9 Tips for Running a Restaurant from Restaurateur Brian Duffy

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Here’s How This Famous Chef Can Help Restaurant Owners Like You

Being a culinary expert on Spike’s popular TV show “Bar Rescue” is no easy feat. Chef Brian Duffy has worked his way up the ranks, starting as a young child cooking up meals in the kitchen with his big Irish-Italian family. Eventually studying at Philadelphia’s The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College and working under James Beard Award winner Chef Jean Marie LaCroix, he now is a consultant and Executive Chef at Seafood American developing products for grocery chains globally.

But why are we – Direct Capital, a financing and leasing company – mentioning Chef Duffy? Because we think he can help restaurant owners like you.

We partner with a number of nationwide franchise brands, and provide financing for thousands of their restaurants, with the hope of helping you see more success and grow your business exponentially. Chef Duffy , while he may not be a financing partner, is a friend to restaurateurs like yourself.

He works with restaurants across the country, helping them update their menus and coach them through, what his website calls, “much needed facelifts.” We are looking to Chef Duffy’s 9 tips for running a successful restaurant, originally shared with Nation’s Restaurant News, to guide you on your journey to prosperity.

Chef Duffy’s Tips for Success

  1. Hold pre-shift meetings: Duffy said he holds meetings before every shift so the staff knows exactly what’s going on for the day/night. They’re aware of what the specials are, what’s in them, how they’re cooked, and how they should be served. Sometimes, he said, it can be fun to announce contests each night like, for example, which server could sell the most dessert. “It’s a time for positive energy,” he said, “You want them to be excited to run the next shift.”
  2. Don’t hide your budget from the staff: If your team doesn’t know what your sales goals are, they’re going to have a pretty tough time trying to hit them. Duffy says you should share this information before each pre-shift meeting and explain your balance sheet to the chefs so they can be held accountable for targeted food costs.
  3. Utilize your team for marketing: “A lot of people fail because they don’t tap into people working directly with them,” Duffy told Nation’s Restaurant News. Chances are, 50% of the people on your staff are within the demographics of customers you want to hit. Utilize them to help you market to your target audience. They’ll know how and if you are missing the mark, and what you can do to change it.
  4. Have uniforms: Ever wander into a store or a restaurant, need a question answered, and have no clue who to ask? Duffy says, “Individuality creates chaos,” so invest in some new uniforms for your restaurant; for your brand.
  5. Taste test your menu before settling: Duffy asks restaurant owners to really think about who is developing their menu. Are you insistent on selling a product that isn’t selling? Do you have menu items that aren’t good for your target audience? Chef Duffy suggests getting your customers involved. Run specials on products you might want to try in the future and get their feedback. Ask if they liked it and if they would order it again. Don’t waste further time, money, or efforts on ideas that just won’t sell.
  6. Plan ahead: And he doesn’t mean plan for the next week. Duffy says he plans for special events – like holidays, the Super Bowl, etc. – weeks in advance. In early February, writes Nation’s Restaurant News, Duffy will begin prepping for St. Patrick’s Day, and he starts Super Bowl planning in early December. Determine ways to keep customers in the restaurant and engaged both before and after an event. Choose people on your staff and delegate specific responsibilities early on.
  7. Hire smart and slow: Don’t hire someone on the fly because a staff member called out and you’re a man (or woman) short. In order to hire the best staff, and ensure all of the ideas in this article are followed through with, you need people that are on board.
  8. Use social media to engage: That’s what social media is supposed to be for, but, Duffy says, he often sees Facebook status updates that are not engaging in the least. He suggests starting to post early in the day and asking your fans what they want to see on the Happy Hour or specials menu that day.
  9. Create a mission statement: They matter. Determine what it is your company wants to do, what you want the restaurant to be, and post it everywhere so your customers and your employees know it. And, most importantly, stick to it.

Need Financing to Make These Changes?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

Some of the changes you might want to put in place after reading this can be costly. Hiring new staff, implementing social media tools, buying new uniforms, hosting special events and needing more space, or trying new marketing efforts won’t always come cheap.

If you’re ready to take these next steps, but need some help along the way, turn to Direct Capital. We will help you finance anything your restaurant business needs. Just give us a call at 866-777-0117 or fill out our online form to get started!


1 Comment

  1. These are some good tips for anyone who wants to open a restaurant. I’ve worked at a restaurant before, and I can vouch for the importance of keeping energy high and shifts tightly organized. When there’s a lot of pressure and people running around big equipment, tensions can flare. Having a plan and organization can make all the difference.

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