What to Expect When You're Expanding

Busy restaurant


You’ve got the concept, the ambition, and you've just found the perfect site. The lessons you learned from opening and running one site are valuable, but it’s time to put half your eggs in another basket and open up another site. In an ideal world, when it comes to taking the plunge and expanding the sites you operate on, no stone will be left unturned, and by bending the laws of physics you’ll simultaneously appear in more than one place at once in order to maintain control. The reality is normally somewhat different. We spoke to three industry experts and asked what advice they'd pass on to anyone that is considering that tricky second site.

Improve your Delegation skills

‘The biggest single challenge was opening my second site,’ according to Ben McKellar, owner of The Gingerman Group, a four-strong collection of pubs and restaurants in Brighton. The dedication to build just one business to the point where it can be expanded needs such single-minded determination and passion that it’s understandably difficult to let go. However, McKellar found that ‘once you get your head round not being in two places at once, your communication and delegation skills improve and you learn to trust others.’

Get the right team so you can focus on the big picture

Having the right people in the right positions is one of Brian Whiting’s priorities for his eight-strong collection of pubs in Kent. The Whiting & Hammond's MD found an initial struggle was ‘how time consuming it was employing lots of people,’ but the solution for him was to ‘surround yourself with good people and don’t be frightened to take advice.’ For McKellar, having enough time to focus ‘on the bigger picture’ is one of the most important elements of the job. This is perhaps the most challenging aspect of expanding one’s business: maintaining vision and drive across all sites without neglecting one in favour of another.

Mistakes don’t mean failure

The vast amount of data that is now available in the public domain means that with the right tools you can minimise prospective risk in order to launch new sites or menus that fit the criteria of local customers. By using Market Insights, Gavin George, Chief Executive of InnBrighton was ‘very clear on exactly who lives within a mile radius of a site’ and has avoided making the mistakes of 'opening sites in locations that weren’t suitable.’ InnBrighton have found that using other organisations' expertise has helped them avoid making the kind of errors that could negatively impact the business. Of course, sometimes mistakes are unavoidable. Learning from previous mistakes is important to McKellar:‘I think you learn every day by trial and error, making mistakes but not dwelling on them and making sure you only make them once’, to go with your instinct may not always yield immediate success, but the benefits from doing, learning, and improving, will ultimately give you the required tools to successfully expand your business.

If you're thinking of expanding, Bibendum's Market Insights team can help you analyse the consumer demographics, tastes and trends in your area. Contact us to find out more.

3rd April 2014

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