Have you ever wondered why some restaurants have managed to operate in the same location with the same ownership for years and years, while others open and close as regularly as the seasons change? What is it that keeps customers coming back to one restaurant, while another stays empty?

While there are endless possible answers to this question, everything boils down to the mandatory basics that every successful Pittsburgh restaurant and bar follows. These landmark restaurants that have been around for what seems like forever are in perfect harmony with their customers’ wants and needs.

So just what does it take to achieve the type of longevity that every business owner aspires to have? We asked five successful restaurant owners in Pittsburgh and discovered that their answers included these same four qualities, ordered as follows.

1. Consistency


Your patrons want to know what they are getting each and every time they choose to come to your restaurant. If your chef and menu keep changing every week, for instance, or if you don’t have a set Happy Hour, your customers will likely flock to another establishment that offers the same regular menu items and drink specials that they can count on.

Consistency also applies to excellent staff training and protocol. You don’t want each customer’s experience to depend on the particular waiter that happens to take his or her table. Train your entire staff to follow one consistent set of guidelines, and hold each member accountable to those standards.

2. Cleanliness

Imagine that you’re dining at what you remember to be a classy restaurant, and a carpenter ant moseys across your table as your waitress delivers your food and then moves on without a word. What is the likelihood that you will be a repeat customer at this establishment? Probably slim to none.

The old adage that you lose your business one customer at a time is certainly true when it comes to these types of situations. As the number of lost customers increases, your restaurant starts to “go downhill.” To recover from this, the underlying problem – in this case, lack of cleanliness – must be identified and corrected immediately. Otherwise, the business will eventually crumble.

3. Quality


On the other hand, there is nothing quite like an amazing restaurant experience. The cost of the menu items takes a backseat to excellent service, food, drinks, and ambiance. In fact, more often than not, your customers are more than willing to pay a little extra if they know they can count on an incredible dining experience.

Don’t skimp on quality to try to cut costs. In the long run, this will only turn customers away. Instead, rely on your above-and-beyond service and food quality to draw in new customers and keep loyal patrons coming back.

4. Price

Even though it might come in second to quality, price will play a role in a diner’s decision to return to your restaurant or not. Successful businesses will find that “sweet spot” between offering attractive deals and turning a profit. Leaning too far towards one side of this spectrum could spell disaster for the longevity of your restaurant.

The Bottom Line

Keeping your restaurant operating profitably year after year is truly an art form. To achieve that success, learn to recognize and include all of the essential basics, including the top four mentioned above, in the everyday operations of your business.

If you’re new to Pittsburgh’s restaurant scene and are looking for some guidance finding and purchasing the perfect establishment, get in touch with our team of experienced and honest brokers at Specialty Group, located right here in Pittsburgh.