How to Improve the Negative Image of Restaurants

Today’s society regards restaurants in a less than favorable light. People tend to look at careers in this industry as limited and only for the short term. Yet there are many great aspects of the restaurant business that are routinely overlooked. In addition to being the largest employer in the United States besides the government, restaurants have consistently shown job growth over the last twelve years. These are positive facts that are often overshadowed by the negative image assigned to restaurant employment in general.

The irony is that from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, restaurant work used to signify promise and the hope of owning a business someday. Once the 1980’s arrived, however, that image began to decay. With a sudden influx of people who believed restaurant ownership was an easy path to riches, many restaurants popped up all over the country.

But there’s a lot involved in running a successful restaurant. And many of these new owners didn’t know how to lead their establishments effectively. Employees were seen as dispensable commodities. Plus, shifts were long with low pay and no health benefits. Little by little, restaurant work got a bad reputation.

However, such a mindset can be reversed. By taking action and not allowing clichés to color what is actually a bright career choice in an otherwise shaky economy, this negative image can disappear over time.

Leadership Is Key

A restaurant can’t be good, if it doesn’t have strong leadership. But finding people who are talented managers means providing resources, continued training, good pay and respectful treatment. You can’t expect your establishment to be a positive place without investing in the people who run the business and empowering them to add their voice to your restaurant’s direction. Furthermore, when you have the right people in these top positions, the staff will be better workers as a result.

Respect Your Customers

Your employees are not the only ones who deserve dignity in your restaurant. Customers also need to feel they are being considered. You want them to enjoy the experience of eating with you. So don’t waste their time by making them wait long periods to be seated or to receive their food. And ask your consumers for feedback on a regular basis, especially if you are thinking of changing certain restaurant features.

Market Yourself

Seeking skilled employees and involving your customers are great ways to erase negative emotions about your restaurant. But there are other avenues to get the word out that you are a good place to work and to eat. Look for opportunities to expand what you offer, differentiating yourself from the competition. If nobody else in your vicinity provides a breakfast menu, for instance, think about adding this to your food choices. Also, consider catering to make your name and brand more visible.

Advertising is much more flexible now with social media at your fingertips. So take advantage of this chance to make potential employees and customers aware of you. In addition to traditional television and radio ads, there are now interactive websites, free online video tools such as YouTube and even smart phone apps to get your message across. The possibilities are quite endless.

 Your Efforts Can Help the Restaurant Industry

Although there is still a long way to go before the restaurant industry can restore its image, your efforts to find qualified and talented employees and treat them well are steps in the right direction. Sensitivity to your customer’s needs and thoughtfulness about the community around you can also make a difference. By ensuring your restaurant leaves a positive impression now, you’re doing your part to help the food service industry of the future.

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