Four New Year Resolutions To Keep in 2023

  • Jan 05, 2023  |  John Jones  |  8 min read
Four New Year Resolutions To Keep in 2023

As a restaurateur, did you you finish the year with a load of resolutions for 2023? The best way to plan a forward future is to reflect on past performance, and the best way to do that is to reflect on one’s own year. In doing so, you’ll reconnect with moments which at the time you vowed would never happen again, and identify repeating patterns, recurring problems and areas for attention going forward.

We get to speak with restaurant, bar, pub and cafe owners every day so here’s our list of the most-heard New Year resolutions from within the independent hospitality sector. The chances are there’ll be some bells ringing in the list for you, too.

Get tough

“Grrrrr”. “We’re sick of being the nice guys, always taking the hit. We need to toughen up”. Sounds familiar? It could be that you’re one of the many restaurant owners feeling the same way. We couldn’t blame you, because after all you’ve had to endure rising prices, never-ending red tape and legislation, punitive tax rates and of course the scourge of no-shows.

Ordinarily we would tow the well-trodden path of acceptance: accepting that it’s just the way it is in hospitality and that -yes – for now, at least, you do have to take the hit and there’s nothing you can do about it. But we live in extraordinary times and we’re going to suggest that, in 2023, you should get tougher. There, we said it. 

If there are elements of your business operations which don’t work for you, change them. And if you you can’t directly change them – and if you feel strongly enough – proactively influence change. 

If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that anything goes. Use that to your advantage and drive through change, however unconventional (what is convention these days, anyway?). Sure, there are some areas such as taxes and legislartion which are more difficult to tackle directly, so join a campaign group and be part of that lobbying movement. You can choose from a numner of online forums or groups which will hapilly hear your voice, or go the whole hog and take your voice and placard to the seat of government. 

Something you certainly don’t have to put up with is no-shows. Let’s pose a quick question: does the following sound like someone in your organisation? “Well, we can’t charge for no-shows because the customers won’t like it and they might not come back again”. 

If so, and we’re sorry to say, you do need to toughen up in 2023 because it isn’t your job to subsidise diners’ unreasonable behaviour to the detriment of your own profit & loss account. As for what the would-be diner may think, there are two answers: 1. they probably didn’t like the smoking ban when it first came out, but they got used to it and 2. if they didn’t show up and left you to carry the burden of an empty booking, they’re not a true customer anyway so who cares what they think? If you haven’t got the business, you can’t lose it further. 

Phew, that was controversial! But this is a blog – a place to share ideas, let off steam and think laterally, so feel free to contribute to the debate. No-shows are actually quite easy to reduce or eliminate altogether, by taking full payment or a deposit at the time of online booking and you can do it with Favouritetable. Try it in 2023.

Diversify

The gulf between having great ideas and actually implementing them can be huge. New concepts are great because they can be worked on mentally anywhere, at any time, at no cost or negative impact on the business (unless of course you are day dreaming when you should be serving). Ideas are the first phase of innovation, but getting them to fruition can take a lot of effort, time and money. 

Perhaps 2022 was the year in which you hit upon that big idea, thought about it some more and decided it is the one for next year. Well, we have news for you, it is next year now so time to do something about it and drive it through. 

Speaking of drive-through, one of the most popular ideas which you can put into place today is take-away, a.k.a. dine-at-home or click, collect, deliver. Whatever you want to call it, there are so many benefits: from additional revenue to extending your brand, to keeping staff employed and the assets sweated. The only problem is, if take-away goes wrong because you’re drowning in paper and don’t know who the orders are going to and when, you’re going to have a hard time making it successful.

Rather than poorly execute a great idea, make sure you have the necessary infrastructure available to ensure you’re a smooth operator. Favouritetable’s food ordering bundle is a technology-based “take-away business in a box” which restaurants can easily unpack and get working in no time at all. It includes all of the elements needed to start and run an online food business such as pre-orders, promotions, online payment, inventory, waiting lists and capacity control management.

Get creative

The Christmas and New Year periods are great for quiet reflection, together with deciding what to focus on in a few week’s time. During those periods of contemplation, thoughts inevitably turn to marketing and – more specifically – doing it better. That’s where the challenge begins because better can mean all sorts of different things to different people. Perhaps generating output which is graphically better is what’s needed, making better use of images and layout in emails, web pages and flyers; likewise, you may decide that quality is measured by your marketing’s underpinnings such as key messages and brand principles, or how you’re targeting your recipients. Frankly it can all be a little confusing, which is why many restaurateurs – after dreaming up a world where their marketing is slick and polished – quickly have another turkey sandwich and forget the idea. We think that's a mistake.

The answer really is to keep it simple. Nobody will expect your restaurant to produce agency-quality communications (unless you have won the lottery of course) so stick to the following basics:

- keep it simple (did we mention that already?)

- keep it accurate & truthful

- know who you want to target

- have a way to target them

- remember who, what, where, when, why in your comms.

Favouritetable’s optional Marketing Module covers all the basics and more, plus it operates directly from your Favouritetable Reservation System – that’s good because it’s “integrated” and means you don’t need other stand-alone products which won’t necessarily speak with the main software. The system is powerful and packs a punch, because you can produce lovely-looking messages and send them via SMS and email campaigns to highly targetted groups. Further, you can promote your restaurant on the web’s most visited restaurant listing and review sites, all from one place.

Review your tech

In truth, restaurant technology isn’t a particularly novel concept these days - it is rare to find a restaurant, pub, bar or café without some kind of reservation system or software in place – but it is amazing how many businesses struggle through the year with truly awful products. Software has come a long way since it was first introduced to the sector and there really is no reason for restaurateurs to put up with old, clunky systems. So why do so many do just that?

There are so many reasons that we’d need to write a blog article on this subject alone (there’s an idea), but we often hear about restaurateurs who simply don’t have the time or energy to change systems. Sometimes they are tied to punitive and lengthy contracts, or feel that re-training staff on new tech would be too disruptive. The net effect then is various versions of “we’ll just stick with what we’ve got until next year”. 

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s now next year and time to be bold: get rid of your clunky tech because you really deserve better. There are a lot of products out there and we have written previously about what to look for, but here’s a quick checklist for evaluating software:

- Is 100% web-based? (don’t be fooled by companies who answer this with “yes, the database is 100% web-based”. Having just the database in the cloud does not make it fully cloud-based – you want a system with everything in the cloud)

- Does it look modern? If it doesn’t, it is because it is old, period. You don’t want old. - Does it have the functionality you need?

- Is it intuitive and a joy to use?

- Does the company behind the product have a proven heritage in the sector?

- What do customers say about it? Check out their reviews.

- Is it easy to switch and requires minimal (and ideally zero) training?

- Is is great value and commission-free?

Once you have done all of that, rip out the old and put in some new tech. You will be amazed at the functionality available and the revenue and profit benefits you’ll get, coupled with how much smoother your operations will be. If you would like to have a look at Favouritetable, try our demo in your own time.

Wrapping up

The festive period is a great time to make New Year resolutions about your business but it is so easy for those good intentions to slip away, only to be revisited next year. Whether it is about reducing no-shows, adding take-away, doing more marketing or improving your tech stack, do it now – you’ll be so glad you did.

Book your January demo today!

Favouritetable is contemporary, easy to use restaurant management software designed to increase bookings, efficiency, revenue and profits. Loved by restaurateurs and UK-based, it's the best value next-generation restaurant management software on the market. 

Choose an online demo with a real person, or try the system at your own pace with a demo account

Image by Freepik

 

RECENT POSTS