How to Start a Restaurant and Stay Profitable During a Recession


Restaurants prosper according to the state of the economy and the ingenuity of their management. A slow economy doesn’t mean that your restaurant business has to suffer but it does require some very creative thinking.


The one thing you don’t want to compromise when cutting overhead is the quality of your food. Your loyal customer base keeps returning because of good service and excellent food. There are ways to reduce the cost of your ingredients without sacrificing quality.


The most obvious way to save money on supplies is by co-operating with another restaurant that serves the same type of cuisine. Buying in bulk has always saved money and you probably already do that on many items. The larger the order, the more money you can save, so partnering with another business or even several businesses means that you can get deeper discounts. There are also restaurant consultants that you can work with that may be able to get you much better deals on your supplies.


Partnering with other restaurants can be advantageous in other ways too. Buying fresh produce works much the same way as other supplies in that you get discounts for quantity. Taking turns picking up and delivering produce will also cut overhead in addition to the discounts your co-op will receive. With fuel costs increasing once again, this method can be a significant saver.


In a poor economy, promoting your business is more important than ever. Offering free coffee with all meals will increase your traffic and add to your return customer base. While coffee isn’t the least expensive item you can offer, the psychological benefits will bring people through the door. Once you attract people with this offering you have a good chance that they’ll not only be back for more but that they’ll tell their friends about the great food and free coffee!


Another thing you do not want to skimp on is service. Your staff is your most valuable asset. People will be loyal to a restaurant that has mediocre food simply because they have great service. Offer your employees incentives for giving exceptional service! You might start an employee of the month program and reward the winner with movie tickets, a free dinner for them and a partner, or a premium parking space.


There are many ways to reduce your restaurant’s overhead while still maintaining the quality and service that your customers expect and appreciate. If you have what it takes to bring your restaurant through a recession then just imagine what is possible when the economy recovers.

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