By Malik Gill, Editorial Intern
The restaurant industry is always shifting. There are varying factors to take into consideration—new customers, promotions, marketing strategies, management, and menu alterations. One factor remains solid however; the constant competitors. Surviving in the restaurant industry is a fight that never ceases nor subsides. Sixty percent of restaurants fail within the first year of operation and 80 percent within the first few years. Lee Jones, the owner of Theze Bonez explains the constant oscillation in the restaurant industry and how he continues to navigate the business successfully.
All in a Day’s Work
A restaurant owner’s daily routine:
The day begins at 8 a.m. I arrive at the restaurant by 9 a.m. to meet with the kitchen manager to discuss the schedule for the day and look at inventory. Next, I pick up goods from the store and do a walkthrough to make sure the dining area is stocked and cleaned in preparation for opening at 11 a.m.. The day includes networking, taking catering orders, working on various projects for exposure, and checking on the kitchen to ensure that everything is going well. The restaurant closes when the last customer (a walk-in or call-in) is served. The kitchen is cleaned, food is put up and the floors are mopped. The dining area is cleaned, napkins, utensils, drink machine restocked, bathroom cleaned and floor swept and mopped.
The Search Is On
Describe the characteristics you look for when hiring employees:
Generally, there is a focus on a few things: A nice smile, friendly personality and availability.
Demand With a Plan
The vision for the restaurant in the next 5-10 years:
I intend for the restaurant to be a blessing to the community by offering a great product, which includes sound customer service, a friendly environment and tasty food.
Going with the Flow
The actions taken when the industry changes:
To maintain stability, I have to keep the quality of the product consistent and the price reasonable and affordable. I have to offer different ways to gain access to my current and future customers by using technology such as mobile applications like Groupon, Living Social etc. I also do seasonal additions to the menu and have a loyal customer card for customers who frequent the restaurant.
When the Times are Tough
The biggest challenges of the restaurant business:
It’s tough attaining and retaining good employees. Managing finances can also be challenging. During winter months, business is slower, therefore, you have to be able to hold on until the weather breaks and people are ready to come out after hibernating. You learn to shift things around in order to be able to make it.
The Place and its Space
The significance of location:
Theze Bonez is in the heart of Powder Springs, Ga. I would say that location is everything. We are in the middle of two major chain restaurants, so if you go to either one of them you will definitely see us. We benefit the community by being able to employ local people. We hire high school students to help them earn money for school. This is the first job for some of the students and we are proud to be the start of their employment experience.
The extraordinary factors of the restaurant:
We have solid customer service. I make it a point to try and speak with each customer. A rule we’ve implemented is that every customer must be greeted upon entry. If I don’t get to them first, someone on my staff will greet them. The food is excellent and is made from scratch. Nothing is out of the can. The greens are fresh and from a local farm, the mac n cheese is made from scratch, the corn bread is that “old fashioned hot watered bread,” and I am the grill master. The ribs and chicken are slowly cooked on the pit, so our food is truly homemade. And the deserts, well, we won’t even go there! AT