Nine Boxes to Check for Restaurant Post-Crisis Unit Growth

Growth is back on the menu.

As we navigate the exit lane from the restaurant crisis portion of the pandemic, my clients – owners of successful multi-unit independent restaurant groups – re-focus on their next big move.

Dining rooms are opening up, revenue is increasing, moods are becoming more positive, and many still have a backstop of bags of government money.

That could be growth through increased revenue and profits at existing units.

Increasingly, though, top restaurateurs are thinking about those next units.

The New Rules of Growth

As you evaluate abandoned second-generation space, newly re-purposed retail, or upcoming deals, remember: Everything has changed.

The checklist:

  1. Your big restaurant – it’s too big. We’ve learned a lot about smaller footprints and what space really generates.
  2. Construction costs.  Unrecognizable. Work this through with your trusted GC.
  3. Patios – a huge, high-demand asset.
  4. To-go, delivery, and curbside – part of your business forever. Re-design your layout and kitchen.  Marketing plans must launch at-home dining from the beginning.
  5. Workforce – the shortage will continue. One of my clients said to me last week, “I would not want to be hiring a new staff of 100 right now.” Be realistic: Plan for the length of time it will take to assemble and educate staff.
  6. Corporate team members – the ones still with you – have greater capability than you ever imagined. Take advantage of that with economies of scale and a low overhead.
  7. Guests – they still love your brand. Meals remain some of the brightest memories from that endless Groundhog Day/Palm Springs of being home, and a rite of passage as they re-enter society. Take advantage of that goodwill.
  8. Your corrected and activated culture – maintain it to inspire employee loyalty: another thing to re-create at new units.
  9. Upgraded technology – Making your new units more profitable and efficient from day one, affecting how you interact with the guest, how you operate the new unit, and how it connects to your corporate team.

The restaurant market is growing at a time when some competitors are shaking their heads over failure, and fired-up guests appreciate what we do more than ever.

Growth takes its place as part of the opportunity of a lifetime in my forecast, an opportunity to increase revenue, profit, and net worth.  

Over to you. Do you want to add units? Have you checked all these boxes?