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How to hire a restaurant consultant

If you are a restaurant owner and putting together a plan for a new restaurant or turn around your existing location you may be left overworking and in a position of extreme stress.

These are the typical situations you as a restaurant owner should consider hiring consulting services.

A restaurant consultant should have an in-depth knowledge of the food industry and a genuine desire to see your business thrive and succeed. 

As you are looking to hire a restaurant consulting business, use your experience in the restaurant industry to set your expectations, the restaurant business is difficult and very complicated and you must hire the right consultant for your business. 


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Some restaurant owners will retain a consultant or work with one on a project. Most consultants sell time, experience, credibility and the unique ability to find information and solution when needed the most.

A consultant will advise you on a variety of issues including concept development, interior design, development assistance, financial information systems, franchise growth, human recourses, food development and real estate.

Their product, or deliverable, can take the form of a written report or a hands-on approach we at restaurant keys like the hand-on approach.

At Restaurant Keys we have experts in project management, real estate, design, litigation, accounting, branding, marketing and operations. While the types of consultants can vary widely, the selection process and client/consultant relationship are similar, our goal is to help you make more profitable use of a consultant. For our full list of services, Click Here.

What do consultants do for new launches and business expansion?

  • Work with small, large, and mid-sized businesses to meet legal requirements for operations. Such as identifying which permits are necessary to open for business.
  • Provide advice on operating within the food and beverage industry.
    Help to select an effective software stack, including restaurant POS system and inventory management software, employee scheduling and marketing.
  • Educate the client on how to maintain the success of the new location after they leave.
    Bridge the communication gap between the project/construction team and operational team.

What do consultants do to turnaround a struggling location?

  • Provide high-level and objective insight into performance and business objectives.
    Help build communication between teams, owners, and management.
    Advocate for successful habits and profitable operation tactics.
    Build a client base.

How do you select a Restaurant consultant?

If you reading this you may need a consultant, so you must begin the search process.

Here are the basic steps.



Begin a preliminary search

The goal of this step is to locate different consultants who appear to be qualified to assess the problem. Similar to receiving quotes on products, it is better to identify more than one consultant. A great source is a referral from your business colleagues. Find out who they have used in similar situations and if they were happy with the consultant's performance.



Discuss the project with finalists

Discuss the project with the winners of your preliminary search. The goal is to narrow the list down. If you only have two or three finalists, go to step 3.



Ask for written proposals

Ask for a written proposal, references and other collateral from the top candidates.



Analyze the proposals

Look at each proposal carefully; if you have any questions, ask the consultant to explain them.



select the best consultant

Look at each proposal carefully; if you have any questions, ask the consultant to explain them.

You as the restaurant owner must trust the consultant before entering a restaurant consulting proposal.

Remember A food industry consultant can do anything from helping you take control over your budget, staff, or re-engage your customers. But, they can also help with bigger picture ideas such as launching a new location or revitalizing a concept that seems stale.

Click here to read more on the "Benefits Received From Having a Hospitality Coach"

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Hire a consultant when you want something done quickly in your restaurant. Otherwise, hire a coach who can encourage you and teach you how to be successful on a long-term basis.

David Scott Peters

How much does it cost to hire a restaurant consultant?

Restaurant consulting fees are not a simple as you may think, because consultants in any field will generally charge what they believe is fair for their work.

A restaurant consulting agency may have general ideas on fees, and it's mandatory to discuss fees before acceptance of any condition.

Typically, out-of-pocket and travel expenses are billed separately from professional fees and this must be in the proposal. These expenses are for such items as transportation costs, lodging and meals and report production.


Must ask questions:

Does the consultant work on a fixed project price or hourly rate?

Are communications items such as phone, computer, office and printing included in their rate, or separate?

How flexible are you with your budget if you have a one?

You must look at the value that you get more than what would cost. Budget is often a driving factor, but don't allow it to push you into a consultant agreement that isn't right for you.

How do restaurant consultants get paid?

There are many ways you can pay an outside consultant.

When hiring a restaurant consultant, select the fee structure which enables the consultant to produce the best results at the lowest price.

However, be careful as you are "getting what you paid for".


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New eBook Reveals How To Successfully Open A Restaurant… Free E-Book!


About the Author

Massimo’s career has grown up through the restaurant world, starting as a waiter through to high-end restaurant openings within an operational management capacity. This depth of experience has allowed him to understand the business from both a guest’s needs to what a team needs, giving him the benefit of an all-rounded view and approach to problem solving.