Restaurant Problems and Solutions You Should Know About

Common Restaurant Problems and Solutions

Table of Contents

If you’re looking to get into the restaurant business, you should arm and prepare yourself with problems that you might not expect.

Not to worry, we here at KlikNRoll are here to help with that! These common problems are based on real-life interviews that we did with our clients, and what they did to overcome these problems!

So sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the problems and solutions that restaurant owners should know about!

Restaurant Staff Recruitment & Retention

The biggest challenge by far that most restaurants as well as our clients face is restaurant staff recruitment and retention. Simply put, finding good staff that retain them.

According to DailyPay’s article, the average turnover rate in April 2023 for the leisure and hospitality industry is at 4.6%, a lot higher than the overall average of 2.4% provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Yes, just in case you’re wondering, restaurants are a part of the hospitality industry!

Solution: So then what’s the solution? In our experience, here are the most important things you can provide to retain good employees:

  • Showcase Good Career Progression
  • Adequate Pay & Benefits
  • Staff Meals & Housing
  • Improve Your Restaurant’s Culture
  • No Support or Upskilling Training

These are just some of the ways you can retain good staff.

If you’re interested in learning more, we have an article dedicated to improving staff morale that you can take a look at, after finishing this article, of course!

Food Consistency & Customer Retention

Good food is the bread and butter of any restaurant, but we’d argue the most important thing is consistency.

You can have the best food in the world but people might not be coming back if you’re not consistent, at least most of the time.

In a perfect world, we’d ideally want 100% of our new customers to become returning loyal – but that’s just not feasible nor realistic.

So the key is to make sure that percentage is as high as possible. For the restaurant industry, anything over 60% is great.

Solution: The best and most important way to do this is to make sure you’re as consistent as possible with your food quality and taste.

Decor, ambiance, and service are all important, but the main reason why people actively choose a restaurant is because of good quality.

If you’re only good half the time, many new customers won’t be coming back and your overall customer lifetime value goes down significantly.

This means that your average spend per customer will suffer.

You don’t have to have the very best food in your area, as long as you’re consistent with your quality every time – so focus on that for customer retention.

Restaurant Reviews & Reputation Management

In our experience, bad reviews can be the downfall of many restaurants – that’s why it’s incredibly important to manage your online presence and reputation.

Online reviews not only reflect your overall brand and affect customer decisions but also is a determining factor when it comes to ranking on search engines.

Simply put, no matter how well your restaurant ranks on Google or other review platforms like Yelp, most users probably won’t give you a visit or book a delivery if you have 2-star reviews on average.

Solution: The solution for this problem is simple, make sure you put focus into improving your food & drink – which are the core products of any restaurant. Remember the point we talked about earlier?

Consistency and quality are the only things you need to make your restaurant stand out. Other than that, focus on cleanliness and service quality.

Our internal research across various-sized restaurants identified three primary factors influencing online reviews: the quality of food, cleanliness, and service, ranked in that order.

Other than that, all you need to do is to request reviews from customers who have had a good experience.

You’d be surprised at how many customers would be willing to leave reviews if you just asked.

It’s up to you whether you want to give an incentive or not – but in our experience, it does help a lot if you do.

Most customers won’t bother with giving reviews unless they’ve had an extremely good or extremely bad experience, so it’s probably best if you can improve the amount of positive reviews!

If you’re having problems with your reviews and online reputation in general, and are looking for more information, feel free to check out our detailed guide on improving restaurant reputation management!

Manual Booking Bottleneck & Losing Potential Customers

Another common problem that restaurants face is a bottleneck when taking reservations manually.

Manual reservations are incredibly time-consuming, especially for restaurants that are on the smaller and bigger end of the spectrum.

The whole process of allocating tables, accepting special requests, cross-referencing with other reservations, and pre-ordering in advance takes up a lot of effort and time.

Plus, not to mention, you might potentially lose out on younger customers as well, as studies have shown that 9 out of 10 people Gen Zers have developed call phobia, and would prefer to make reservations without needing to talk to anyone.

If you’re only taking manual bookings, you might be losing out on Gen Zers as a target market, which is important to remedy, especially when they’re starting to enter the workforce and developing more spending power.

Solution: Get yourself an online booking system that is tailored for you and is optimized for conversion!

We understand that every restaurant is different and has different requirements, and to be frank, not many of the generic platforms out there are right for everyone.

KlikNRoll Click2Book Booking Demo
Any type of restaurant, of any size will be benefit from our online booking system!

That’s why we’ve developed our own booking platform that is connected to your website, to give you the ultimate customizability and conversion!

Many off-the-shelf platforms out there don’t let you customize what features you can add, change elements, or optimize for conversion. Most of the time, you’re just stuck with what they give you.

We know that feeling too well, so we’ve decided to give that freedom back to you. Looking for a basic configuration for your small-town restaurant?

Or maybe you need a specialized system that can track multiple locations? We’ve got all of that covered!

If you’re interested, click the button below to check out our online booking product page to learn more!

Increasing Average Order Basket Size for Your Restaurant

Many restaurants rely too much on trying to grow the number of customers that walk through their doors, which is not necessarily a bad idea – but there’s a better way to increase revenue.

A restaurant can seat a finite number of people at any given time because there are only so many tables that can fit in the restaurant.

Plus, relying on more customers might also increase the amount of money you spend on paid advertising, which means less overall profit.

Solution: So instead, why not try to increase the average order basket size per customer? 

The key is to optimize your menu to give it the best chance possible to upsell and cross-sell effectively, among other things!

Here’s a checklist that you can do to your menu to start increasing the average order size:

  • Increase prices but improve the overall value proposition.
  • Put highest-margin items on menu hotspots.
  • Remove currency symbols from your menu.
  • Create a price-fixed menu.
Menu Optimization, Best Place to Put Menu Items
Here’s a quick chart you can refer to, for menu optimization!

Alongside menu optimization, you can also incorporate strategies like staff sales training, and using a loyalty program, to fine-tune your efforts.

For more detailed explanations, feel free to check out our article relating to free ways to increase restaurant sales without advertising!

Challenges in Growing Organically for Restaurants

In all stages of a business’s lifecycle, growing organically is one of the most important factors in whether a restaurant will continue to be successful or not.

The word ‘organic’ is incredibly important, as it means natural growth that is free of charge.

From our experience, three things affect this – which are food taste and quality, lack of incentive, or lack of branding and storytelling.

People probably won’t recommend a restaurant to their friends or family if the food isn’t consistently good or doesn’t stand out.

And with a lack of branding or storytelling, there’s probably little reason why people would remember a particular restaurant.

Don’t worry, there are many tangible solutions to grow organically as a restaurant, but the most common way is through word-of-mouth marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).

Solution: Utilize vouchers and start doing some search engine optimization (SEO). Let’s talk about SEO first.

SEO is essentially optimizing your profile and website to give it the best chance at ranking and showing up to customers looking for food to eat.

The great thing is that you’ll be able to enjoy half the benefits just by doing a few things right!

Namely, optimizing your Google Business Profile properly and just making sure you have the appropriate things shown on your website.

You can learn how to do all this on our Restaurant SEO Guide.

Next, let’s talk vouchers. Vouchers are great because they not only get people to remember your restaurant whenever they look at it but vouchers can be gifted to your customers’ friends and family.

Not only does this bring you more new customers, but you’ll also be able to improve your cash flow since customers have to pay cash upfront.

More new customers mean more shots at turning them loyal, which is how you grow your regular customer base.

We also provide an affordable yet robust voucher management system to help you generate, manage, and validate vouchers!

If you’re interested in generating your own vouchers, why not click the button below to check out our voucher management product page?

Not Having a Strong Base of Delivery Clients

For restaurants, using a delivery service can leave a sour taste in the mouth.

This is mainly because mainstream food delivery platforms like DoorDash or UberEats can charge up to 30% in commissions, which is difficult since the margins for restaurants aren’t high to begin with (around 10%).

Though, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect food delivery altogether. These platforms might be unsustainable for most restaurants as a long-term strategy, but they’re great for getting your name out there.

Solution: The solution here is to put effort in your restaurant’s delivery service, and sign up for these platforms.

However, the ultimate goal here is to slowly pivot away from these delivery platforms gradually, and build your very own delivery customer base.

Here’s a strategy that you can try out to kick-start your delivery service:

  • Source or develop your own proprietary online delivery system—it could be as straightforward as a direct link to your business’s WhatsApp account.
  • Register with third-party delivery platforms and start processing orders.
  • In every order, you can include vouchers and QR codes to your delivery system.
  • Encourage customers to slowly switch to using your channel, while offering incentives, and slowly pivoting away from these platforms.
  • Gradually, you might notice a gradual increase in orders coming directly through your delivery channel.
  • You can also opt to invest in advertising to speed up the growth of your delivery channel!

If you’re interested in upgrading or sourcing your own delivery platform, you can check out our module (Click2Shop) which can be repurposed into an online delivery system!

We don’t charge any commissions and we let you customize every single aspect of your online delivery platform to include any features or elements. We can also help you integrate our platform directly to your POS system!

Click the button below to check out our product page and get started – no strings attached!