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5 Tips on How to Be Fast and Good: Addressing “Assembly Line” Restaurants

2 minutes Read

If you own a full-service, sit-down restaurant, and you happen to be around a lot of fast food places, you might be wondering how you can stand out.

We’re willing to bet that if you offer customers the choice of having great service plus relatively fast, relatively cheap, and healthy or home-cooked food—many will jump at the chance. The big question is: How can you compete with the assembly line in areas where they excel, without compromising your brand? 

Show off your talents with a daily buffet. 

You may already offer fresh, home-cooked, and extra-healthy options, but offering a daily (or nightly) buffet can give you an edge over your fast-food competition. It might take some investment in equipment or rearrangement of your serving area, but it could pay off big time. Weekday lunchtime seems to be when people are in the biggest hurry. The beauty of a buffet is that it lets you compete with the quick-serve restaurants in both speed and price.

Offer daily specials and weekly or monthly promotions. 

With or without a buffet, you can offer daily specials and lure more customers away from the value menu down the street. You can even enhance some of these specials with theme promotions, such as a daily blue-plate special. It may be a loss leader, but it’ll get the people in the door. When they see what else you’re cooking up, they may spring for a full-priced entree.

Offer kid-size meals for the little ones. 

If you want to win family traffic, you need to make your restaurant kid-friendly. This doesn’t mean you need balloons, clowns and pony rides. Offering plenty of kid-friendly touches—such as fun, kid-size meals and table settings—will go a long way. You can also add kid-safe promotional items like toys, games and novelties. There are many companies that produce promotional and specialty items; contact one of their sales reps for some ideas.

Make your restaurant a place for everyone.

Do everything you can to make your restaurant a pleasant, even fun, place to be. You can’t be everything to everyone, but with a little effort, you can develop a reputation for running a joyful restaurant. Make your restaurant popular by offering one-on-one, personalized service. Your attitude, and that of each and every member of your staff, is key to pulling this off. Take time to create atmosphere, which may include music or a theme, if appropriate.

Remember that small is beautiful.

Take pride in your uniqueness. Do what you do best, and do the best you can, and you’ll have happy, satisfied customers. And who knows… you may have so many happy customers that you’ll have to open another location or two, or even start selling franchises. There’s nothing wrong with being small, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big either.


Photo credit: Iakov Filimonov/

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This is not investment, tax or legal advice. Should you have questions please consult you own attorney, tax accountant or other appropriate expert having expertise in the area of your question or before making important decisions in these areas.