With so many F&B joints popping up each year – and a fair number also closing down, the question really is: what does it take to make it work? In 2015 SPC conducted a study on 178 outlets to find out. Here’s the low-down.
DO NOT just focus on branding and decor
Branding and store decor are often the more fun parts of a business, but it pays off to get down and dirty with the details. The nitty gritty details of planning operations, human resources, serving procedures – the list goes on – are ultimately what can make or break the customer experience.
DO NOT make customers wait too long
You might think long queues make your place look popular and worth waiting for, but realistically,a long waiting time also reflects an inefficiency in your processes.
It’s worthwhile to spend time smoothing out the kinks because long queues can also mean angrier customers, which can translate to worse feedback, especially if they end up storming out of your outlet after waiting too long.
DO NOT plan your inventory based on “instinct”
SPC’s study found small businesses like to plan their inventory based on “visual assessment”, “gut feel” and “past experience”.
It might seem appealing but first ask yourself: do you have leverage with suppliers to change your order easily when you need to? Do you have the storage space for all the food? If not, why not work out a proper inventory plan based on concrete numbers to prevent both wastage and shortage of ingredients.
DO invest in customer service
Inexperienced staff who can’t handle the crowd are a big problem, especially during peak periods. The lack of service is bound to frustrate even the most patient of customers.
It is no doubt challenging to train workers who may not be long-term, but at very least, have an SOP for staff to learn, and perhaps take some time on the first few days of work to run through possible scenarios and how to handle them.
DO streamline your processes
In the digital age, there are plenty of apps out there to help you with this. Whether it’s billing, payment, queue or inventory management, take a look at what’s out there and automate to your advantage.
DO constantly reevaluate your menu
This is especially true when you just start and might not be sure what customers want! Listen to feedback, look at the numbers and rework the menu now and then. The plus is that it also helps keep things fresh.
For more information, please see https://www.smeportal.sg/content/smeportal/en/industries/food/2015/fb-productivity-challenges.html