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How to set restaurant goals for success

Published in partnership with Jenny Handley Performance

25 January 2023

With the start of 2023 offering the restaurant industry yet a few more challenges, we are reminded of the importance of resilience, resourcefulness and setting goals for your restaurant. Building resilience and a stronger foundation for the business are two of the goals that restaurants should consider for 2023.

Success is never achieved overnight, nor is it constant, as the landscape shifts every day. Diners’ expectations vary, and the seasons change – no longer are there four clearly defined seasons, but six instead, or as some chefs say – there are 365!

“Success is never an accident, it needs a plan.” – Jenny

A goal without a timeline is merely a dream, so it’s vital to put timelines in place. No business is successful without a plan, just as the realisation of goals is never an accident. Visualising the result is crucial, and the perfect starting point for a goal-setting session. Ask yourself what the ideal scenario is for your business – is it full house every day, winning awards or simply keeping it fruitful, one service at a time? Or perhaps knowing that you have a fulfilled, content and competent team who love what they do?

In terms of restaurant goals: Together each achieves more

Break any task into smaller sections, so that it seems more achievable. Setting quarterly and monthly goals, then weekly and daily, makes success more possible. Committing these goals in writing is essential, and keeping them visible for the team is a constant reminder of what you are striving for, together.

Setting goals for your restaurant

There are a few rules for preparing a winning game plan – always be:


  1. Flexible – know that the goals you set at the beginning of the year may need to be tweaked seasonally, with staff changes and diners’ expectations – and when competitors show you up!
  2. Realistic – make sure that your goals are achievable.
  3. Motivational – work out how your contribution to the team adds value.
  4. Evolutionary – keep on aiming at improvements. When diners rave about their meal, don’t change it, but communicate the comments to a broader audience.
  5. Committed – never be complacent even when winning awards, getting outstanding reviews or playing to a full house.
  6. Adaptable – try to ring the changes so that regulars become more regular in their visits.
  7. Creative – visualise your “win”. What does success mean to you and your team? Profits, purpose or passion? Or all three together?

Success is a team game, so get your team together to plan the best year ever. Keeping staff engaged, passionate and motivated is the optimum start. Employ only those with a winning attitude, as aptitude can be learnt, and individuals trained. Ensure that those already in your team are uplifted, engaged and retrained.

In the words of Richard Branson:

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson

May it be a wonderful year for you and your team.

Jenny Handley Performance

Jenny Handley Performance

Jenny Handley is a brand specialist, speaker and writer. She empowers companies and individuals to build their brands, offering brand strategies, high-performance training and sustainable leadership development in hospitality and other industries. Founder and curator of JHP Gourmet Guide™, SA’s original, respected restaurant rating, it’s the brand that she is the proudest of.

All views and opinions expressed in this article represent that of the author, Jenny Handley, and do not represent that of Dineplan or the companies we work with. While we make every effort to ensure that the information we share is accurate, we welcome any comments, suggestions, or correction of errors.

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