8 Restaurant Challenges That Will Continue in 2018

At the end of every year, articles abound regarding what may come in the next year. But to be productive and continue to grow your business, it is perhaps more helpful to review what won’t change—and learn to address those challenges.

Job Churn

One of the biggest challenges for restaurants employee retention and turnover. In fact, there are plenty of jobs across the industry, but keeping good employees (and keeping them happy) can be difficult. Develop the team members that you have, hire quality people who will stick around, and invest in building into your existing employees so that they can take on more responsibility and senior roles. Your employees will have more success and more satisfaction on the job, and that’s how everyone wins.

Improving Customer Service

The more you invest in customer service—and training your staff to excel in it—the less you’ll have to put into marketing your business. When consumers have great experiences in your restaurant, they will come back, and they’ll tell others. Likewise, a poor experience will not only keep that customer away, but they’ll tell others their horror story as well. So the value of great customer service may be difficult to measure initially, but it has a direct effect on your bottom line. Patrons want to be treated as people, not just customers, and they’ll enjoy even an average meal more when they have that experience. Even great food can’t overcome poor service.

Professional Development

Training new employees is often a short and relatively overwhelming process with stacks of information hurled at them just so they can quickly get “on the job.” But company culture and vision can get lost in the process. Revisit your training procedures to ensure they are effective and engaging, and support your brand culture instead of just onboarding new staff.

Preventing Sexual Harassment

The food services industry has some of the highest reported incidences of sexual harassment in the workplace. For this to change, restaurant leadership must be consistent in providing education and addressing/regulating behavior to reduce and hopefully eliminate the problem. Particularly in this cultural climate, sexual harassment cannot be ignored or swept under the rug.


Fads and trends can quickly overwhelm and distract from what is really important in your business. The actions you take in your business are important, but the actions you don’t take can be equally impactful. Make decisions based on what will advance your business (measurably), improve your staff, please your patrons, and increase the bottom line. Whatever doesn’t fit those criteria shouldn’t make the cut. And that can also include staff members that aren’t contributing fully. Require your staff to give 100%; outliers that are just coasting along can spoil everyone else’s work ethic.


Most of your productive staff is doing the work, teaching the work, or leading the work. But at the visionary level are the those who understand how all this works, and, even more, why it’s being done at all. The effective business masters the basics, yet does everything—at every level—for a purpose.

Simplify Processes

Over time, it’s natural for processes to become overly complicated as many “cooks” stir the pot. Make this year a time to simplify and standardize processes—and hold staff accountable to it. You’ll be more efficient, and bringing on new staff will be much more effective.

Change for Success, Not for the Sake of Change

What are your goals for this next year? If nothing changed, what would your business look like in the middle of 2018? Or by next December? Make changes that will improve conditions for your staff, customers, and bottom line. And put more effort into bolstering what is already effective and doesn’t need to be changed. While others are jumping into new fads and following the latest ideas, make necessary changes—but only for your success, and not for the sake of change itself.

Make 2018 a year of returning to basics with streamlined processes, improved internal culture, and building on what is already great in your business.

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