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How to Run a Restaurant

Find out how much really goes into running a restaurant.

If you are thinking of buying a restaurant in South Africa, you have to make sure you are aware of the pitfalls and have ideas for how to make it profitable.

Make sure you are aware of the challenges and work required and there is every chance you could make a huge success of it. 

Industry Overview 

One way to ensure that your restaurant is successful in attracting customers is to conceptualise a unique selling point. 

When it comes to the marketing, it is more economical to target your advertising to your ideal customers. Figure out what it is that is important to your target audience and make this part of your brand.

You can also promote your restaurant on social media by encouraging happy customers to leave you reviews, make it easy for customers to book a table online or create interesting content for customers to follow.

Technology is another aspect that is important in the restaurant trade: from keeping a check on stock and reordering to helping the in-house staff by connecting the orders straight from the table to the kitchen.

Technology can help you analyse exactly where your cash is spent and what is most profitable for your business. This will make it easier to adjust things to make sure you turn a profit.

Before you buy a restaurant, it can be extremely helpful to gain some experience in the industry. Restaurants often rely on the systems that they have in place and working at a restaurant can help you to figure out which systems work, and which ones don’t.


It is satisfying to run a successful restaurant, but it involves long hours and hard work, with a lot of overheads.

Pleasant and agreeable waiting staff can make the difference to the ambience of a restaurant and so you will need to be selective about who you hire. It can be difficult to find the right staff but spending time training your staff can make running your restaurant easier in the long run. 

You will also need to consider the fact that your staff will also need to get along with one another. When a restaurant is busy it becomes a high-pressure environment and having a cohesive staff will be vital.

Running a restaurant is about far more than being able to cook. It is difficult to increase the speed and volume without losing the quality. You might need to hire trained chefs to work in your kitchen if you do not have the appropriate skills.

Things to Consider 

In order to grow your restaurant in South Africa, you have to consider both current trends and also what will be supported by the general public in your part of South Africa. Do your research and try to figure out what makes a restaurant successful in your particular area.

Is there a gap in the market for a particular type of food? Or should you stick to tried and trusted methods?

Trends are continuing to favour health-conscious diners with the concentration on fresh and organic food. Additionally, as people generally have less and less time but want to avoid fast food restaurants, a faster order-to-table service can be advantageous to attract lunchtime diners.

You should also consider how suited you are to this industry. You will need to be patient and tolerant, have a lot of energy and people skills as well as have an understanding of how to run a business and how to keep up with current trends.

Running a restaurant can mean having to do all aspects of the job to some extent or another and this can seem very daunting. However, if you find the right restaurant and you are passionate about the industry, this is also an incredibly satisfying path to take.

Anthea Taylor

About the author

Anthea Taylor is Content Producer at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.

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