Setting Goals for your Restaurant

Once the holidays are over and it is the start of a brand new year, it is the perfect time to take an honest look at your business and consider what is working and not working as well as you would like.

Setting goals for your business helps you take the necessary steps that lead to meaningful changes over time. It is best to follow the S.M.A.R.T method, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. By doing it with this criteria, you are able to clearly consider and define goals as you create them.

Goal Criteria

  • Specific: a specific number and deadline to reach.
  • Measurable: Make sure you can track how close you are to the goal at any time and know when you have reached it.
  • Attainable: Make the end goal hard enough to push yourself but not too hard to discourage.
  • Relevant: It should be related to your overall pain points or areas you need to improve to be more successful.
  • Timely: By creating a sense of urgency, you will be more motivated to complete the goal. It is encouraged to break the time frame up into smaller deadlines to be less overwhelming. 

Examples of Restaurant Goals:

  • Lower business costs by x percent before the end of March 2022
  • Improve Google customer review rating by 1 star by end of June 2022
  • Increase monthly net sales by x amount
  • Increase your Instagram engagement rate by x percent  in x months

Categories of Goals to Consider

Your Food or Product

Your menu options, consistency of food, quality of ingredients, and plate presentation are all important. Having consistent food preparation standards for your employees as well as partnering with a consistent and reliable food supplier are ways to better this.


Every restaurant wants to be profitable, so setting goals focused on improving finances is a given. When setting goals to lower expenses, look at your labor costs, food costs and overhead expenses.

Ways to help improve profit could be:

  • Simplify food preparation
  • Eliminate underperforming menu items
  • Use appetizers and dessert to bump up check averages
  • Cut back on business during hours with slow traffic
  • Improve inventory tracking
  • Schedule staff more strategically (according to customer needs)
  • Create promotions around high margin products
Marketing and Promotions

Social media, email blasts, loyalty programs, ads sent out in the mail, an effective website are ways to market and promote your products and services. It should be clear through your communications what your identity, personality, and values are.

Customer Service

Great customer service means employees are trained properly to be efficient in operations and knowledgeable of products and services. It might also mean investing in a POS that makes order fulfilling more convenient and streamlined.

Evaluate Progress

Consider putting together a staff meeting to share your goals and thoughts. Encourage employees to give input on how they feel about what is working well and what is not. Follow up with them every few months to evaluate progress and receive feedback.