Running a restaurant might seem quite easy on the outside and yet, it is one of the toughest business ventures to set up and manage. After all, your entire game plan rests on things so fickle as taste buds. A food trend that holds sway now, might cease to fascinate a few months down the line. That does not mean you pack it in, but rather evolve.
A lot of effort and determination goes into setting up a restaurant business and overcoming the obstacles along the way. Let’s take a look at some of the major challenges that impact restaurateurs in India today.
1. Property pricing
If you want to open a restaurant in a metro city, most of your business capital is likely to be spent on renting space. Finances can get even tighter if you plan to be your own landlord and buy your restaurant premises. The challenge posed for restaurateurs due to the high cost of real estate has even been highlighted by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) in its India Food Services Report 2019. The high cost of real estate sees a lot of eateries function out of Lilliputian-sized venues in order to break even in business.
2. High rates of attrition
The hospitality industry is known to have long working hours. These long working hours often cause staff – such as servers – to switch between jobs for any hike they get in their monthly payments. A restaurateur who has to constantly hire new staff members will lose precious hours of manpower in training. A simple way to overcome this challenge might be to give as much importance to the needs of the restaurant staff as one would give to the patrons. After all, it is the staff members who can truly delight your customers if they work to their full potential. Restaurateurs must make it a point to check in with their staff to see what issues they face on the job and offer them added benefits apart from their salary.
3. Acts of pilferage
As a restaurant owner, you might probably spend your day manning the cash counter and overseeing operations. However, if you have more than one branch of your eatery, it would be physically impossible for you to be present everywhere at once. You might, then, face the issue of pilferage like many other restaurant owners in the country. A bit of cash, some cutlery or even sets of napkins can get stolen every now and then and add up to a hefty bill. Apart from installing CCTVs to keep a check on your restaurant, you might also want to have a POS system to stay protected against theft.
4. Licencing requirements
Restaurants in the country really have a tough time getting through formalities before they can be functional. Getting the necessary certifications and licenses can be time-consuming and costly. You might require anywhere between 10 to 12 licenses to set up your eatery; getting these is by no means a quick task.
5. COVID 19 pandemic
While the pandemic might be regarded as a temporary challenge, its effects will definitely be felt in the long run. Since the lockdown began in early 2020, many restaurants have had to shut shop permanently. The ones that now survive have had to come up with innovative ways of attracting their patrons back. With people now being increasingly wary of eating out or ordering food, restaurants have had to revamp their marketing campaigns to get business back up. This has resulted in expenses that have not yet been met by substantial revenue.
At present, restaurateurs can only weather the storm by enforcing strict social distancing measures that will help customers feel safe. Servers and delivery staff need to have their temperatures checked daily, all restaurant staff should wear gloves and face masks, and the entire restaurant premises should be disinfected regularly.