Getting your food and beverage business up and running is one thing; growing it is quite another. As a business owner, your attention is often pulled in several different directions and it can be difficult to know what to focus on, particularly in a post-pandemic world where footfall cannot always be counted upon. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of seven strategies you can use to grow your F&B business and set yourself up for lasting success.
There is an interesting story behind every F&B business, so tap into yours.
What inspired you to start out on your own? What made you fall in love with food? Are your dishes based on family recipes that have been passed down through generations? Is there a funny story behind how you came up with a signature product?
Storytelling makes your business stand out from the crowd and creates an emotional connection with your customers. Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner found that people are twenty two times more likely to remember a story than a standalone fact, so storytelling will increase your ability to stick in your customers’ minds.
Your F&B business is about so much more than making money, and telling your story shows your customers what you’re really about. It demonstrates a more human side to your business and helps you to build a community around your brand.
The world is moving in a digital direction, and the food and beverage industry is no exception.
If you run a cafe or restaurant, creating an e-commerce site could help you to establish a new stream of revenue. Diversifying your income not only helps with business growth, but will also protect you against future lockdowns and restrictions.
For example, you could sell meal kits, dessert boxes or bottles of your signature sauce for your customers to enjoy at home. You may even want to think about recipe books or merchandise, such as cooking aprons displaying your restaurant name.
3) Tap into Social Media Trends
Carefully track social media trends and then make them your own. New viral trends and challenges crop up all the time on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, so get involved.
For example, many cafes and restaurants quickly adopted the TikTok wrap trend that emerged in January 2021, creating their own signature versions of the folded tortilla. Other popular trends have included whipped Dalgona coffee, banana bread and mug cakes.
However, you don’t have to focus solely on food trends. Getting your team involved in all sorts of challenges will help to boost your online presence and convey your brand personality. You could even create your own challenges and go viral!
4) Emphasise Your Values
Brand values are important to any business, but now more so than ever. Some key issues consumers are concerned about include:
- Zero waste
- Locally sourced ingredients
- Ethical choices
- Health and wellness
Many cafes, restaurants and delivery kitchens are also branching out to include more plant-based menu options in accordance with the above values.
The UK’s vegetarian and vegan population is growing, but many meat-eaters are also seeking out plant-based meals more frequently. A public attitudes survey by EatingBetter.org found that 65% of consumers are willing to consume less meat and meat by-products due to health, ethical and environmental reasons.
Emphasising your business values in turn adds value to your business, so keep them at the centre of everything you do.
5) Improve Your Cash Flow
Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, and shortages can seriously stunt your growth. Often, it is necessary to increase spending in anticipation of growth, so you need to have plenty of cash in the bank to cover this.
The best way to improve your cash flow is to put the right systems and structures in place. It’s important to regularly review your spending to stay in control and manage your creditors carefully so that interest payments aren’t eating away at your funds. You also need to make sure that you’re working with the right suppliers who not only offer you fair prices, but favourable and flexible payment terms.
6) Understand Your Finances
Knowledge is power and getting a clear insight into your finances empowers you to make the best possible decisions to help your business grow. You cannot expand your business based on sketchy figures and guesswork, and it’s not enough just to know your overall revenue and profits. Getting to grips with the granular details of your finances will help you to fine tune your business and optimise growth.
7) Increase Efficiency
Maximising your operational efficiency is a powerful way to boost your profits, which will then allow you to invest more heavily in business growth. Time-consuming and expensive operations are a drain on your resources and make growth a slow and arduous process. However, using digital tools and implementing systems to maximise your existing resources allows you to do more with less. This helps to fuel business growth and make the journey much more enjoyable, too.
The path to growth is not an easy one, but by focusing on improving your financial management practices and marketing strategies, you can take your food and beverage business from strength to strength. Optimising your cash flow, increasing efficiency and gaining a clearer insight into your finances will enable you to invest as much as possible into your F&B business. This will not only make your journey easier financially, it will also alleviate a lot of stress and make business growth more exciting and enjoyable.