10 hard hitting truths about owning a restaurant in South Africa can be summed up as follows:
1) Restaurants continue to be a labour of love for most who own them, and the passion can be felt the moment you walk in the door.
Although not as financially rewarding as it once was, many owners still find great reward in the service and product they deliver and the support they receive from loyal customers.
2) Restaurants remain one of the very few places that still offer first time job seekers an opportunity to enter the market.
With attitude and a willingness to learn being the most sort after attributes, restaurants offer those with limited education and qualifications a great stepping stone and a regular income.
3) Everyone eats! And many at least three times a day.
This offers a wonderful opportunity to those able to feed their customers hunger, their egos and their desire for an experience.
Restaurants that offer more than just a meal seem to be busking the trend and flourishing.
4) Social media is both a blessing and curse to those in the industry.
Regrettably, mostly a curse, as they themselves struggle to find traction and have great difficulty responding and finding a balance to the constant bombardment of comments and complaints on open forums and groups.
5) High input costs are literally killing restaurants at the moment.
Owners are caught between suppliers increasing their prices and downward pressure from customers who are feeling the pinch themselves right now.
Smart buying and control has become one of the most important aspects of running the business and of course that is where Ideal Stock Control can assist.
6) Skyrocketing initial investments are a double-edged sword, they certainly lift that break even point but just perhaps they will bring down the number of entrants to an already over traded market.
We operate in a Free market Society and anyone with an idea, the will and of course, the finance, is able to enter the market.
7) Crippling occupational costs! Leases signed in good times with little “what if” considerations are crippling restaurant profitability.
As Edcon are finding out, landlords are not very sympathetic to the plight of retailers right now.
Spend a little more time, money and effort before signing the next lease or renewal and where possible work with and not against the landlord to try and find solutions.
8) Lack of profitability in the early years is placing a massive strain on the industry.
“If you build it, they will come” simply does not ring true for everyone and contingency plans must be in place to help you through the early days and the tough times.
After all it’s a business and not a game, treat it as such.
9) “If it wasn’t for the staff the suppliers and the customers, this would be a great business!” It’s not for the fainthearted and the pressure is coming from so many directions.
Plan ahead, get help and where possible maintain your sanity!
10) You are not alone! Read, learn, watch, seek, ask… join your local associations and create support groups of like minded individuals.
After all if the adage “tough times don’t last but tough people do” is true, we still have so much to look forward to.
What challenges have you found owning a restaurant in South Africa? Leave a comment below.
High food cost? We can assist you with daily inventory control, ensuring your profitability with Ideal Stock Control