We interviewed 21 restaurant executives to find out their best advice for growing your business in 2021. Listed below are what they have found to be the  most important pieces to growing their own business, especially amidst a pandemic. Pay close attention as you read and you may just be able to transform your business into its best year yet.

1. Make the Most of Your Time

“I’m trying to make sure I can squeeze out every second of revenue that I can.”

Ethan Cisneros, Owner & CEO, Thirst

2. Work on that Feed

“Whatever it is you’re doing for social media…increase it 2X.”

Bruce Irving, Owner, Smart Pizza Marketing

3. Follow this Three-Pronged Approach

“Balancing this triple bottom line of becoming an employer of choice, a destination of choice, and an investment of choice was life changing.”

Fred Glick, President, Amergent Holdings

4. Put Employees First

“My job first and foremost is to pivot and to stop doing events and promotions and all that, and try and find a way to keep my employees working.”

Wing Lam, Founder & Owner, Wahoo’s Fish Taco

5. Change your Perspective on Challenges

“Constraints and challenges are just this fertile ground for unbelievable innovation and creativity.”

Scott Porter, Founder, San Diablo Churros

6. Follow Up

“Procedures, and things on powerpoint presentations and pdfs are wonderful, but are they being executed?”

Werner Lomker, 12-Location Franchisee, Worlds Fastest Pizza Maker, Dominoes

7. Use Any Spare Time to Innovate and Adapt

“I would advise that you put one foot on survival mode, and then you put your other foot on reinvention mode.”

Nico Nieto, Head of Marketing & Brand, Roti Modern Mediterranean

8. The Best Way to Retain Employees is by Hiring the Right Ones

“If you’re hiring on your values, generally everyone is growing in the same direction…For the most part you’ll get the people that believe in why we started the company.”

Sean Taylor, CEO, Up To Par & Taylor Hospitality

9. Focus on Data

“I grew up in restaurants, and the mantra was always ‘cash is king.’ But I think data is a close second to that.” Understanding the full picture of your business can only come through powerful and actionable insights.”

Kelly MacPhearson, Union Square Hospitality Group / Senior Advisor, Ovation

10. Pin Down Your Point of Difference

“I think restaurants really have to figure out their point of difference within the community so that they aren’t just trying to compete with every other business there.”

Ann Rolke, Former VP Marketing, California Restaurant Association

11. Be Quick on Your Feet

“It doesn’t matter if you’re 3 units, 20 units, 500 units, whatever the case may be; you’ve got to have a sense of being nimble and agile.”

Crafton Bryant, Former Marketing Director, Metro Diner, Bloomin’ Brands

12. Start at the End

“The mistake a lot of brands make is, they don’t have the end in mind.”

Tanvir Bhangoo, Former VP Technology, Freshii

13. Start Stretching, it’s Time to be Flexible

“The rules are changing every day, and you have to evolve and adjust accordingly. And that’s hard.”

Paula Grassell, Former Head of Operations, MOD, Starbucks, REI

14. Understand Your Revenue Center

“I don’t believe IT should be just a supportive service of an organization. I do believe it belongs as part of a revenue center.”

Skip Kimpel, CIO, 4R Restaurant Group

15. Showcase Your Strengths

“If you don’t showcase [cleanliness], in front of your customers…that really defeats the purpose. It doesn’t matter how clean your place is.”

Wilson K. Lee, Founder & CEO, WilsonKLee.com & 720 Sweets & Etc.

16. Keep the Customer Comfortable

“The great brands out there have had a very forward thinking off-premises strategy. They’ve shifted a lot to digital so that the customer can trust that everything’s contactless and frictionless.”

TJ Schier, Franchisee & Owner, Which Wich & Smart Restaurt Group

17. Listen for Opportunity

“We’re constantly listening and trying to put our best foot forward.”

CJ Ramirez, EVP Marketing Director, Dog Haus & The Absolute Brands

18. Do Not Compromise

“There is no compromising on quality anymore. You can’t be mediocre and survive.”

Gonca Esendemir, Founder, Flatbread Grill

19. Build Trust in Your Business

“All business is about relationships. And the foundation of all relationships is trust.”

Henry “HPatt” Patterson, Senior Partner, Rethink Restaurants

20. Think of the Acquisition Cost

“The more offerings you can give… the more chance you have of a customer coming back to spend more money with you.”

Erle Dardick, Founder & Off-Premise Strategist, ErleDardick.com

21. Do Your Part to Bring Your Community Closer

“I think that we’re gonna see the world come together in a way that frankly, we’ve been needing.”

Cory Warfield, Founder & Chief Visionary Officer, Shedwool

Thanks for reading! For any questions or more information visit our homepage here and let’s chat.

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