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New restaurants seem to be popping up left and right. With so much competition, it’s only natural to wonder how all these small businesses plan on building a solid customer base that won’t just find another spot a few months down the road. The answer lies in the fact that a proven system has been developed for making restaurants “cool” in the eyes of young customers, particularly millennials.

More and more restaurants are catching on to this system and are therefore feeling very optimistic about the future, as evidenced by the recently released American Express survey of restaurant owners or managers. According to this data, 54% of respondents reported higher revenue than the previous year and 72% are expecting to earn even more revenue in 2017.

Here are three tools every restaurant must utilize to survive in today’s cutthroat climate:

Go Local

A few years ago, support for smaller, local restaurants began to skyrocket out of nowhere. Business owners weren’t sure why until they realized the enormous amount of distrust that had been built towards corporate chains. The majority of this distrust is rooted in the many unknown, mass-produced ingredients used by these chains as well as their psychological and physical effect on the customer. Local restaurants are currently embraced because of their local ingredients and atmosphere. People want to know what is in their food and are finally smart enough to notice the health benefits of items that are made fresh every day.

There’s just two problems. Local ingredients can get expensive! Some of them aren’t readily available and must therefore be ordered way ahead of time in order to keep inventory up. United Capital Source has helped dozens of small restaurants overcome these obstacles with several types of restaurant business loans, most notably business lines of credit or merchant cash advances. The latter business funding program is particularly advantageous for restaurants because they conduct a great deal of sales via credit card.

Since preparation is key for restaurants, we approve restaurant loans in 24-48 hours and distribute funding in a matter of days, allowing clients to purchase inventory as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Merchant cash advances are repaid via a fixed percentage of credit card sales, meaning you could order the ingredients during the slow season and not have to worry about making large regular payments when sales are down.

Social Media: Image Is Everything

This can’t be emphasized enough. Countless up-and-coming restaurants have rose to stardom after marketing their innovative creations on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Some of these restaurants, like the Doughnut Plant, have even admitted to prioritizing image when brainstorming new items because they know the item’s appearance is directly linked to its potential for success. In addition to posts about new items and promotional offers, restaurateurs should incentivize customers to post on social media while they are at their businesses with discounts or even free items.

Social media is a daily responsibility because, in addition to regular posts, it involves extensive research on your customers. When someone becomes your “friend” or follows you, you gain the ability to look at their profile to see what else they are interested in, which can show how to tailor marketing campaigns. The increasing value of social media suggests that businesses that employ a full-time social engagement specialist have a huge edge.

Offer Take Out

A social engagement specialist, however, is just one of several new hires restaurants should take on if they wish to remain competitive in 2017. The aforementioned American Express survey found that 68% of millennials had food delivered to them in the previous month. Young customers clearly favor restaurants that deliver, which now include McDonald’s and the Outback Steakhouse.

United Capital Source specializes in providing small business loans tailored towards the expenses that come with increasing staff. Our low credit card processing fees and short-term working capital loans can give you the time to interview, train and work with these new hires until they are able to work independently. We can also structure your terms so that you can make lower payments when things are slow because we know that new initiatives take time to actively contribute to your revenue stream.

Our First Obstacle: Eliminating Your Hesitancy

Yes, this piece obviously doesn’t answer every single question you probably have about these three strategies but that’s what the business funding experts at United Capital Source are here for! We know the restaurant industry inside and out and are well-aware which investments make the most sense for multiple demographics. United Capital Source has always been ahead of the business lending industry, and we will soon be able to say the same for you and your competition.

Let us finance your next venture and remind you that with the right financial guidance, you can maintain a steady budget while transforming the way you run and promote your business!

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