There are more than 1 million restaurant locations in the United States. While you don’t have to compete with all of them, the sheer magnitude and growth within the restaurant industry can make the competitive landscape seem like a war zone. While you may dream of a world where there is no restaurant competition, that version of eutopia simply doesn’t exist. And even if it did, it wouldn’t make you a better restaurant manager. Here are 10 ways competition is good for you:

  1. Guest service. Service is your invisible product. The more restaurant competition there is in your area, the more value service has to your guests.
  2. Validation. Think of it this way – if no one else is offering something similar to what you’re offering, there may not be a demand for what you do.
  3. Innovation. Restaurant competition forces you to innovate and find new ways to attract and maintain loyal guests.
  4. Pressure. If you were running a race, you’d run faster if someone was right on your tail, wouldn’t you? Competition is one of the best motivators.
  5. Growth. Restaurant competition encourages owners and managers to seek out new opportunities and effectively manage change.
  6. Problem-solving. The more choices your guests have, the more important it is for you to make sure you solve all guest problems efficiently and effectively.
  7. Training goals. When you know your competition, it helps you set and achieve training goals for your employees.
  8. Cost control. Managing your profit margins becomes even more critical when competition is fierce. If your competitors are managing the hidden costs of doing business, you should be too.
  9. Staff retention. When your guests have more choices, so do your employees. You can reduce staff turnover by creating and maintaining a hostile-free work environment.
  10. Leadership. What keeps a restaurant open when others fail? Leadership excellence, which is fueled by competition.

Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Competition Closer

While the competitive nature of the restaurant industry isn’t exactly what ancient military strategists were thinking about when The Art of War was written over 2000 years ago, many concepts ring true today. This quote comes to mind: “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” It may not always feel like it, but restaurant competition is good for you. You may be able to survive without it, but you won’t be able to excel.

More Restaurant Competition Tips

Browse our article archives for more ideas on how to be an set yourself apart from your competition.