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8 Essential skills successful hospitality business owners know but won't share at the Christmas party | Neon Nights

4 minutes read

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own food business. Here are our six top tips for hospitality success. Write down all your awesome ideas and flesh out a detailed business plan. 

You need to know about food safety, licensing, wages, staffing and coffee. You need to develop your business plan based on what’s unique about your business. To succeed in hospitality, you need to live and breathe it. That means being on the front line with your finger on the pulse. You can identify patterns, minimise costs and communicate with your staff and customers. 

There are many common expenses in the hotel business that you cannot change. The main overhead for most restaurants is rent.

1. Coping with rising costs

You don't imagine the rising cost of living in New Zealand. House prices in New Zealand have doubled on average every 12 years. While median wages only increased by half. When you consider inflation, the cost of eating out has almost become cheaper.

The hospitality industry in New Zealand is changing. All the costs associated with running a restaurant are increasing on a large scale. It is because of this that we see cheaper and cheaper eateries opening up. All this suggests we will see food service and hospitality at the top in the future.

Staff is often the biggest expense in hospitality. New equipment is paid for by sales and profits. The best equipment has a fast "return on investment", i.e. it pays for itself by saving on labour and food costs or generating more sales

Profit = Sales minus Costs. If the costs are more than the sales, we can stay open as long as someone keeps looking for the money to make a difference.

Variable Costs are easier to reduce than Fixed Costs. Most businesses keep food supplies in stock for about a week and alcohol for several weeks. 

We've seen the rise of cheaper eateries with simpler kitchens, less staff, and $10 or fewer price points.

Remember that there are overheads that are manageable and there are ones that aren't. Plan, save on costs where you can and you're well on your way to running a successful kitchen. 

2. Review Your Menu

While you can pass on some of the costs to the customer, that doesn't always make everyone happy. From the food side, chefs are using cheaper ingredients, especially vegetables. To get the most out of your ingredients make sure they work in many dishes. It's a matter of being clever with how you save on overhead costs that you can control.

3. Employee Reduction

As we all know, employee labour is one of the biggest and most difficult overheads to manage. New Zealand has one of the highest minimum wages in the world. Trying to keep your salary at an operational level is a struggle and a real indicator of how difficult it is to work. run a business. As your revenue grows, then you will need more employees. But let's start with the bare least.

4. Communication

Educate and inform your staff, and listen to their grumbles. Get to know your customers on a deeper level. Don’t be afraid to give your customers what they want. Be open to change, and be willing to adjust your menu and your business practices to accommodate the needs and wants of your customers.

5. Planning

Take the time to research and plan every single aspect of your business. Even if you’ve been in hospitality before, running your venture is a whole other ballgame. This includes contingency planning, like cash flow issues, staff sickness or stock unavailability.

6. Multitasking

Running a restaurant is a juggling act with a hundred moving parts. One of the most crucial hospitality skills you’ll need to master is multitasking.

7. Positivity 

If you bring the stress of your work into the venue, your staff will notice your bad mood and feel on edge. And when your staff are on edge, they are going to be short with your customers. Happiness is contagious, and will only work in your favour to entice customers to your venue. Teach your staff by example, and show them that a smile is the most valuable thing in customer service. If your staff give off happy, friendly vibes this will rub off on your customers and they’ll want to keep returning. 

8. Creativity

Include your point of difference in your business plan. It will make it easier to convince potential customers that trying your venue is a ‘must’


Starting your own food business is a huge undertaking, but if you go into it with your eyes open and a solid business plan, you can set yourself up for success. Keep costs down by being mindful of your menu, employee numbers and use of ingredients, and be sure to stay positive and creative to differentiate your venue from the competition.

What is your strongest skill on this list and let us know if there's something we missed that should be added to this?

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