How To Launch An Award Winning Restaurant

By Louise Palmer-Masterton, founder, Stem + Glory

Lots of people dream of opening a restaurant, but many don’t survive. According to The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/19/number-of-uk-restaurants-going-bust-up-by-a-fifth-in-2017) the  number of restaurants closing is up by 20% in 2017. However, alongside the demise of the chain, we are seeing the rise of the independent; and the success of Stem + Glory is certainly testament to that.

Stem & Glory Head Chef Gemma

Having opened two successful, award winning and profitable restaurants, what do I see as the secret recipe?

  1. Find your passion. My current business, Stem + Glory, is a vegan restaurant brand, coming from my own 35year personal story with plant-based cuisine. So, first rule; follow your passion. That way it will be a love affair.
  2. Find your place in the market. With Stem + Glory. I had spent years trying to find a decent vegan restaurant, so it became increasingly obvious there was a huge gap in the market.
  3. Identify your USP. Every business must have one. With Stem + Glory it is ‘delicious’. I knew that what was already available was all too often rather bland and boring. Therefore, by providing exciting and delicious plant-based foods we knew we would very likely be on to a winner.
  4. Have outstanding customer service. I am a firm believer that making other people feel good is pretty much the answer to everything. One kind word can change an entire day. Recruit on the basis of competence, confidence and kind disposition; the rest you can train. Your team are vitally important to you, nurture and care for them and they will care for your customers.
  5. Location. Our first location is very unusual. It is on the first floor, above a cycle shop, on a traffic island in a not especially good part of Cambridge. And yet it has worked. Maybe it is its obtuseness! But more important than location is having a mechanism to drive people to your location. It’s not enough to have a good location and wait for people to pitch up at your door.
  6. Themed nights and special events. This is hugely successful for us. Look at the calendar and create specials and special menus around events. You have all the classic ones (valentines, mother’s day etc.) but some of the more random ones have worked brilliantly for us – Burns night, Cinco de Mayo. A themed special event menu with two courses for xxx or three courses for xxx is tried and tested and works.
  7. Spend money on photographing your dishes. We are hugely image focused and in 2018 you have to be able to entice people on social media with great images. Images of our food drive our Facebook campaigns and our recent successful crowdfunding campaign.
  8. Have regular special dishes on your menu. This gives you something to market on social media. We have literally filled our restaurant with a special dish. It also gives your chefs the chance to be creative, which they love.
  9. Experiment with your opening hours. Analyse your sales per hour and costs to open. Every location will have its own rhythm and flow – work out yours.
  10. Market the restaurant – and then market it some more. There is a direct relationship between marketing and success. At Stem + Glory we literally do not stop. If you can embrace new ways of marketing and new tools, you’ll be on to a winner.         I believe that being successful is as much about you as it is your product. If the going ever does get tough, approach things with curiosity to find solutions. Be authentic and stay true to your own vision and passion and let this passion infect your team. Be persistent, be ambitious, be bold, and above all, be kind.

Stem + Glory has two restaurant locations in Cambridge and will be opening a third location in London later his year. www.stemandglory.uk

Stem & Glory Head Chef Gemma



Louise Palmer-Masterton is founder of multiple award-winning restaurant Stem + Glory; a hip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurant, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredient 100% made on site. Stem + Glory offers all day casual fine dining, fast breakfast, brunch and lunch, juices, smoothies and great coffee. All available to eat in or take away. Stem + Glory also offers mouth-watering and hugely popular tasting menu evenings and special event menus. The restaurants have an extensive vegan bar, offering the best craft beers and fine wines, alongside cocktails, mocktails and smart drinks. www.stemandglory.uk



Social Media:

Twitter: @stemandglory
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stemandglory/
Instagram: @stemandglory

Linked in: /louisepalmer-masterton

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