8 Best Practices for Running a Successful Restaurant

Running a successful restaurant is hard-work, no doubt about it. It requires a significant investment of time, money, creativity, and passion. It’s also one of the most competitive, rewarding, and risky industries out there. But what does it really take to stand the test of time and become a foodie favorite? Below are 8 best practices that can lead to a profitable and lasting restaurant.

8 Best Practices for Running a Successful Restaurant

1. Market to past customers. These are the people most likely to come back and pay another visit. One cost-efficient way to do this is through email marketing. Obtain customer emails at the payment screen or via postcards with the bill. Grow your email list and nurture past customers to increase their lifetime value. Repeat customers are one of your most valuable assets and often are the ones who take the time to leave glowing online reviews.

2. Choose a reputable accounting software. The most popular software programs on today’s market are QuickBooks, Accounting by Wave, Sage 50, and Oracle Financials Cloud, but there are many others available. Seek recommendations from bookkeepers and accountants in your industry.

3. Invest in a robust point-of-sale system (POS). This is a critical software system that can make or break a customer experience and streamline every operation of your restaurant. A POS system tracks and records orders and completes payment transactions. Common systems used in the restaurant industry include QuickBooks, TouchBistro, LightSpeed Restaurant, and more. If you’re purchasing a new system determine what feature you utilize most and what features you don’t currently have that would streamline processes. For restaurants looking to purchase a POS system for the first time, research the features each system offers, read reviews, and consult with other restaurants in your industry.

4. Understand cash flow. Stay dialed into money in and money out with online accounting software. Focus on recurring monthly, quarterly or annual expenses. Can you cut back somewhere without compromising quality? Determine how funds are used to create value for the customer—and your restaurant. This will help to maintain a healthy cash balance. This is an essential component of running a restaurant.

5. Separate activities in the restaurant. A prime example of this is tracking beer sales and liquor sales separately. Same goes for expenses of these items. This practice ensures each activity is meeting expectations or highlights if corrective action is needed.

6. As a restaurant owner, it’s important to study competitors. Pick different restaurants and bars that have had success in your local footprint. Figure out their practices that have made them so successful and apply them to yours to improve operations.

7. Determine what makes your restaurant stand out. Do you have a unique selling proposition (USP)? Do you offer certain services or delicacies that are unique to your area?

Interested in reading more on this topic? Read our blog post, “Independent Restaurants: How to Stand Out.

8. Reduce food waste. How much money are you throwing in the trash? No, really. That’s exactly what happens when food is not fully utilized. Track and analyze the waste in the restaurant. Conduct inventory reviews to compare purchase and quantity of garbage. Change menus as needed and base your menu on food seasonality to minimize the quantity of leftovers. Reducing food costs can generate greater revenue.

Insurance Made to Order

Running a restaurant comes with unique challenges; we understand that. Society’s restaurant insurance program is tailored to the specific needs of your business. Contact your local Society agent to determine the restaurant insurance coverage necessary to protect your livelihood.

Read more: “What Types of Business Insurance Does your Bar or Restaurant Need?”


As a mutual insurance company, we operate and exist for the benefit of our policyholders. For more than 100 years, Society has been helping businesses overcome the unexpected with comprehensive coverage packages and outstanding claims handling, underwriting and risk management.

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