Is it worth it to pay for a consultant to help improve your restaurant business?
As a consultant for restaurant /cafés and bars , I have observed that many F&B business owners do hesitate to hire a consultant's services simply as they think about this from expenses point of view but let me share with you few experiences and observations and at the end it is for you-The readers - to judge when a consultant's services are a must to have !
I have received a call from a business owner that doesn't have an F&B background but have decided to venture into the restaurant and bar business , his way to measure if his business is doing well or not is simply by checking his business bank account and check if that account goes higher or lower every month ! so he did notice that he is losing a couple of thousands from his account every month ...
The first thing that I have asked as a restaurant expert was :
Do you have any control measure tools in place ? Do you measure your cost of sale ? your staff cost Vs sale ? did you do costing for your recipes and do you know if selling each item that you sell on your menu is profitable or not ?
Basically I realized that this owner has none of that , here comes the first question , how would you measure a business performance and you know that action is needed if you don't set KPIs in place from first place ?
Sad enough , with minimal fee proposed to this caller , he simply thought about my proposal as an expense (knowing that for those who don't know much about how it works in countries with Tax such as in Canada , an owner can submit all expenses at the end of a financial year and the more expenses this owner has , the lower is the profit which means an owner has to pay less tax as tax is mainly on profits which means expenses are kind of compensated ) ,
If I was considered for sharing my experience with this particular owner , I could have simply educated him on creating some easy to fill excel forms , where he can enter his monthly expenses / purchases and get what is called cost of sale end of each month (as he didn't want to consider investing in any software ) , also I could have helped him to have a tool to measure his staff payroll expenses by setting a % goal that helps him to ensure that scheduled paid hours do not exceed his sales in terms of Staff/sales ratio.
A two control measures that can simply help placing his business on the track of being able to take actions when deviations occurs... yet he has decided to have this situation continuing the way it is and not to have any professional advises on this, did he win by saving these few bucks ? for you my readers to decide.
Another client called and they have a very busy and popular restaurant / bar that is expanding but apparently they don't have proper written SOPs in place nor what we call -Operating /Brand Manual that is the bible of a business especially for those who plan to expand to more locations or possibly to franchise out their business module , as well they don't have a proper monthly P&L statement that is linked to proper feeding channels ( Food and drinks monthly inventory ) to calculate cost of sale , proper staff to sale ratio calculator , proper calculation of other expenses and linking its ratio with the sales , rent to sales ratio etc..., here also i have proposed multi solutions , each solution is priced on a separate line so that the client can select from an a la carte service options instead of paying a bulk for all services if they wish to have this option , yet customer has decided to carry on and not to get this help to quantify and standardizing his business calculations , my simply question here is that by opening a second branch in another city , how would you train the new teams and how will you compare both locations figures and know which one is performing better not only with the top line -sales , but also in terms of expenses control and profitability ? unfortunately I find a lot of business owners that are running their business with a mentality that I have a good product to offer , I have clients , I have sales coming in , so all good ! and many of these business owners apparently have other businesses, so my question for them is simply , don't you want to have a nice dashboard that you check end of each month and know what is going well or not , and that you don't have to micromanaging your business and that you can measure a General Manager's performance and focus on other businesses ? if you don't have that tool , this means you will keep worrying about your sales every time it fluctuates and you wonder what is going on ! Another example i share with my readers for them to judge if hiring an expert to help setting tools and a dashboard that helps these business owners to have a better insight into their business is justified or not , not to forget the important of having a well tailored operating manual and SOPs that can be a great training tool for the staff and management alike.
In brief , I want to share that thinking about paid services as an expense only , and not as an investment into helping your business might not always be in favor of your future plans , especially if you are not a restaurant veteran , this business is not an easy business to manage that many might think and it has a lot of tricky parts that you need to measure on a timely manner for you to be able to tackle and take the necessary actions on time before it is too late!
Was founded in 2020 during the toughest times that the restaurant and overall F&B business has encountered due to the impact of the Covid and its aim is to share a 23 plus years of experience in Multi International F&B institutions to help operators and restaurant business owners to achieve their business goals .