Succeeding in the hospitality business

Knowing your market is vital to running a successful restaurant, bed and breakfast or hotel in this competitive market. offers this advice on how to avoid common pitfalls within the hospitality industry.

Over 1,000 new restaurants open every year in Britain, more than any other kind of business, but around 90 per cent of them close down before the year is out. According to hospitality business consultants PCS Group, knowing your market is vital to running a successful restaurant, bed and breakfast or hotel in this competitive field. teamed up with PCS to offer this advice on how to avoid common pitfalls within the hospitality industry.

Know your market

One of the most common pitfalls for hoteliers or restaurant owners is ignoring what your customers want. The needs and wants of your market will dictate everything that you do, from the food served in the restaurant to the hotel pricing structure. To give your customers what they want it is important to listen to them first.

Making time to talk to your customers will offer an insight into what they are thinking and flag up any areas for improvement. Listen to your customers to ensure that they are satisfied and take action on what they say.

Your customers are your guests

A guest’s first experience of your business hinges on your staff; they are the ‘face’ of the organisation. A discourteous concierge or unhelpful reception staff instantly leaves the business playing catch-up for the rest of their stay. It is imperative that all levels of staff in each department are giving guests the same high quality service from the moment they arrive.

Staff levels

People who are paying for a service do not like to be left waiting; if the hotel or restaurant is understaffed during typically busy times, guests will not be impressed. However, having extra staff during quieter times does not look good either. A manager will have an understanding of seasonal trends, adapting the staff numbers to suit the time of year.

If there is a large event happening in the area that will impact on the flow of business, you should have the right amount of staff to cope if things get busy. Knowing what is happening locally will ensure that hoteliers don’t get caught on the hop.

Leave the door open

Open communication between junior employees and management is also vital. If staff find management unapproachable or unwilling to listen, the management team will be unaware of any areas that require attention. You should always adopt an ‘open door policy’ towards your staff; it is important that your employees feel they are a significant and valued part of the company as this can help with staff retention and job satisfaction.

Quality of produce

Your customers want quality food and are often willing to pay a little extra for it, if you get it right. If you offer a poor quality product then it is irrelevant how cheap you sell it, your customers will ultimately spend elsewhere.

If you are buying your produce from local suppliers then tell your guests where you source your food. People like to support local businesses and, if they know you are supporting local suppliers, it will encourage them to come back. Moreover, local produce tells your customers the food is fresh, high quality and true value for money.

Discount deals

During quieter periods it is common for hoteliers to try to boost business by running last-minute deals. Discount offers can attract a high turnover of customers, many of whom may not have visited the hotel or business before, so it is important the business is shown in the best light.

However, if the promotion has been rushed and not executed properly the business can be left with lots of unhappy customers. If the deal can only be organised at the last minute, it is best not done at all.

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

Related Topics

Hospitality industry

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