11 Tips to Turnaround A Struggling Restaurant

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Declining cash flow, increasing food costs, and inability to make money are common issues that affect many restaurant owners than would be expected. It’s a tough, lonely, and frustrating place to be.

There are many factors responsible for a near-death experience in a restaurant business; some are self-inflicted like; a major project failure, incompetent management or poor financial control which are termed internal forces. While those that are not self-inflicted like; government intervention, the presence of low-cost competitors, economic recessions, or natural disasters are termed external forces.

The continuous survival and success of a restaurant depend on managing these forces internally and externally. Neglecting them can spell doom for your business.

As a hospitality consulting company, Curzon & Jones has dealt with issues of restaurant owners not making money and we have a proven action plan that has helped a lot of struggling restaurants.

Here are 11 tips to turnaround your restaurant cash flow


The first step to restructure a struggling restaurant is to conduct a diagnosis. Start with an evaluation or assessment. Look within the company. You have to know what the situation is and what the problem is. When you know the circumstances, you can now take appropriate actions. Below are steps to conducting an evaluation for your restaurant:

Define your business model

What’s your target? Have you changed business model more than once? Is your menu perfect? Does your restaurant have a direction? Do the taste of your meals fluctuate? Do you have bad reviews? What are the issues raised in these reviews? Is the business focused on the right brand positioning?

Analysing your Staff

Are your staff enthusiastic about sales?  Can they upsell? Are they trained? Are the right people running the restaurant? Are they experienced with food?  Does your chef follow the recipe card?  Are commission plans driving salespersons to focus on gross revenues or gross profits?


Are you competitive and profitable? Are cash flows sufficient to sustain ongoing commitments and operations? Is the business largely indebted? Are systems in place to get work done efficiently? Are things being done in the right way? Are policies facilitating work or hindering them? Do you reward high performance?

Your Customers

What is your customers’ feedback about your food? Are customers satisfied? Do they like your food? Are you targeting the right customers? Is your location attractive?

Ask questions, and answer these questions sincerely. The change process starts by being sincere to yourself.


Re-evaluation is the most critical restaurant turnaround strategy; without it, all other things are just frantic moves that will yield little results. Before you begin to act, know why and how.

Introduce New Meals to Your Menu

Lack of innovation is one of the warning signs of a struggling restaurant. It is impossible for a restaurant to remain relevant if new products and services are not introduced. People change, market change, technology change and so must your meals and offerings. At a time one of the restaurants we consulted for had a challenge with sales, it was at the point of closing down. One of the changes we effected was adding more meals that people loved to the menu. That was magical in itself.

If you cannot come up with ideas, you can seek professional help with Curzon and Jones.

Watch Out For Food Costs

Simply getting food costs right can turn a restaurant around. Cash, effort and time must be calculated. The cost of every item must be taken into account. Is your menu priced competitively, and does it cover the cost? The standard food cost on a menu should be between 30 to 40% premium. Design your restaurant menu with cost and profit in mind. Control your wastages, and put portion control in check.

Kill the Brand with Poor Trust

When customers begin to lose trust in a brand, negative word of mouth marketing starts to spread and the brand is no longer liked or trusted in the market. To correct this negative impression, you have to kill the old brand and create a new one!

This is all about giving your restaurant a new meaning, a face-lift and a new brand identity. This is why in almost every turnaround situation; the restaurant comes up with new marketing campaigns, new logos, new brand colors, and new slogans to let the market know that things are not the same as before. Curzon and Jones specializes in restructuring restaurants, let’s assist with your new brand identity.

Change your business model

Reviewing a business plan is great, but working on a business model is better. Business plans in most cases are simply guesses, but a business model generation will help you minimize the guesses.

Conduct through research to know the latest happenings in the hospitality industry, so as not to continue using outdated methods which do not work any longer.

Check your competitors’ method and improve on them

Is your restaurant dying due to fierce competition? Then try to do things differently. Take competition as a healthy means of building your brand. Try out giveaways and reward consistent clients. Contact Curzon & Jones for strategies to surpass your competition.

Don’t Give Up

Everyone holds out hope, even to the end.  Believe in yourself, and believe in your business. In every gloomy cloud, there is always a silver lining.  Also, try to separate your personal life from your professional life. Do not look at this as a personal failure. Rather, take the view that this is a professional challenge. Engage professional assistance, act like a professional. Be hopeful that things will work.


P:S  Because of your intimate involvement and attachment to your restaurant, this steps can rarely be implemented without professional help. Contact Curzon and Jones.  We guarantee our results. Contact us for a one-hour free consultation. You can also check out our website www.curzonandjones.com for effective restaurant management tips.


Ijeoma Ugamah
CEO, Curzon and Jones



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