When your first restaurant is a smashing success, opening a second one may seem like a natural next move.
Consider these five questions to decide if you’re ready.
But before you make the leap, take a moment to reflect on what made your first location successful—and in which areas of the business you’d like to improve. Start by looking closely at your operations and ensure you have the right equipment to make a smooth expansion.
With the opening of a second restaurant, you may have twice the staff, inventory and sales to manage. And there’s no guarantee both locations will perform the same way. The steps you take to prepare now can ease your transition to managing multiple locations.
Here are five questions to consider as you get ready to open your second restaurant.
1. What type of technology will you need?
You’ve successfully pulled off running one restaurant—a huge accomplishment. But as your business expands, you may be on the cusp of adding more responsibilities. To further complicate matters, you can’t be in two places (or more) at once. The right technology can work wonders for helping business owners manage multiple locations on a single system.
Cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) systems and management software can help maintain consistency across locations, allowing you to carry menus, training materials and even employee accounts from one restaurant to another, so you’re not starting from scratch. This technology can also help you manage bookkeeping and track critical data in one place.
Setting up a single platform that can perform many different functions is a great foundation for future expansion. If your long-term goal is to have two locations – or many more – an easily scalable management system that can grow with you is an invaluable asset.
2. What type of food should you serve?
If you’re planning to replicate your original menu, you may think you have this question covered. But you may want to think again.
Revamping the menu in a new location might be necessary depending on your kitchen space and your customer base in the new place. The way you serve busy folks on a quick grab-and-go lunch break might be different from how you cater to families or late-night diners.
Opening a second location in a different neighborhood, city or state is another good reason to take a closer look at the menu. Customers appreciate restaurants that reflect their community. Add or tweak some menu items with a local twist to make your new restaurant location feel more personalized to its surroundings.
Analytics may help in decision-making, too. By using POS technology that can collect insights on sales trends and other key metrics, you might find brunch is popular in the original location but not at the second one. Understanding what performs well at each location will help you run a more efficient, profitable business.
3. How will you manage the extra staff?
More than two-thirds of restaurant operators say staffing is a top concern. Staff turnover and competition for employees is frequently a major challenge for restaurateurs. You want to find, hire and retain the right people so quality and service at your second restaurant matches the high standards you set in your first location.
One essential strategy for making sure you can manage additional staff is to lean on technology for extra support. The proper restaurant management system can assist with training, scheduling and table assignments, helping ensure you and your new team feels established and ready to provide delightful service.
4. What types of payments will you accept?
Bank of America Merchant Services surveyed consumers who frequent small businesses and found that they want new and flexible ways to pay. Nearly 40 percent of consumers appreciate when they can pay tableside at a restaurant, and almost a quarter want to have the ability to pay with a mobile device or digital wallet.
Restaurants need to keep up with the payment methods customers prefer, or they risk losing business to larger corporate chains that have long been experimenting with adding new ways to pay.
By ensuring your restaurants are equipped with a mobile POS that can accept tableside payments and multiple payment methods, you can deliver a service that delights customers and encourages their return.
5. How will you maintain a great experience?
If your customers loved your first location, they’ll likely want to try out your second. Similarly, if your staff enjoys working at the first spot, they may be open to training the new team. Be sure to have a restaurant management systemin place that can keep both locations running similarly and efficiently.
For example, if your customers are used to the ability to split checks at your original restaurant, consider carrying the same experience to your second location. Your staff may also expect a certain experience like coursing options or simple tip adjusts and settlements.
Talking with a payments partner can help you learn about and incorporate emerging technologies that suit your restaurant’s size, locations and customer base. With the right tools in place, you can focus on successfully expanding your restaurant and serving even more loyal customers.