The Top Factors That Determine If Your Venue Will Succeed or Fail

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine knows a thing or two about successful — and unsuccessful — restaurants. He’s “spent the past five years attempting to save 140 failing restaurants across America for the Food Network show Restaurant: Impossible,” reports Business Insider.

In this post, he shares his top factors that result in a restaurant thriving or flopping. You can read them all here, and check out a few below that we think could apply to venues as well:

“Customer service

Terrible food spells doom for any restaurant, but, ‘the server can save a mediocre meal,’ Irvine said.

Everything from how customers are greeted at the door to how they are handed their check will shape their first impression, ‘and it is a well-known fact of business that customer retention is much more cost-effective than customer acquisition,’ he explained.

The age of smartphones means bad customer service is more destructive than ever before. ‘As the digital era continues to grow and expand, review sites will, more and more, become the gatekeepers to customer acquisition,’ Irvine said.

Attention to detail

In March, Irvine, his wife, and some of his colleagues arrived unannounced to one of his biggest Restaurant: Impossible successes, Dodge City Steakhouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. ‘I walk into the refrigerator, straight in the kitchen — everything was exactly what I taught them to do,’ Irvine said. ‘Fresh food, stored correctly. I had the most amazing meal.’

The one negative thing that caught his eye was an area of floor tile, which he wants replaced. The owners told him they were already on it.

Successful restaurant owners know that every small detail matters. To teach this point, Irvine likes to say that a Fortune 500 company would never have a receptionist at their headquarters who is rude or lazy, and so it’s remarkable how often he finds restaurant hosts chewing gum and playing with their smartphone when he walks into an establishment.


And then finally, a successful restaurant must be able to distinguish itself from its competition, or else everything else it has going for it won’t matter, because no customers will bother stopping by.

There’s a tremendous amount of Italian restaurants in Philadelphia, for example, Irvine said, but many of them have been there for years.

Whether it’s the style of cuisine, the presentation of food, the location’s ambiance, or some other aspect of the experience, the restaurant must be unique if it’s going to make it past five years.

‘No matter where it is, it’s got to stand out,’ Irvine said.”

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