A restaurant consultant provides advice to restaurateurs as they open a new business, attempt to turn around a failing one, or consider major changes. People in this field typically have experience in the industry with managing and owning restaurants. They may have formal education in business management and related subjects, along with training in topics like nutrition, graphic design, and image presentation. Fees for consulting services can depend on the scope of the project and the consultant’s reputation.
People starting a new restaurant from the ground up may want to work with a restaurant consultant to increase the chances of success. Consultants can discuss menu planning and design, the physical layout of the facility, interior décor, and the kind of image the company wants to project. Advertising campaigns, logos, and related materials can be part of the package of services. If the restaurant is partnered with a hotel, cruise line, or other hospitality business, decisions that can benefit both sides of the partnership may be considered as well.
Turnarounds, where a failing restaurant is rehabilitated, can also benefit from a restaurant consultant. Original owners or new buyers taking over a restaurant in trouble may bring in a consultant to identify specific problems and suggest fixes. This can include looking over bookkeeping and human resources records, reviewing the menu, and conducting surveys to learn more about how people perceive the business. Information from the consultant’s research can determine how to turn the restaurant around.
It is also possible to use a restaurant consultant for major changes. Restaurants may want to radically change direction in terms of what they offer, and a consultant can help with a smooth transition. This can include repositioning the establishment in the market so people understand the changes; for example, a vegetarian restaurant might decide to go raw, in which case it would be focusing on a slightly different clientele.
Consultants are available for specific issues in addition to whole-restaurant evaluations. This can include help with finances, menu planning, and nutritional concerns. Responding to changes in nutritional needs can be important for restaurants that want to be able to accommodate customers on special diets or to change older recipes that may not fit with current trends. Establishments interested in increasing their environmental responsibility and accountability might bring on a restaurant consultant to discuss options like local food sourcing, changing a menu to make it more sustainable, and limiting resource use.