Before we explore, let’s look at Jamie Oliver the brand.
Jamie Oliver is a worldwide phenomenon. He burst on the scene decades ago with his book and TV series, “The Naked Chef”. He brought cool cooking to the masses with his manic presenting style. His catchphrases like “pukka” and his Essex estuary drawl became trademark styles.
Love him or loathe him, he became a millionaire chef, writer, media celebrity and business owner.
His social enterprise “Fifteen” was admired by many for taking the disadvantaged youth and turning them into driven cooks.
Liquidation of restaurants – was it inevitable?
The Jamie rise seemed unstoppable – until the train hit the buffers and his chain restaurant “Jamie’s Italian” liquidated.
Well not quite – 12 of the 37 outlets closed with its 11 year expansion coming to an abrupt halt.
The fall though is hardly unique: giants like Prezzo, Pizza Express, Carluccios and Byron Burgers have seen closures, amid profit warnings. Yet, only five years ago, restaurants and cafés seemed immune from falling high street footfall and the sight of a new chain opening in any town or city was commonplace.
Consumer habits have changed.
Supermarkets saw this coming and began abandoning giant shops on the outskirts of any town. They realised the smaller local shop with lower overheads and a more captive casual shopper would bolster profits more.
If you know Sheffield, and Meadowhall, as we do, you may recall the vast hangar-like space of Sainsbury’s that shrank over the years into sub outlets.
Marks and Spencer did the same – therefore more common now at petrol stations than in towns.
Jamie Oliver plunged £3 million of his own money into his ailing empire in December 2019, but a third of his restaurants closed.
Is it all darkness and gloom then for the food industry?
As leading business cash advance suppliers without risk, PDQ Funding would say no.
Sourcing additional business finance may be a temporary solution to businesses like Jamie Oliver’s. There’s other ways we’re seeing from our clients of starting a restaurant well and growing it.
So what can you do after that six month honeymoon period?
Here’s our first five top tips for starting and sustaining a profitable food outlet.
- There’s riches in niches. Find out what your local demographic like and then focus on that, without diversifying too much. If your location is rural, your catchment may like traditional food. They may be prepared to pay a high price for high quality fare. A city centre situation may need more thought. Though if you look at places like Manchester, there’s whole areas devoted to one cuisine – namely Chinese and Asian. Rusholme has its own “curry mile” and why would anyone set up a burger chain there when the clientele mainly turn up for curry?
- Invest in social media. Your target demographic is likely to be on Instagram. That channel is perfect for food and drink photos. You don’t have to pay an agency a king’s ransom to post photos. You can do it on your smartphone. The key is to keep posting, engaging and finding followers who will buy your products in your area. Instagram has a younger audience too, which may be perfect for your business.
- Make your booking digital, then, as a result, more clients will reserve. People will ring up to book a table yes and you want to encourage that. 83% of the population who browse online on smartphones will therefore want to book a table for a set time and date. It’s good for your business too longer term in that it is a data capture exercise. You grow a tribe who you can email or text (if they’ve opted in) with seasonal offers, fixed menus, special dishes and discount offers.
- Get feedback online. Google reviews will not only show on maps but they affect search. They don’t all have to be 5 star and glowing. You will encounter negative ones – the key here is to respond and ask how you can make things better next time. They may even alter their review if responded to professionally.
- Hire the right staff. Restaurants are front facing, client centric. Someone may go easy on sub standard food and drink – which you can fix easily with a bill deduction – customers are less forgiving of rude or inattentive staff. They’re more likely too to write a negative post online for poor service than for poor food.
How a business cash advance can help:
- Reward loyalty. There’s a reason people shop at Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose and one of them is that they get loyalty points. Many supermarkets have even moved loyalty rewards from physical cards to apps. These have a unique ID and rack up points and offers. Some restaurants have made card transactions app based – in the style of Tesco Pay. This acts as a payment gateway and loyalty scheme. A business cash advance could lead to you implementing a successful loyalty schem
- Offer food delivery. Not all consumers want the hassle of eating out and you’ve seen the numbers of Deliveroo couriers with those big backpacks carrying food to homes. You need to ride that wave (or bike) too by investing in food delivery.
- Implement free WiFi. Admittedly as networks become more generous with data, the demand for this has eased. But a strong, open network will not only win you diners, but also, if set up correctly, be another data capture strategy on sign in.
- Promote happy hour or fixed priced menus and this should reduce times where you’re quieter. Set menus are a staple in Europe, where a starter, main and dessert with limited choices is offered. It’s something you could offer too – by reducing price, and restricting choice, you could see footfall increase exponentially. Your takings in the average month should rise.
- Invest in your business. Often to raise money, improve cash flow, you have to invest and when times are lean, this may seem counter-intuitive but it shouldn’t be. With a business cash advance from us, you can be sure that your food business can expand without the onerous fixed repayments of a business loan. The application process is straightforward and we offer an easy way to expand without fixed repayments, via your card terminal.
Ready to apply?
It couldn’t be easier to apply for a business cash advance UK without risk from PDQ Funding. Simply click the button below and then complete our short application form. Once received one of our relationship managers will be in touch to guide you through the rest of the process. For more information on how we can help your restaurant with a business cash advance, feel free to browse our website.