The 3 Real Reasons Your Restaurant Traffic is Dipping

Let’s get this out of the way: the real reason your traffic is dipping is not because people are dining out less.

In fact the National Restaurant Association predicts that by year end 2017, Americans will have spend $799 billion eating out, while in 2010 we only spent $586 billion.

In addition, for the first time ever in history, Americans are spending more at bars and restaurants than on groceries.

So, in general, people are eating out more often than usual. If your restaurant traffic is dipping, something else must be to blame.

Let’s talk about what that might be.


1. The Modern Restaurant Problem

I agree – there is a problem plaguing restaurants. In fact, restaurants in general are no better off now than they were 5 or 10 years ago. I see it in my restaurant consulting practice all the time…really good restaurants are struggling with really low numbers.

If you ask any restaurant consultant, they will all tell you the same thing – Good is Not Good Enough Anymore.

I heard Tony Robbins describe this effect on business today better than anybody else. He states that your business will be rewarded 1 step below the quality of its operation.

  • Good restaurants are getting poor results
  • Great restaurants get good results
  • Excellent restaurants get great results

The odd part is that even though there is a level above Excellent, those restaurants don’t get excellent results, they get everything.


2. The Idea of “Mastery”

To quote another hero, Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell’s character in Talladega Nights) says “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

For restaurants, this simply means that the best ones get everything.

These restaurants are not just busy, they are slammed 7 days a week. They are the ones getting so much free media that they would never consider spending a penny on marketing.

What does it mean to the be the best? To me, it’s simple…mastery. You are either mastering or dabbling.


3. Expectation Economy

What caused all this chaos to happen? How come restaurants that were once very good and consistently busy are not anymore?

Every industry has a media outlet to thank for the new economy or poor results. In our industry, we can thank Food Network.

I call this economy the “Expectation Economy.” The food network brought the best from all over the world into our living rooms. I grew up on it, it inspired me and an entire generation to cook. And not just to cook, but to cook with ingredients that were never available at our local grocery stores before.

The Top 3 Restaurant Management Blogs for Restaurateurs

The trials and turmoil of owning, managing, or working in a restaurant can occasionally be too much for one person. Sometimes, you need advice, a resource, or someone to look to and get that extra boost of insight or confidence. Luckily, that’s where restaurant bloggers come in.

Take a glance at these questions, and note if your answer is yes.

  • Do you want to learn how to run or market your restaurant better?
  • Do you want to read restaurant management tips from other restaurant owners?
  • Do you struggle to find tips for restaurant technology, metrics, and staffing?
  • Do you think you could even find the time to search for these publications, never mind read them?

The answer to that last question is most likely no, but the first three questions are paramount for restaurant owners.

Restaurant entrepreneurs are always looking to improve their business, increase customer satisfaction, and drive more profit. The best way to do that is by making the time to learn from others and research best practices.

You can find advice from other restaurant owners online if you know where to look. Instead of paging through several Google search results to find quality restaurant content, we’ve gathered our Top 10 Restaurant Management Blogs every restaurateur should follow in one simple list. They’re wonderfully designed, resourceful, and full of industry-expert insight to give you all the answers to your most vital restaurant questions.

Bookmark these blogs in a folder, or add them to a feed reader such as Feedly, and check in on them once a week to stay updated on restaurant trends and tips.


1. Reserve

The Reserve app has made waves in the way restaurant-goers make their reservations – but they don’t stop at cleaning up your books and clearing up the headspace of your hosts and hostesses. Their blog is very well-designed and frequently updated on a variety of categories, both highly specific and more general. Notice the range of topics including Restaurants, Food & Drink, News, Industry, Beer, Wine, and even city-specific stories for Philadelphia, New York City, and Los Angeles. It’s timely, it’s pretty, and it’s full of valuable information.

Our Favorite Article: Food & Design – Top Restaurateurs on Why You Should Care. A topic that fits well with their elegant blog design, this entry is full of visual inspiration and quotes from fellow restaurateurs and experts on ways to make sure your edible creations are tempting for both taste and sight. This blog post also has more universal advice for restaurant owners and managers, like tips on menu design and staffing.


2. Restaurant Den

Looking for restaurant marketing advice? Look no further. All great restaurant business owners know that smart marketing no longer entails sending menus to the mailboxes of everyone in your town or simply putting up a website or social media page. Restaurant Den specializes in getting your restaurant noticed with killer website design, email marketing, social media, and SEO tips. Their embellished blog is proof that these people know what they’re talking about.

Our Favorite Article: POS 101 – Everything Restaurant Owners Need To Know. Restaurant Den’s focus is in marketing, but the company also gives great tech tips. Case in point: their blog on POS necessities. Any restaurant that wishes to exceed expectations in the 21st century must have great marketing, but even better restaurant technology.


3. Ctuit Software’s Restaurant Management Blog

Ctuit provides extremely helpful scheduling software integrated into your POS. They also run an incredibly helpful blog, releasing weekly posts about the tech side of running a restaurant. They’re easily digestible yet extremely insightful. My favorite part about these blogs is that they get straight to the point – they’re quick reads and trust the reader can take control of a situation in their restaurant once they understand what the problem is.

Our Favorite Article: 5 Ways to Reduce Restaurant Energy Usage (And Cost!). A perfect example of one of Ctuit’s quick how-to blogs, this entry explains the problem with its title and a quick intro, then jumps right into solutions. Sure, it my not be the most SEO-friendly approach, but for a restaurateur looking for quick answers, this is the place to find them. If, however, you want to take a deep-dive into a topic, Ctuit’s blog would probably work better as a starting point instead of a final destination for your restaurant information quest.