How to Diversify Your Small Restaurant Business: Six Ideas!

If you own a small restaurant and are looking for new ways to grow your business, branching out into different areas is well worth considering.

As the famous saying goes, you should never put all of your eggs into one basket.

By finding multiple streams of income that all come to together to complement your main business, you’ll be in a much better position to expand and survive during harder times.

For inspiration, The Insurance Octopus has put together six ideas on how you can diversify a small restaurant to attract more customers and bring in more income.

1. Catering

With numerous parties, wedding receptions, business meetings and conferences taking place on a regular basis, there’s always a demand for quality catering services.

From sandwich platters to feed a few dozen people to full-on banquets for larger events and special occasions, creating a menu appealing to a variety of clients could prove to be an extremely lucrative side project.

If your restaurant is already well-known and highly regarded locally, finding those first few catering clients will obviously be much easier than if your venture is quite new.

Customers can be attracted by sending menus out to local businesses and leaving them in popular locations where lots of people pass by. Providing exemplary service will ensure you get those all-important rave reviews so that the word-of-mouth mill will hopefully start bringing in more contracts.

2. Corporate business

If your restaurant premises has a decent-sized room or space on another level that could be converted for purpose if necessary, why not provide a room hire service for business events and parties? You could tie in your catering services and also offer deals on refreshments and snacks for shorter meetings.

3. Sell your own products

Whether you own an Italian bistro, contemporary Indian curry house or vegan restaurant, a great option for diversifying your business is to start selling your own products.

This could be something as simple as packaging that famous ‘top secret family recipe’ for a pasta sauce that customers always comment on and setting up a stand near the front till.

Some restaurants even go as far as to establish a deli section where a unique selection of food and drink relating to the cuisine is available.

4. Food stall at local events and markets

Especially in smaller communities, having a presence at local events is an ideal way to drum up more business and bring in extra revenue.

Setting up a stall at food markets and foodie-related events in the area will allow you to serve some of your menu favourites and push any of your own products.

This is a priceless marketing opportunity.

5. Serve breakfast

Breakfast and brunch are big business – particularly if you’re located in or close to a commercial centre or popular tourist area.

While many restaurants traditionally serve lunch and dinner, opening in the morning could be another string to your bow.

You can have a café-style setup designed to attract ‘morning rush’ customers wanting to grab a coffee and a muffin on the way to work or aim to become known as one of the best places in town to get a full English!

6. Open a guesthouse

Opening a guesthouse or bed and breakfast is a possibility if you have a few spare rooms above the restaurant that could be adapted with ensuite bathrooms.

This would be a fantastic idea if you have the space on the premises, are prepared to invest in any necessary conversions and are situated in a popular area that gets plenty of visitors.

If you’re planning to diversify, don’t forget to get your restaurant insurance updated to address any changes to your business.