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Tackling multi-concept restaurants challenges

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By ItsaCheckmate on March, 22 2023
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Running a restaurant is challenging enough, but managing multiple concepts under one roof in a single kitchen takes hospitality complexities faced by operators to a whole new level. Increasingly popular, more restaurant operators are venturing into multi-concept restaurants as a way to capitalize on their area's local customers' culinary expectations.  Done properly, multi-concept restaurants can provide restaurant owners with a more consistent and diverse stream of revenue.

This guide explores the unique challenges that multi-concept restaurants often face, explores why they are growing in popularity, and covers some helpful tips for these restaurant operators.


Why do restaurants incorporate multiple concepts into one kitchen

Multi-concept restaurants have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their ability to offer customers unique dining experiences under one roof. Will cover 4 key reasons why restaurant owners are switching to or choosing multi-concept restaurants:

1. Increased profitability through resource maximization

By adopting a multi-concept model, restaurants can maximize their profitability by utilizing their pre-existing resources, such as kitchen space, equipment, and staff, more efficiently. This results in lower overhead costs and reduced waste. 

2. Better targeting of local markets

By offering multiple concepts, restaurant owners can attract a broader customer base leading to higher revenue.  Multi-concept restaurants allow owners to cater to the specific tastes and preferences of the local market. By offering a variety of cuisines, owners can satisfy the culinary preferences of a diverse range of customers. For example, if the restaurant is situated in an area with a sizable Italian population, it can offer Italian cuisine alongside other concepts, which in turn, will help attract and retain customers.

3. Steady & diverse revenue stream

Providing customers with a wide range of options reduces the risk of losing business due to menu fatigue or changes in dietary preferences.  For example, if your restaurant struggles to draw a breakfast crowd, you may want to try launching a breakfast-only concept that allows your existing staff to focus on delivery orders business during hours that typically suffer from a lack of dine-in guests.  This can lead to a steady revenue stream, even during slow periods. 

  1. Increased presence and visibility

Offering multiple concepts in one location also increases the restaurant's presence and visibility in the community. In addition, multi-concept restaurants can leverage cross-promotion and marketing efforts to entice customers to try different concepts offered by the restaurant, increasing the potential for repeat business.


6 challenges faced by multi-concept restaurant operators

These benefits could be appealing to many, but as always with many business decisions, operating a multi-concept restaurant has its own set of challenges - ranging from managing multiple menus to reconciling sales and transactions across platforms.  Let's look at the key challenges of multi-concept restaurants:

Challenge #1: Managing orders from multiple sources

One of the key challenges of operating a multi-concept restaurant is managing orders from multiple sources for multiple brands simultaneously. With the ever-increasing popularity of online ordering, keeping track of orders across concepts and ordering platforms, avoiding manual order entry errors, and ensuring timely delivery can be a daunting task for restaurant owners.  Ditching delivery tablets and having all of your orders from third-party platforms directly integrate into your POS is critical to ensuring consistently accurate and timely deliveries.

Challenge #2: Managing multiple menus across different brands

By their nature, multi-concept restaurants run multiple menus and offerings simultaneously. With different cuisines and brand identities, ensuring consistency and accuracy in menu offerings can be a complex task.  Multi-concept restaurants are also typically on multiple online ordering platforms, an integrated menu management system allows restaurant operators to manage all of their menus in one place instead of having to update their menus on each individual platform.

Challenge #3: High commissions & reconciling sales across platforms

While these marketplaces can provide access to a wider customer base and are key to scaling sales for multi-channel restaurants, high commission fees can significantly impact restaurant profitability.  It can be time-consuming to identify accounting differences between your POS, bank statements, and 3rd party delivery partners.  Having an accounting reconciliation system designed for restaurants is key to success in this area.

Challenge #4: Gathering comprehensive data for decision-making

The next major challenge faced by multi-concept restaurants is gathering comprehensive data for decision-making. Sales, customer feedback, and marketing efforts generate large amounts of data. It can be difficult to collect, analyze, and use such data effectively to make informed decisions for the restaurant.  Having the ability to collect and optimize your offerings based on this data is critical to the success of multi-concept restaurants.

Challenge #5: Customer experience and brand across multiple concepts

With a range of different menus, cuisines, and brand identities, ensuring a seamless and satisfying customer experience consistently can prove to be difficult over time. As it is often said, the customer is king. In today's world, maintaining consistent customer experience across multiple concepts is key to ensuring great customer reviews.  Maintaining consistent messaging for multiple brands across multiple platforms such as websites, social media accounts, and online ordering systems is a unique challenge that many restaurant operators struggle to effectively manage.

Challenge #6: Operational complexity of multiple concepts

With different cuisines, menus, and operational requirements, ensuring efficient operations across all concepts is a task that requires a large team. Managing and training the team to work like a well-oiled machine requires a significant amount of time and effort.

However, every problem has a solution. As with most problems today, challenges in restaurant operations can easily be overcome by utilizing technology solutions. 


4 tips for running a successful multi-concept restaurant

#1: Take time to define responsibilities, recipes, and service protocols early

Set clear expectations of ownership for different responsibilities for each concept to ensure that everyone has clear expectations on what they are accountable for.  Spend time developing recipes and service protocols early in the process. This will ensure consistency across all concepts and streamline operations.  Train employees in all areas of the restaurant so they can work across all concepts. This will help optimize labor costs and ensure a consistent service level service even during peak seasons.

#2: Create meals utilizing the same raw ingredients and existing purveyors

Create meals primarily using the same raw ingredients that the main brand uses. This will help keep food costs down, besides simplifying inventory management.  Use existing purveyors for each concept to maintain consistency and simplicity. This will help ensure that all dishes have the same high-quality ingredients regardless of the concept.

#3: Consider similar menus at different price points

A good way to begin is by creating a menu that is similar to the main brand but more casual or more upscale. This will allow restaurants to offer dishes at different price points, making it easier to attract more customers.

#4: Regularly assess the performance

Regularly assess the performance of each concept to identify areas for improvement. Use restaurant data analytics tools like ItsaCheckmate to track order statuses, cancellations, revenue fluctuations, order errors, location availability, and more across all of your sales channels.

Using these tips, restaurant owners can help optimize and organize their multi-concept restaurant operations in a way that enables consistent and high-quality dining experiences across all their concepts.


Conclusion

Running a multi-concept restaurant presents unique challenges, but the benefits, including increased profitability and consistent revenue streams, make it an appealing option for many restaurant owners. By addressing the challenges mentioned above, restaurant owners can streamline their operations and maximize profitability. Additionally, adopting advanced tech solutions like ItsaCheckmate can greatly assist restaurant owners to overcome these challenges and offer high-quality experiences time and again.

 

ItsaCheckmate, the center of a multi-channel restaurant digital ordering business

ItsaCheckmate is a comprehensive order aggregator and menu management tool that allows multi-concept restaurant owners to streamline their delivery operations and instead shift their focus toward delivering a superior dining experience.

 

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