F&B Business Sustenance Checklist: Have you, have you not done? [By Liz Tan]


The likelihood of new business owners venturing into Food & Beverage (F&B) has never been lower till today but one commonly asked question we ask ourselves “Is this my best option and the easiest sector to get into?” Despite the play of supply and demand in F&B is thriving continuously, whereby instances of people in general is more willing to spend on good food – same stall OR some authentic cuisine – concept restaurants; why do we still encounter closing down of some F&B businesses?

One recent interview conducted with a successful F&B owner in Singapore, it was revealed that the strategy adopted by the restaurant was simply good quality food at affordable prices. Some have made and done it, several struggles to stay afloat and yet not many have pushed it through regardless using a similar business approach. There are plenty of opportunities in this industry and business owners need to explore in various perspectives to stay competitive so that it appeals to the masses.

Essentially, a few key points to share as a checklist to sustain your F&B business moving forward.

#1 SPACE | Always ensure that outlet area is maximised to increase overall efficiency level. Three key sections: dining, service and essentially, the kitchen. Think about the flow of logistics from the point of goods purchase and delivery, the layout of kitchen and food processing equipment, food serving counters, tables and seating arrangement, lights and temperature settings,  which all leads to an orderly work and dine environment.

#2 THE CHEFS | Very often the popularity and credibility of a restaurant Chef brings in the customers. Connecting the Chefs close to the hearts of customers are vital to ensure a consistency of frequency to a restaurant. A weekly appearance of the chef to the dining floor can be a good form of interaction with the guests. Next question, is how do we keep our Chefs – is money really everything? Sincere effort and mutual understanding perhaps. Always listen out to their ideas on food creation recommendation and build an ownership of them into the business e.g. a small percentage of shareholding and profits/dividends are declared and distributed proportionately.

#3 F&B MENU | Before a customer walks into your premise or deciding to take their seats, the restaurant menu sets the charm to one’s business. Whether you are drafting from scratch or instilling fresh ideas to an existing menu, this collateral should never be underestimated. Proper planning is essential including formulating the content having a brand story right to the name of dishes, type of food photography – close shots for stronger food emphasis, averaging ratio number of mains followed by starters, sides and desserts, placements for to-push items (usually the most lucrative ones) should be on the top right corner and least cost effective to the bottom left page. Very important to note that the ingredients that make up to the food listed in the menu is adequate to supply throughout till the next revision of your menu collateral. Otherwise, consider options such as seasonal inserts and table menu monthly specials. Hence, a sound menu balance is necessary gauging between reasonable food pricing and productivity level.

#4 FOOD PREPARATION | It is more feasible for F&B owners that have more than one outlet to conduct high volume cooking. This is an efficient way of preparing food which takes shorter waiting and serving time as well as ensuring a regular food taste. Alternatively, bigger F&B companies that have bigger spending power in optimising the effectiveness and efficiency level in production will opt for a central kitchen. Managing an extra kitchen is never easy, therefore it all boils down to appropriate and thorough planning before a decision to implementation.

#5 CUSTOMERS | Begin your business with your customers in mind. Most entrepreneurs sets their goal to make tonnes of money or to be millionaires when they have established their businesses. However, a good portion of successful F&B owners made it till today as their objective was to share the goodness and benefits of the food that they are selling. For example Subway is targeted on consumers who practise healthy lifestyle by including dietary information of total calories for each displayed menu.

#6 WORKING TEAM | Instill and encourage a strong sense of team spirit amongst staff members. Storing a positive working environment and team morale is crucial to grow the business. On the other hand, it is necessary to train staff to be future-ready, defining roles of each working member can avoid duplication and preventing unexpected service gaps. Inevitably this helps in providing objective performance evaluations and receiving valuable feedback sessions from the staff. A constant reminder to F&B business owners, that your People are the representation of your Brand.

Therefore, it is all about people management. Your customers matter, the working team as well, and they all matter a lot. We mentioned about space maximisation earlier whereby dining area is very critical for a smooth work flow. At the same time, do ensure that staff is accountable to keep customers happy and satisfied throughout the entire journey of customers’ experience.

From maximising seating capacities to customer-staff interaction space, you will learn that proper development of all of these, will be imperative in helping you improve an atmosphere that benefits your staff and your customers.

#7 FOOD TRENDING | If you are looking to operate an F&B business in a long run, it may be risky to establish a business that follows the hype. Trends come and go. You should have complete confidence in your product so that it creates brand loyalty and attracts return customers. For example, we saw food trends driving the dining scene such as the gourmet charcoal burgers, artisan coffees, bubble tea craves and gluten-free diet. Your product should be created to outlast these trends, something of its own originality that maintain or increases the demand of customers over time.

These are some basic key pointers that one F&B business owner should constantly refer to. Observe and examine everything your premise can offer to your guests, look at each aspect your staff members can do to work together to making it happen. There are resources within the company and externally, in the community. We must think and act holistically to be ahead in the market and further strengthen the business to greater heights.

Shall you need more clarifications on your F&B business, do not hesitate to drop us an email today at marketing@bdo.com.sg or alternatively, contact us on +65 6828 9118.

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