There are many, many places to get a great burger. You can go to numerous chain burger places like McDonald’s or Five Guys. However, you can also go to a local place with a unique atmosphere and menu. Because of this, opening a burger business means competing with many other restaurants. Entrepreneurs who want to take this ride need to have a clear set of goals to guide them.
The burger segment has grown over 5% in the past 5 years. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. While having a great burger recipe, a great environment, and affordable prices may get people interested in a burger establishment, restaurant owners will find it hard to grow if they do not set the right goals for their business.
Having clear goals will help entrepreneurs keep their eyes on the direction they want to take their business. Those goals can also serve as measuring sticks to show how far the business has come or how far it still needs to go. In this article, we’ll share a few important goals burger businesses should set.
Create a Signature Sandwich or Sandwich Line
One thing all great burger businesses have in common is a signature sandwich. A signature sandwich is a burger that stands as an example of the quality the restaurant can produce. Signature sandwiches are usually uniquely made and served. Think of it as one of the main reasons why a person would visit your burger place instead of McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s.
Having a signature sandwich is crucial. It offers customers something that they can’t find elsewhere. It goes beyond just a meal, transforming into an experience, a narrative that connects the business to its patrons on a deeper level.
Creating a signature burger serves as an emblem of identity. Creating the right sandwich distinguishes the business from a sea of competitors. You can do things like make the patty with a particular type of meat such as American Wagyu. You’ll also want to pay attention to the little details such as the bun-to-meat ratio. These little things may not seem like a big deal but to those who love burgers, they are.
When executed well, it acts as a conversation starter. This also encourages word-of-mouth publicity. That type of publicity is important as it is often more authentic and persuasive than traditional advertising.
Improve Food Quality
Although the atmosphere and a signature sandwich are important to a burger business, people will always judge an establishment by the food quality. As we mentioned before, there are an endless number of restaurants that serve burgers. One way to stand out from the crowd is to have a reputation for having quality food. In fact, improving food quality should be a goal for any food business.
This implies the meticulous selection of ingredients. Be sure that only the freshest and most wholesome products make their way to the table. Be sure that the taste of the food is consistent from day to day. Regular customers want to know that when they go to an establishment, their food will be consistently good.
To make sure that you are improving food quality, conduct taste tests with staff. Also, introduce new items that your customers can try as an option. Then, solicit feedback from both your staff and customers. See which items will make their way to the menu permanently and which ones you should not pursue.
Keep Expenses Low
In the pursuit of excellence, a burger business should also set a goal of managing its financial health. This can be a challenge for food establishments that are typically known for being an alternative to more expensive meals. Over the years, inflation has caused the prices of everything to increase. This includes the ingredients needed to make meals. Food prices have seen an increase of about 4% for the past 5 years.
This not only affects your costs but also the customer’s expectations. Customers who may be fine with buying an $8 burger may not be willing to spend $14 for the same sandwich. That is why burger businesses need to find a way to keep expenses low not only to maintain profits but to avoid losing customers over price.
Keeping expenses low does not necessarily mean compromising on quality. Instead, it involves smart strategies such as bulk purchasing, minimizing waste, and adopting energy-efficient kitchen appliances. It is also important to take inventory management seriously. Restaurant owners can also streamline operations. This can be done by incorporating technology that can reduce labor costs and enhance efficiency.
Improve Margins on Best Selling Items
A crucial strategy for financial buoyancy in the burger business is focusing on enhancing the profit margins of the best-selling items. A mistake many restaurant owners make is trying to load up their menu with as many items as possible to cast a wide net to their diners. The hope is that those visiting the burger business will find many things on the menu that they like which may increase the amount purchased.
However, instead of trying to introduce new items to increase profits, owners of burger businesses may want to improve margins on their current best-selling items. The good news is that burgers are typically a higher margin item compared to other food items such as wings. This means that finding ways to maximize individual sandwich profits or increase sales of burgers should be a focus.
For example, if your signature burger is your best-selling item, perhaps you should create a smaller version of the sandwich. This can help increase sales since the burger may be a better fit for children or perhaps people who feel as though the signature sandwich is too big or high in calories.
Keep Staff Turnover Low
The restaurant and food service business has a notoriously high staff turnover rate. Currently, in the U.S. the restaurant industry turnover rate is 79.7% over the past 10 years. This is a major problem for restaurant owners as they may struggle to keep capable people that will help them run their business. That is why keeping staff turnover low is a significant goal for any restaurant to shoot for.
Keeping staff turnover low is a significant challenge. However, it is not impossible to do. Owners and management should work to create a positive and nurturing work environment. It is important to make employees feel valued and motivated. This can be done by listening to their concerns and addressing them in a timely manner. Don’t brush them off or put off doing things that will make their jobs easier.
Another way to keep your employees is by offering competitive salaries and benefits. Many people will stay on a job not only for the salaries but for other benefits. This could include health insurance, tuition reimbursement, or some sort of retirement plan contribution match.
While offering these types of benefits may not be possible for a burger business that is just starting out, as the business grows, owners should look to incorporate these benefits to lower turnover and increase overall employee satisfaction.
Open a Second Location
Once you’ve established a great location that is thriving, the next ambitious goal for a burger business could be to open a second location. This is a big step and requires careful planning. It also requires a deep understanding of the market dynamics. A feasibility study should precede this move. This will help you evaluate the potential areas based on consumer demographics and competition.
Here are some things that should be reviewed during a feasibility study:
- Economic Feasibility-This looks at the amount of input needed to open a second location. This includes things like labor, infrastructure, utilities, etc)
- Market Feasibility-This focuses on the current and future market potential of the new location. It also addresses the business’ target customers and competition.
- Technical Feasibility-Here, you analyze the reliability of the technology to be used to open the second location.
- Financial Feasibility-This means analyzing financial sustainability of the new location. You will also look at your ability to meet debt obligations and cash flow over the long term.
- Management Feasibility– Here, you will address who will be running the second location and their ability to duplicate the first location’s success.
Once you feel comfortable with the results of your study, you will be able to take definitive steps toward opening a second location. Just about every food establishment can set this goal if they want to grow. This can even be a goal of a food truck burger business. If all goes well, you will be able to replicate the success of the first location or even surpass it.
Win a Local Award
Local newspapers, television stations, and other media outlets love to hand out local awards to businesses that stand out in their city or community. For any food establishment, winning one of these awards gives their business a stamp of approval from the local foodies and critics.
A goal for your growing burger business may be to gain local recognition by winning one of these awards. Doing so will give your establishment free marketing and drive extra foot traffic to your location.
To increase your chances of winning a local food award, become familiar with the different types of awards given out by these media platforms. Take note of past winners to know your competition. Review the reasons why these publications chose those particular establishments. Was it a critic’s vote? Perhaps it was done by a survey of the public. Either way, it is best to know the ins and outs of the contests so you can position yourself to meet their expectations.
Some awards are given by customer votes. If you’re eyeing a particular award that is decided this way, be sure to use social media to encourage people to vote for your burger spot. Also, hand out flyers at your restaurant that let people know where they can vote for your business as the #1 burger restaurant. All of this may help put you in a position to be crowned one of the best in your city.
Making a good burger may be easy for a skilled cook. However, running a successful burger business takes an entirely different set of skills. Entrepreneurs should be sure they understand their goals to make sure they’re on the right track. As the business flourishes, adhering to these goals can carve out a niche in the market.
With strategic planning and a commitment to these goals, the business can aspire to become a well-known spot to grab a great-tasting burger.