Top Tips for Running a Restaurant in NYC: Maintenance and More

Running a restaurant in New York City is no easy task. Many locally-owned restaurants have gone under since quarantine measures began. Whether you’re a manager or the owner and operator of a restaurant, the sheer energy, hard work, and maintenance that goes into keeping a place running. According to the statistic and fact site, Statista, there are an estimated 660,000 restaurants operating throughout the United States today. As such, it only makes sense that these managers and owners will need top tips for running a restaurant right.

Whether you’re new to the field or just relying on a little reminder, here are some of the top tips for running a restaurant that you should consider.

Check on your finances

With COVID-19 causing most of the United States’ restaurants to only offer take-out and delivery, it’s important to stay on top of your financial situation. Some restaurants have even started offering frozen foods options so that customers can make their favorite dishes at home. Before you start experimenting with your product or changing your restaurant, however, talking to your accountant, business attorney, and bank professionals is key.

After all, there’s never been a better time to engage in deep-cleaning services and remodeling projects, if you have the means. With fewer customers entering and leaving the building, you have ample time to engage in projects that you would have never thought possible.

However, many restaurants are also struggling, making this position a double-edged sword. The first thing you do before you start any projects is to monitor your financial status. You should actually be doing this regularly over the course of the year to ensure that your goals are on track. Don’t hesitate to talk to your accountant or banking professional before you allocate funds to big projects. If you don’t have the means right now, investing in simple repairs and fixes are still a great way to make use of this free time. If you’re considering taking out a business loan, it’s recommended that you sit down to talk to a business lawyer to lay out all of your options. Loans are common right now, but you still want to get a manageable loan with a low interest rate if you can.

Now that you have a better idea of your financial status, you can start running and properly maintaining your restaurant using the following tips.

Start small

Before you opt for larger projects, you should ensure the basic needs of your restaurant are met. When was the last time your restaurant had a deep clean? Is your furniture in need of repairs? These simple fixes can make all the difference when you’re finally able to open your doors again. The top tips for running a restaurant recognize that the little things are going to keep your doors open and your customers coming back for more.

Now is the perfect time to remodel your floors, replace any outdated features, and scrub the restaurant from top to bottom. Push all the furniture to one side and call a professional commercial cleaning company if your staff isn’t up to the job. Cleaning companies know how to use restaurant-friendly cleaning supplies that will keep your staff and customers safe. They will also have the right tools to get layers of grease and the occasional crayon drawing off the walls. Opting for a cleaning service is especially important now that summer is here.

One of the top overlooked summer cleaning issues is the need to clean your drains regularly. The heat and humidity mean that standing water can attract flies, gnats, and other bugs which can damage your produce and interfere with your daily operations. Since these bugs are often attracted to the humidity and warmth around drains, these can be a breeding ground for pests. If you’re not cleaning your drains at least once per week, you shouldn’t be surprised to see your bananas attracting flies on the countertop. Be sure to use the proper cleaning supplies, too. Otherwise, you might have drain problems down the line and few restaurants want to call a plumbing company if they don’t have to.

Speaking of plumbing, you should also take a look at your bathrooms. This isn’t considered the most important aspect of your restaurant, but a clean bathroom can say a lot about how your restaurant is maintained. After all, you wouldn’t expect a Michelin-rated restaurant to have a gross bathroom. If you simply have a toilet and a sink, now is the time to look for new bathroom cabinets to store cleaning supplies, invest in a proper bathroom fan, and maybe add some art to the walls to make the space more welcoming. You don’t need to have a hot towel service at the ready, but customers will notice the small features that make your restaurant stand out from the crowd.

Starting small will ensure you don’t overextend your budget on larger projects. Even though you might want a new stereo system for your restaurant, your guests will appreciate tables that don’t wobble and floors that sparkle. Consider these smaller projects before you pull out the big guns on larger issues in your restaurant.

Don’t forget the outside

The outside of your restaurant can be just as important as the inside, even if you’re on a busy block in New York City. If you’re not investing in the proper landscaping and outdoor features, people might pass your restaurant by. This doesn’t mean that you need to opt for outdoor seating and a fancy path leading up to your restaurant; rather, it just means establishing a welcoming atmosphere.

This means trimming shrubs, planting flowers, and investing in bark blowers to set the stage. You’d be surprised at what the right mulch can do for your garden. If you have the means, hanging beautiful potted plants can also be a welcome sight for customers trying to soak up the essence of spring and summer. Studies have shown that the presence of plants can increase worker productivity and make a place feel more inviting. Utilize these tips when you want to craft a more welcoming atmosphere.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even invest in hardscaping. This is essential if you have any patio seating or spaces for smokers outside. When your stone patio is looking a little worn-down, invest in hardscaping services to breathe new life into the space when you’re able to serve folks later this summer.

Working on the outside of your restaurant can also lead to some more costly options, too. Your roof, for example, should be inspected twice per year for the comfort of your customers. While hiring expert roofers to perform the inspection is usually pretty cheap, any repairs that are needed can add up fast. The cost of a new roof can run the gamut at thousands of dollars, but simple repairs and patches can only cost a few hundred if you hire the right contractors. It might be worth it to start a separate savings account designed for repairs, fixes, and necessary replacements to ensure your building is up to code.

Monitor your safety features

Safety is the name of the game if you’re looking for quality tips for running a restaurant. Even if your restaurant passes its inspection, you’ll still need to monitor your safety features a few times per year, especially in older buildings. It might be worth it to hire a sprinkler service to assess your current fire protection sprinkler system installation or give you an updated installation that better meets new codes. After all, these sprinkler systems are sometimes the only thing stopping a fire in the kitchen from reaching the rest of the restaurant.

You’ll also want to check on the quality of your fire extinguisher, reassess your fire exit plan, and ensure that you have phone numbers for emergency departments in the event that something goes awry. At the end of the day, running a restaurant is dangerous: high temperatures, open flames, slippery floors, and sharp knives make accidents common. If you’re not taking care of your restaurant and your employees, you might be put into jail over OSHA violations. While a bail bond agency can get you out of the slammer, you might lose your license to operate your business and be forced to close down.

Ensuring the safety of your employees and your customers is a top priority. If you’re unsure where to start, you can always opt for a safety inspection a few times each year to make any necessary fixes that arise.

Connect with your customers

Maintaining your restaurant is important, but it’s even more important to connect with your customers. During this time of social distancing and quarantining, it’s harder than ever to connect with your guests, let alone gain new customers. Using social media, regularly posting on your website, and sending out emails are among the best ways that you can show that you care.

One of the best tips for running a restaurant? Social media. These sites have become one of the primary ways that customers are able to connect with their favorite businesses. If your restaurant doesn’t have a Facebook page, an Instagram, or a Twitter, now is the perfect time to download those apps. Social media allows you to answer any questions that your customers may have during this difficult time. It’s also a great way to keep your guests informed regarding the changes that happen in your restaurant, especially when it comes to changing hours, new menu items for takeout, and when you plan on re-opening in the future. Use these outlets to post images of your staff, show appreciation for your employees, and even host social media events that give away coupons or prizes. This is especially great if you happen to have custom printed tshirts with your restaurant’s label. Customers love supporting local businesses and free merchandise (or merchandise won through contests and donations) can even make you trend on your local social media feeds. It’s no wonder why a growing number of restaurants are partnering with IT professionals and marketing companies to maintain and grow their business.

Speaking of which, it’s also important that your customers know that their data is protected. Since most people are ordering online via credit card, it’s vital that you invest in a secure payment system that keeps your customers’ information safe. The first sign of a breach in security could cause you to lose business. Rely on an IT disaster recovery service to maintain your records, security, and more, especially if you happen to offer free Wi-Fi in your restaurant.

Consider your marketing

If you don’t have a marketing plan for your restaurant, now is the best time to plan for the rest of the year. After all, businesses will be vying for customer attention once you’re able to serve people in person again. If you’re not able to stand out from the other restaurants in your area, you might end up going under.

Partnering with a good digital marketing company can make all the difference. They can teach you how to streamline your website, get higher rankings on search engine results pages, and connect with those fans you have on social media through social media management programs. One of the best tips for running a restaurant is that you shouldn’t have to go through these things alone. Partner with other businesses to reap the rewards of quality collaboration.

Rely on these tips for running a restaurant

Managing a restaurant isn’t easy, which is why owners and supervisors should always be looking for the best tips for running a restaurant. Times are tough during this period of uncertainty, especially in New York City, but they also offer ample opportunity for those restaurants that want to make a change. If you’re looking for tips for running a restaurant, rely on these ones to start your journey off on the right foot.