The news that Jamie’s Italian, the restaurant chain owned by chef Jamie Oliver has gone into administration may have come as a shock to some but I don’t include myself in that group.
As someone with a penchant for food and drink, I can tell when a restaurant is in danger of going down the pan and usually the reasons for doing so are due to mistakes that can be easily rectified.
Below I give you five reasons as to why restaurants are failing with a few examples of places I’ve been to. Read on and feel free to add some more in the comments below.
Know your place!
A restaurant must know its place on the streets, especially the high street. Are they selling tasty, quality food at an affordable price or are they selling luxury food at high prices? What differentiates your restaurant from the other 20 restaurants in a town? Jamie’s Italian didn’t know its place at all and this is evidenced in the fact that its restaurants looked just like any other eatery in town apart from big signs telling me it was owned by the chef himself. People want beautiful decor, they want a good ambience and they didn’t really have that with Jamie’s.
In order to charge what restaurants feel they should, they need to analyse whether the price charged is worth it and sadly I don’t think this was taken into consideration. It most certainly wasn’t taken into consideration when the writing started to appear on the wall!
Italian food, in most people’s eyes, is a basic dish so…
Why should I pay £5.50 more for Jamie’s Italian Frutti Di Mare (seafood) pasta when I can get it a a short walk down the high street at Ask Italian for £12.50? I have a stomach to fill and my water bill to pay so Ask Italian it is!
Not only that, Jamie himself has a recipe for seafood pasta on his website!
This topic right here is one of my biggest bugbears. The customer holds the purse strings. A restaurant without money is nothing and the middleman between a restaurant’s bank account and a customer is the restaurant’s staff. Staff need to be:
- Quick on their feet
True Story: Daddy, the kids and I were at our local shopping centre and decided to eat there. We all felt like having burgers and normally we go to Gourmet Burger Kitchen but across from said burger joint was another, less busy one. It was the Handmade Burger Company and being in the possession of stomachs that believe in equal opportunities, we decided to try the place out.
The guy who served us, Tom was all of the above and more. He treated us all like he’d known us a while. His smile was genuine and warm and I really felt like he felt we were the best. We enjoyed our experience so much that we went again several weeks later and was again served by the same guy.
By contrast, a chain that’s in dire need of a customer service revamp is Giraffe World Kitchen. Daddy and I have been to the London Victoria branch twice and both times we waited quite a while at the door before being seated. The place wasn’t busy at all it’s that no one was keeping an eye at the door. The food arrived 40 minutes late and even when speaking to the manager our concerns weren’t actually taken into consideration because he looked like he was fed up of working there himself.
As it happens, Giraffe is also closing 21 of its stores here in the UK!
Marketing & Influencers
The world of Marketing has changed. Social media has a big part to play now and you can use influencers to help you reach a wider audience for your restaurant. Everyone has to eat so why not showcase your food with the help of social media? I’ve discovered amazing restaurants on Instagram and have made a note to visit them. All this of course, would be successful depending on the next point:
Make good food
Yes, I know it’s an important point which is why I decided that it should be last. A restaurant can be doing all of the above but if the food isn’t tasty, they are essentially setting themselves up to fail. Find out what kind of dishes customers are eating more of, use marketing (again) and don’t be afraid to change the menu if certain foods aren’t working.
So are people eating at restaurants less? Is that why it’s failing? My view is that, no, they haven’t. Restaurants have merely become complacent in a world that has changed and thus allowed people to make better food choices and to spend their money elsewhere.
Why do you think people are visiting restaurants less?