Restaurants are places that provide variety and ambience which makes its customers come back to them for more. It’s not just specific and niche restaurants, even multi-cuisine restaurants have repeat customers who come looking for a break from daily ennui. However, running a restaurant could be one’s passion, but it comes with its share of problems that have to be faced day in and day out. Dealing with them requires the right strategy and restaurant specific solution. It is here that astro-strategist Hirav Shah comes into picture. His solutions are highly customised and bang on
Food is not just simply what one eats as a daily activity. Food is one’s cultural and ethnic identity. It showcases the specific dietary habits of a certain place and this holds true across the world. And not everyone gets a chance to travel the world and taste local foods. And that’s where restaurants come in. Apart from serving the local cuisines, speciality and niche restaurants serve food of different nations. Can you believe that when hopping around Scotland a friend of mine spotted a Nepali restaurant in the heart of Scotland?
Restaurants are places where memories are made. Most people have an emotional connection with restaurants that they frequent and like in one of Agatha Christie’s novels, where Monsieur Poirot finds the villain when he orders a dish other than the one his brother was ordering for years, restaurants are spaces where one feels ‘at home’.
Well, your mom could be the best cook in the world, but still the appeal of a restaurant is on a different level. It means getting to eat something that is out of routine, eating something that is not home cooked, spending happy moments with friends, family or both.
While eating at roadside inns was happening ever since humans settled in groups, in the West, the early versions of modern restaurants came from France, when a culinary revolution was launched in 18th century Paris. However, much before that, about 600 years prior to that, a true restaurant culture came about in China.
It is said that first-ever restaurants popped up around 1100 AD in China when some of their cities boasted of million urban inhabitants. According to history, there cannot be restaurants without a hungry, urban population. So, given this context, the first fine-dining restaurant was opened in America in New York City in the 19th century.
And the rest is history.
What makes restaurants popular…
1) Freshness: Most restaurants serve food that is local and fresh. Of course, there is criticism that fancy restaurants increase the carbon footprint of foods, most restaurants serve freshly made food.
2) Flavour: Humans love their food. But they love change and restaurants offer this change from the routine. It’s not variations in local cuisine, but restaurants also offer dishes from world cuisine, which keeps them asking for more.
3) Supporting local economies: The supply chain and logistics associated with restaurant business provides employment to many. They also aid the farmers and producers of raw materials in maintaining their livelihood.
4) Marketing benefits: Restaurants help in building a good customer base that in turn helps the various businesses that it thrives on. It is a good support system for businesses that want some publicity and PR.
5) Cost benefits: Fancy restaurants might burn a hole in one’s pocket. But again, such restaurants are confined to the crème de la crème of society. The rest of the lot, even fine-dining restaurants are worth the price one pays, given the ambience and the dishes that it offers.
6) Environment-friendly: Today, you have vegan restaurants and niche restaurants that work in tandem with the ecosystem of a place. Restaurants encourage organic farming, which is healthy for Earth and sourcing locally reduces the carbon footprint.
7) Preserve the countryside: Restaurants help communities in villages as they source fresh produce from them. It is both cost-effective for them and it also provides the best of the ingredients and products.
Challenges of restaurant industry and need for revenue forecasting
■ Fluctuating ingredient costs: Prices are not fixed and this leads to overall impact on the revenues that the restaurant makes.
■ Increasing competition: There is intense competition that a restaurant faces as the market is flooded with various other restaurants that offer similar food and probably similar ambience. So, it’s a daily struggle to stay ahead in the race with good marketing, PR, social media messaging, reviews, deals, offers, etc. All this needs money and strategic planning.
■ Manpower problems: Working in restaurants is hectic. It is no easy task. Also, the salaries are not a huge draw in the restaurant industry. So, if there is a chance of making a few extra bucks, the staff could leave with minimal notice.
■ Real estate issues: Restaurants have to constantly deal with issues regarding rents. When reality is healthy, then prices of places shoot up. Added to this, even if the restaurants own their space, if land prices fluctuate in their surrounding localities, it impacts them directly, for good or for worse. Then there is tax on property and various other business related taxes that they have to shell out. High realty prices and labour costs eat into profits.
■ Supply chain and logistics issues: There could be 100 reasons why the supply chains get fragmented and this directly impacts the restaurant industry. Similarly, logistics issues can also cause disruptions in the operations of the best of restaurants.
■ Warehousing: Lack of good warehousing facilities can adversely impact the business. The design, size and storage systems matter a lot and if they don’t meet the requisite demand, then it means revenue fluctuations for restaurants.
■ Cold chain: If one looks at India, the supply is less when compared to demand. For now, it is terribly fragmented in India. It is critical that end-to-end supply chain, making use of modern structures such as logistics parks, integrated cold chain solutions, last mile connectivity are the need of the hour. Government incentivising the private enterprises is another step in the right direction.
■ Recurring license fees: An estimated 0.5 to 0.6 crore is needed to get license fees in India, even for a small restaurant. Then there is liquor surcharge and other processing fees, all of which make a dent in the earnings of a restaurant.
■ High tax burden: Various taxes in the form of excise duties, import taxes, government levied taxes under various heads all add to the burden of a restaurant business, even if it’s a chain of restaurants.
What has astro-strategist Hirav Shah got to do with your business?
We have mentioned a few examples of India in the above pointers, but the problems are intrinsic to restaurant businesses world over. And astro-strategist Hirav Shah is a well-travelled man, with knowledge regarding various places around the world.
He has been a corporate consultant, business development pro, real estate specialist and an authority in astrology. So, his style of functioning is unique when compared to an industry consultant. He is an all-in-one provider of services, which can bail out small, medium, fine-dining and fancy restaurants from deep troubles.
He mixes his business prowess with one’s astrological chart and advice on investing and divesting as per socio-economic and political situations prevailing in a particular place.