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From hiring to payroll, and marketing to menu creation, and more, you need the right tools and strategies to create a successful restaurant in a big city. The restaurant biz is a tough one, especially in Philly, where the food is amazing. Here are some tips to help you get an edge on the competition.

Menu CreationBuilding A Competitive Restaurant In A Big City

If you want to understand what menu to run with, you need to do a little research. What other restaurants exist in your market? If you are entering a market with a lot of seafood restaurants, for instance, you might want to take a different angle.

Perhaps you have an amazing dish with shrimp, but if you were to lead with that you would get crushed by your competition. Maybe take that item and turn it into a nightly special so that your focus can be on something else. Always use local and fresh ingredients when you can. And keep your menu simple. By following these menu tips you can have a robust variety of dishes that set you apart, save on costs, and keep people coming back.

Limit Theft

Unfortunately, theft can be a huge issue in the restaurant industry. This is a threat to any business, but it is magnified with restaurants due to the already low profit margins. If you find that food is being snuck out or consumed somewhere in the restaurant by employees, you need to put measures in place to stop it.

One way to do this is to offer discounted or even free meals for employees. This can take away their desire to take food that doesn't belong to them and you can plan for these perks and build them into your costs. Another way is to do more thorough background checks. Finally, installing security cameras is a last resort.


Knowing how to find potential employees is a problem that many restaurant owners face. Working in a restaurant is not easy work. So if you're going to fill all the roles you have available, from a line cook to a manager to a chef, you need to leverage the right tools.

Consider tapping into your personal network first and foremost. You might be surprised who knows who. Your aunt, your cousin, or your friend might just have a lead on the best person for your next position. In addition, don't overlook social media. Looking on LinkedIn or other social profiles can give you a huge insight into how your candidates would fit in your culture.

Don't Avoid Marketing

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of your business. If your restaurant doesn't have great marketing, people won't know you exist. This will lead them to go to other ones in your area and eventually you will go out of business.

In order to have great marketing, ask yourself what your core brand image is. Whether it is upscale, midscale, or budget food will determine what kind of brand messaging you put out into the world. Marketing is also a part of how you design your interior, who you hire, and what kind of customer experiences you offer. After all, social media can work for or against you. If you make a habit of providing a great meal experience, people will take to the social boards to give you great word of mouth. This is something Chick-Fil-A has absolutely mastered.

The restaurant industry is one of the most dynamic and competitive in the world. If you are going to have success, especially in a big city, you are up against a lot of other businesses that want the same thing. So it is vital that you take the right approach. Otherwise, you could end up wasting time, energy, and money. Use the advice above and soon you'll have a thriving restaurant that everyone wants to go to.

Brett Clawson is a business owner and entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience. In his free time, he enjoys writing and learning about emerging business trends.

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