It’s not a secret – starting a restaurant is hard. And a restaurant consultant can be a godsend for a restaurant looking to start, save, or improve business. But what does a restaurant consultant actually do? And how could one help your restaurant?
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What is a restaurant consultant?
In short, a restaurant consultant is an experienced hospitality professional that is hired to provide advice, guidance, and insight into improving your restaurant. A great restaurant consultant will have years of experience in the industry, a strong understanding of what makes a restaurant successful, and the ability to diagnose and solve problems.
What does a restaurant consultant do?
There is no one specific restaurant consultant job description (it depends on what they were hired to do for each job!), but in the most basic terms, a restaurant consultant helps a restaurant run smoothly.
Consultants should have a comprehensive understanding of how each part of a restaurant runs, and knowledge of best practices on how to do this in the most efficient, productive, and successful way possible. This includes knowledge of restaurant concepts, operations, staffing, menu development, financial planning, design, marketing, and more.
Looking for a restaurant consultant to coach, advise, or guide on strategy? Here's how to find the right one for your business.
How much does a restaurant consultant cost?
Restaurant consultant fees greatly vary – it depends on location, level of experience, and whether you’re hiring a general consultant or a more specialized one focused on your food or beverage program.
Restaurant business online estimates that you should factor in about $500 per day, $2,500 per week, or $10,000 per month for a full-time commitment from a consultant. But again, it depends on who you hire. Make sure to get a quote and find a match that’s best for your business.
Types of restaurant consultants
Restaurant Business Consultant
A restaurant business consultant or restaurant management consultant makes sure that your business is running smoothly – working to improve your operations, finances, staffing, and all back-office management.
A restaurant marketing consultant is more specialized, focused on how you can optimize your marketing budget and efforts to increase sales and bring in more customers.
A restaurant beverage consultant is specialized in bar and restaurant beverage programs: implementing changes to improve the menu, manage suppliers, and optimize behind-the-bar operations. This can include bartender education and training, menu overhauls, and strategic planning and development.
Typically a beverage consultant has a background in mixology, and years of experience working with and at bars and restaurants.
Similar to a beverage consultant, a food consultant focuses on restaurant food, through menu engineering and development, supply chain management, inventory planning, and safety and inspection procedures.
A food consultant should have a background in culinary arts and management, and an understanding of how to best cost and price a menu. Food consultants can also be specialists in certain cuisines or dietary restrictions.
How to become a restaurant consultant
If you’re interested in becoming a restaurant consultant, you’ll need to start with a few things. First, a degree or formal training in a related field is always helpful – whether it’s in hospitality, management, food science, or culinary arts.
Then, you’ll want to build up your resume with lots of industry experience, working in bars and restaurants to gain a real-world understanding of how the industry works. Once you have some experience in the industry, you could also join a consulting group, or start your own business, and get on your way to becoming the next best restaurant industry consultant.
Is a consultant right for you?
If you’re looking to make a change in your business, a restaurant consultant might be a great option for you. Small changes can make huge impacts, and an experienced consultant can make all the difference.