, I have found the best results come from focusing on the easiest ways to raise revenue first.

Following this advice has created double-digit (and multi-million-dollar) revenue and profit increases for my happy clients.

  1. Not full on Friday and Saturday? Stop putting so much energy into Tuesday night.
  2. Want a 5% lift? Focus on offering more to the guests you have rather than acquiring new guests.
  3. Thinking of advertising? Make sure your social media looks fantastic first.
  4. Considering discounting or a new value menu? Instead ensure excellent operations and guest experience.

Over to you. What low-impact activities do you undertake? If you kill them off, what do you have time to do that will really move your business forward?