Potential Challenges to Restaurant Operators in 2014

Each year brings a new set of challenges to restaurant operators. While it’s impossible to predict every challenge a business might face, there are some that we can predict with a fair amount of certainty. Here’s the list of potential road bumps for 2014.

Health Care, Hourly Wages, and Garnering Valuable Knowledge Effect Restaurants

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare,” is set to take full effect in January, 2014. Most analysts are predicting that the act will create a two to four percent increase in costs to businesses with more than 50 employees. If your margin is more than 30 percent, this won’t have much effect, but since the foodservice industry’s average pretax profit is less than five percent, this could cause challenges and a focus on improving your profit margins is going to be critical to success.

The living wage debate flared up strongly in 2013, and is unlikely to go away any time soon. The odds that strikes, demonstrations, and discussions around increasing minimum wage will continue into 2014, is pretty good.

We have a ton of information at our disposal, but sorting what is valuable from what is not can be a major challenge. Vendors who can supply “Big Data” overviews and insights will surpass those who cannot garner such comprehensive information in 2014 and beyond. 

Restaurants must Deal with Increased Commodity Prices and New Consumer Trends

No one can predict how weather and climate change will affect growing conditions in 2014. Commodity prices are always an unpredictable, uncontrollable cost to restaurant operators. You can bet that the prices won’t be dropping though, so the best you can do is make certain that your controllable costs are optimized to give you the best leverage possible in the face of these uncertainties.

How diners are choosing and using foodservice is vastly different than it was even five years ago. There is a new set of expectations involving everything from what consumers want to see on the menu to which devices they can use to interact with your restaurant. Restaurant operators who wish to succeed in 2014 and beyond must keep a keen ear to these new trends and expectations and make regular judgment calls about whether or not to follow suit.

Building Leaders Rather than Employees for the New Age in Restaurants

You can’t predict your company’s future, but you can give it the best chance for success possible by hiring and developing people to be leaders rather than just employees. Picking people based on competencies that were valued ten years ago isn’t going to do much for you now or in the future. To best succeed in 2014, ask yourself what competencies are going to be needed now and in the future and start focusing on hiring and developing your employees into the leaders that they will need to be in this day and age.

Your company will have a better chance for success if you plan for contingencies and educate yourself to make the best choices for your business as possible. Being average is easy, but being awesome takes some work – so make a plan for how you are going to address upcoming challenges and get started now!

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One Response to “Potential Challenges to Restaurant Operators in 2014”

  1. Transforming Your Good Restaurant into a Successful Business | Jim Balis' Blog Says:

    […] of an employee to make the strategic decisions required to move the business forward. While the “employee”owner is likely working right alongside his or her staff in the daily restaurant operations, the CEO […]

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