Guest Post: Getting Your Restaurant Out of a Slump

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Today’s post was written by Jessica Sanders.

While your restaurant may have come out of the gate running, it’s not unrealistic that it has fallen into a bit of a slump. If you’re feeling like business is slowing, consider what you can change to take it back to where it needs to be. Though your initial efforts got people in seats, now you want people waiting at the door.

New Marketing

The first step is to reach every customer possible – and one way to do that is to diversify your marketing efforts, or invest further into options you’ve already started to explore. The key here, however, is to branch out from where you started to reach a whole new set of customers.

  • Pinterest: Pinterest is a great platform for businesses – using high-quality photos of your menu items is a smart way to get brand impressions. This is a great way to impress customers with the one thing that is most important, your delicious food.
  • Direct mailing: Send out a blind mailing to a variety of neighborhoods in a few areas of town. Coupons are a sure way to get people in the door at least once. From there, you can count on your great service and good food to bring them back for me.

Revamp Your Menu

Whether your original menu had great reviews or not, it’s wise to consider what you can add, take off, or modify. Not necessarily for your customers, but for your business as a whole. Ask yourself what dishes were successful, what got few orders, and how that effects your customers and bottom line.

  • Food cost: Some dishes may be more expensive to prepare, or use perishable items that can become costly when not used. Consider your current food cost, and where you want it to be – assess your menu to see how you can get there by adding or subtracting menu items.
  • Overall satisfaction: What dishes did your customers love, which ones did they hate? Consider removing some items, or redoing them to your customers’ preferences. They are the ones you hope to impress, after all.

A New Design

Likely, you built your restaurant from scraps when you first opened. With little to no money coming in, you did what you could with what you had. However, after bringing in a profit and a small following of local customers, you can invest in some great furniture pieces to kick the entire atmosphere up a notch. You have a few options.

  • Go DIY: If you want to save your money for expensive furniture for the restaurant, go DIY the whole way. Splurge on big pieces and do the rest yourself. Customers will mostly be concerned about seating and dining, so take that into consideration.
  • Hire a designer: Instead of doing it all yourself, take that money to hire a team of designers. This will ensure that you get the outcome you are hoping for with a set amount of cash.

When you fall into that 6 month slump, it’s important that you take action right away. Your business can still thrive and grow, but sometimes changes are necessary to get where you want to go.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including Chicago restaurants. She writes for, a leading directory of restaurants.

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  • Thanks for you comment Tom. Completely agree, going back and reviewing the core message is ALWAYS necessary when something is out of place, in any business. In reviewing the core message, realizations of new strategies may arise such as taking advantage of a new social network or enhancing an existing website.

  • Not sure "new marketing" is a solution to slumping sales before a full brand and operational review is undertaken.  Core brand messages should be reviewed, and everything reviewed so that everyone in the restaurant is DELIVERING on the restaurant's brand promise to the guest.


    Often times, getting back to core fundamentals works PRIOR to a refresh of interiors, menus, and a fresh look at marketing to new or expanded demographics.




    Tom Kelley

    AccessPoint Group

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