Finding ways to expand your restaurant concept is always a challenge, perhaps more so in today’s economic climate. But because those same market conditions present unique circumstances, now may be the perfect time to branch out. How can you do it?
- Open a new location. Opening up a location in a nearby city or another part of town can expose your restaurant to an entirely different customer base. It is cheaper than starting a business from scratch and can make your operation more profitable by lowering cost of goods and sharing overhead services like accounting and purchasing.
- Acquire a competitor. Some of your competitors are likely struggling and considering an exit strategy. Take advantage of this opportunity by acquiring their restaurant, possibly at a favorable price. Not only will your familiarity with the industry help you get a good price on the business, but it will aid in the smooth transition of ownership.
- Become a franchise. By offering your restaurant as a franchise, it can give you an opportunity to reap the benefits of expansion without managing several locations at once. Plus, many business buyers on the market find owning a franchise appealing because of the already established name and customer base. To learn more about franchising, visit the International Franchise Association at www.franchise.org.
- Grow from inside. Organic growth, or core growth, is one of the most common ways to expand. Look introspectively at your customer base, identify what they value and use that information to provide better service, or new products or menu items. Focusing on your core customers will help keep them loyal and may bring in new business through word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Expand into a new market. Sometimes the best way to make your operation more profitable is to try something completely new. Consider leveraging your experience in restaurants to acquire a catering company or even opening a grocery store. Moving into a new market will expose you to new customers and provide opportunities for your businesses to complement each other.