Top 10 Tips for Restaurant Owners

Running a restaurant can be an exciting venture! Of course, it has always come with challenges, and that is true now more than ever. 

As a business that works with restaurant owners every day, we thought we would share 10 tips to help you get the most out of your restaurant business!


1. Success is in the details

Paying attention to the “small stuff” will make a big difference for your customers and your staff. Just like each dish you serve, the smallest detail can be everything. Be sure your team understands the importance of making each detail count when they are serving your customers.

  • How well is your food packaged? Will it travel well for a good delivery and home dining experience?
  • If using your own driver, be sure they are nice to customers and careful with the food.
  • Be sure orders are prepared on time and arrive fresh to the customer.
  • Leave a thank you note, coupon, promotion or request for feedback. 


2. Check online reviews daily

Be sure you know what your customers are saying about you on Yelp, Google, Bing, and other platforms. Respond kindly and professionally to your reviews – good, bad, or ugly. Don’t be afraid to embrace your critics. They are often your most valuable market researchers. Make changes that will help your business.

When you encounter a negative review, it is important to do more than reply. Make your response an effort to resolve and turn around a bad review. You can offer an apology, a coupon or gift certificate, or other form of compensation for a negative experience. If a review is fake, be sure to dispute it with the review platform.

Use positive reviews to your advantage as well. Be sure to share your good review on your social media channels. Reward customers with a discount code or other perks after you thank them for their review.

Of course, if you’re having trouble getting reviews, you’ll need to get comfortable asking customers to visit their favorite review platform and share their dining experience. How can you ask?

  • You can add a message to every receipt.
  • Create business cards that are given with every order that have a review request and your social media channels listed.
  • If you are emailing your customer base, send an email each time a customer visits asking them to review you on their favorite platforms.
  • Be sure your website and social media channels have links to your review platforms such as Yelp and Google and Bing local listings.

You will need to visit to create or claim your business listing. Remember, even if you have not created a listing there, users can create a listing for your location when they want to leave a review. It is important to claim a listing and manage any reviews on the profile.


3. Develop and manage your online presence

Cultivating an online presence goes beyond asking for reviews. Maintaining accurate and informative Google and Bing local listings, and having an up-to-date website are important aspects of being found online by new customers, and keeping your loyal customers coming back.

According to a recent BrightLocal study, 63% of consumers say incorrect information on a business listing would stop them from choosing that business. 77% said that they have arrived at a business too early or too late because the business hours were incorrect online.

Do you have a website? You can work with Ally to develop an easy-to-use and manage website solution for your restaurant. You can also use a popular user-friendly platform like WordPress – we have tools for you there as well!

You should also visit and to create your local listings. These profiles can help you appear in searches like “restaurants near me” or “{type of food} near me”. These profiles also allow users to leave reviews for your locations.


4. Save money where you can without sacrificing quality or experience

Most restaurant owners have experienced challenges trying to save money. It can be tempting to cut costs on food or in other crucial areas, but you may end up sacrificing the details that create your best customer experience.

Think outside the box on cost savings. We are sure you are the expert on getting the best prices on local produce, or kitchen supplies, but what about the less obvious saving opportunities?

  • You can install low flow faucets and toilets to save money on water usage.
  • You can eliminate paper towels in the restrooms with hand dryers saving money on supplies.
  • You can also save money on power with efficient light bulbs and fixtures.
  • If you own your location, or are able to negotiate with your landlord, consider installing solar to save even more on power.
  • Look into potential rebates or other advantages for these updates to your facility.

Not only can these efforts save you money, but they appeal to your environmentally-conscious customers. 


5. Know your community and connect

You most likely understand your customer base and what they are looking for in a dining experience. Engaging with your community by being a part of it is an important aspect of creating repeat customers. Whether you are choosing a new dish to serve, or partnering with a local farm for produce, be known to your community.

Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions and feedback. You can easily create a survey using Ask informative questions about what your customers would like to eat or experience at your restaurant. You can gather survey responses to get ideas to implement.

You can also do community research by joining your local chamber of commerce. You will be able to connect with other local businesses and get to know what others have learned about the community in which your restaurant is located.


6. Host unique events

When a location has a draw that goes beyond dining, people will frequent the restaurant more often for the experience. You will begin to see “regulars” who come for the connection with others who love the food, and the events you host. 

Open mic nights, live music, paint and sip classes, karaoke, and several other events have all helped to boost awareness of local restaurants. Being a dining destination because of your atmosphere is a great way to market your location, and increase revenue.

Don’t be overwhelmed wondering how to host events like those listed here. There are several local businesses who are experts at running events like these on a regular basis.


7. Don’t ignore the needs and processes for take-out and delivery

Don’t make your take-out business an afterthought. When customers are in your restaurant waiting for their orders, it is important they aren’t waiting to be upset or for too long. Now, more than ever before, your dine-in customers are not the only game in town.

Too many restaurants have thrown together their delivery processes. Simple things like overlooking the need for utensils and napkins can be an easy oversight for restaurants who were not already accustomed to delivery and take-out before the pandemic.

Make sure you have adequate staff to handle your delivery and take-out orders. Your customers and employees will suffer if they are trying to manage dine-in and take-out orders at the same time.

You can partner with Ally to make your take-out and delivery processes are easy and efficient.


8. Connect with your staff and make work fun and engaging for them

You don’t want unhappy servers interacting with your customers. You will generate more business when customers believe the people at your restaurant are happy to be there.

Creating a positive working environment for your employees will help you and your customers.

Create an incentive program to help your staff maintain a high level of motivation and service. Examples are:

  • Bonuses
  • Contests
  • Survey scores for service
  • Raffles
  • Employee of the month
  • Employee fun days
  • Giveaways

Do your best to have an “open-door policy” with your employees. Every management style is different, but every person on your staff wants to feel valued and heard.


9. Engage your customers with fun promotions

Promotions create opportunities for new customers to visit your restaurant location. Holidays, theme nights, sporting events, and seasonal dishes are great ways to engage customers. Happy hour or weekly promos on your slower nights can keep regulars coming back.

Creating specials such as BOGO or Coupons for special events go a long way. Customers are always looking for deals, specials and opportunities to interact with their favorite brands. In a world full of competition, it is important to stand out. 


10. Use technology to your advantage

You can save time and money with tools to manage your restaurant inventory, sales, orders, and loyalty programs. Stop the paper trail and save the headaches for you and your staff with easy to use software and hardware. This will make things run more smoothly for your customers too!

Ally happens to know a thing or two about quality software to keep your restaurant running smoothly. We are happy to help you develop a technology plan that can make all the things on this list possible for your business! Contact us today!