Being successful in the restaurant business can be a challenge. More than 90% of people who open restaurants fail within the first three years. It takes more than a just a good cook. In order to succeed, owners must be able to do a number of things well. Here are ten ingredients experienced restaurant owners say helped make their restaurants successful.

1. Location, location, location

Where your restaurant is located is very important. If your restaurant is in a place where there’s lots of drive-by or walk-by traffic its chances for success increases significantly. Convenient access or lack thereof can make or break a restaurant. Rare is the restaurant people will go out of their way to patronize.

2. The Team

In the restaurant business it takes a great team to do well. There are a number of things that must be done properly for a restaurant to succeed. Everyone from the chef to the cleaning crew has to do their jobs or the restaurant will go the way of the dinosaur. Not only must everyone do their jobs well individually, they have to coordinate their activities so they can please the customers and make them want to come back again and again.

3. Your Concept

It takes more than just good tasting food for a restaurant to be a hit. It must also have a cohesive concept that pulls the food, the layout, and the ambiance together. A good concept can draw people into a restaurant out of curiosity. They’ll come back if the food, décor, and ambiance work well. A good concept can also add a little entertainment and generate interest among consumers. This can also help a restaurant separate itself from its competition.

4. Capitalization

It often takes restaurants time to carve a niche and consistently attract enough customers to become profitable. That means restaurant owners must either have deep pockets or a team of investors that are patient and supportive enough to give the restaurant a chance to succeed. Otherwise, the restaurant owner will have to spend too much time worrying about the fine print on shareholder agreements to focus on creating the best atmosphere, hiring the right staff, and pleasing the customers.

5. Proper planning

The success or failure of a restaurant is often determined during the planning stage. If the restaurant owner doesn’t spend enough time doing in-depth research into all phases of the business plan, it’ll be near impossible for them to do well enough for the business to survive. On the other hand, those restaurant owners who do their due diligence and pay attention to the minutiae involved in setting up and running a restaurant, their chances for success improve significantly.

6. The Right Skill Set

Restaurant owners often have to be autocrats. Plus they must be passionate about the restaurant business and possess the wide variety of skill necessary to handle day to day operations. Those with the right skill set can save money by doing many tasks themselves. They must be able to deal with suppliers, hire good staff, manage the many duties involved in running a restaurant, and be able to roll up their sleeves and prepare a meal in a pinch or bus tables and mop floors if necessary.

7. Great Food

Restaurant need to offer food customers enjoy eating. This is the heart of the restaurant business. Things like concepts, ambience, and even location don’t matter if the restaurant doesn’t serve good food. The restaurant must be able attract and retain the interest of their local customers and create repeat customers. Consistency in the type and quality of the food on the menu is crucial. Using fresh, high-quality ingredients, giving healthy portions, and cooking great tasting, nutritious meals are what bring customers back time and again.

8. Affordable Prices

Price matters. This is especially true in today’s economy. Restaurants that are able to offer great food at reasonable prices stand a good chance of surviving. The average restaurant is dependent on regular visits by local families to remain in business. If they’re able to feed a moderate sized family or group of friends great food at an affordable price without skimping on quality or portion size and still make a profit, chances are the restaurant will be successful.

9. A Great Chef

A great chef is essential for the success of any restaurant. After all, the food is what draws people to a restaurant and keeps them coming back. The best chefs do more than simply make food that looks and tastes good, they understand they are often the heart and soul of the restaurant. It’s important to hire a chef with experience, great cooking skills, an impressive culinary education, good instincts, and an impeccable attitude. They must also be innovative, make wise decisions, and be able to manage a kitchen. It can be backbreaking work, but great chef do it with style.

10. Advertising

Word-of-mouth is the best advertising. To be successful restaurants must let people know they exist, where they’re located, and what kind of food they offer. Rather than spend money on expensive advertising, if restaurants focus on providing great food at affordable prices and creating an enjoyable atmosphere, customers will find them, keep coming back, and tell many others.

Running a successful restaurant is challenging. But with the right ingredients the owner can control overhead, maintain high standards, provide great food customers can’t get anywhere else, and make a good profit while the customers enjoy tasty, affordable meals and have an enjoyable experience.