1. Know your trade. These days you need to know your strengths, whether it is cooking or in other parts of the business. If it’s not cooking, take a back seat and let your chef do it but be able to fill in for them if for any reason they can’t.
2. Understand your target market. Know who they are, how to reach them and what they want.
3. Know your key performance indicators. You need to understand your KPIs very well, especially your food and labour costs. This will help you understand your cash flow and what’s happening in your business, including whether someone is stealing from you.
4. Quality products almost always produce a quality dish. People are very educated about food these days – many through watching cooking reality shows – so don’t scrimp on quality.
5. Focus on customer service. Too many in this industry forget about the customer and instead think they are the stars of the show. If no one is buying your product because they are not getting the right service then the venture is pointless.
6. Value your staff. Not only should you reward good work but you should not be afraid to get rid of poorly performing staff. By looking after staff you get low turnover and consistency of product.
7. Plan your menu well. Stick to your skill set and remember who is going to be eating your food as well as where and how.
8. Be organised. There’s a lot that goes into cooking including organising storage and understanding products throughout. When you run a food business you have to wear many hats.
9. Get a good accountant. You need someone who is proactive; they don’t have to understand your industry but they need to be able to make suggestions. You should also outsource anything that you don’t have skills in, especially marketing.
10. Use social media. How successful you are with social media will often depend on the customers you are marketing to. Find out where you are getting responses and capitalise on them through targeted marketing.