November 14

A Year-End Review and Planning Guide for Restaurant Businesses


Tips for Restaurant Businesses When Reviewing End-of-Year Success and Planning for a Profitable New Year

With the holiday season well underway, the new year will creep up quickly. While most restaurant businesses are busy with the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s critical to review the previous year and plan for the next.

Depending on your company, there are plenty of ways to plan for a more profitable and prosperous new year, but to help you get started, we have some tips on a few areas you should review and focus on in the new year.

Let’s get started!

5 Areas to Review and Improve

Enhance Your Online Presence

Today’s world is digital. There’s no real way to get around that. To increase brand awareness, attract new customers, and stay competitive in an ever-changing industry, you must evaluate your online presence to find where to focus in the new year and ensure your business is discoverable and engaging.

Utilize social media, email marketing, and an optimized website to engage with customers, showcase your menu, and highlight special events or promotions.

Review your Google My Business listing for opportunities to optimize your online presence. Google is still the go-to place for consumer searches, so you want to be sure your listing includes updated menus and business descriptions, correct hours of operation, and photos—and, of course, monitor your reviews for areas to improve.

Optimize Your Menu

With food costs at an all-time high—making time to review and optimize your menu is vital to improving your cost of goods and increasing revenue.

Start by analyzing sales data to identify high and low-profit items. You can remove some menu items to create a simplified and manageable menu while focusing on the more popular dishes.

If you’re worried about a lack of variety in removing some low-performing items, consider introducing seasonal specials or rotating menus. Additionally, consider where you could enhance staff training to increase sales between your food and beverage menus while reviewing your sales data.

Efficient Inventory Management

There is always room to improve your procedures. Your inventory management is one procedure you’ll want to keep score of as it’s foundational to running a successful restaurant business.

Review your current procedure to see if it’s helping your team track purchasing, reduce waste, negotiate pricing, and keep up with consumer demand as much as you’d like.

When reviewing inventory management, it’s a good idea to include the employees directly involved in the process. Ask them if the current procedure works for them, how long they spend monitoring inventory, and where things could be simplified.

Strategic Marketing

As mentioned earlier, we live in a digital world. If you’re not marketing strategically, your business could easily get overlooked in your area’s latest and buzz-worthy restaurant lists.

Consider new ways your business could increase your marketing efforts. You could look into participating in community events or teaming up with local companies to offer limited promotions during off-peak times to increase footfall.

Collaborate with local publications to highlight your business and unique offerings. With social media being a significant driver in sales, making a list as a destination spot in your town can encourage an increase in new customers.

Improve Hiring Practices

Rapid and frequent turnover can be a silent money pit for your business. It’s been said that, on average, turnover costs start at around $5,864 per employee.

Taking your hiring process seriously is essential to increasing your business profitability, so take the time to review your hiring process to pinpoint where the problems lie.

If you’re not getting the best applicants, consider ways to improve your job descriptions or where you’re advertising your open roles. Perhaps one job site brings in more resumes, but another brings more skilled and better-fitting candidates.

If you need help keeping employees after hiring, consider your onboarding, training, and performance review process. Investing more time in employee development can help you increase retention rates.

Consider new hiring practices as well. With our new feature, Poached Shifts, you can book people as contract workers over a series of shifts to ensure they’re a good fit for your business before offering full-time employment.

A trial period is a great way to increase retention and stay staffed while hiring to avoid burning out your existing employees.

Running a restaurant business can be fun and rewarding—but it’s no secret that tight profit margins and increasing revenue can be a severe challenge.

While you should be reviewing your strategies and processes throughout the year, taking an end-of-year audit and setting a plan for the following year is vital to your success.

Things are constantly changing, but with some forethought and planning–you’ll be set up for a killer new year and beyond. Good luck out there, and if you need extra help with the fifth tip on improving hiring practices, our Poached team is always here to help!

About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


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