Many bricks and mortar stores are struggling even though we have come out of the global recession of 2008. A lot of people blame online shopping, but this is not always the case. For example, if you own a restaurant or café, online shopping is not going to be an issue, but you will have other challenges.
Challenges with Restaurants and Cafés
Making their own coffee
With Keurig sales booming, and the range of drinks pods available (including those from Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks), more people are making their coffee at home and drinking it there, or heading out the door with their morning Joe in a travel mug. Many offices also have similar coffee and hot drinks machines for their employees, meaning far fewer people may be coming to your café or restaurant for their mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Cooking at home
Restaurants often struggle to get people in the door due to local competition. And thanks to the Food Network and Pinterest, a lot of people are learning how to cook themselves. Cooking can be a fun and interesting hobby where you get to eat your experiments. This means fewer patrons each evening.
Meal kit subscriptions
Even if people are completely novice cooks, meal kit subscriptions means they can make their dinners at home virtually foolproof. The kits come with all the ingredients you need and a recipe card, to make a delicious dinner for two or four people, and a lot cheaper than a restaurant meal in most cases. They can save a lot of time and frustration, and open up doors to a whole new world of eating, such as Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, and so on.
If you’re a local restaurant and only serve Italian and it’s not their favorite, or they could make it cheaper themselves at home, you’re not going to have a steady stream of customers.
As customer numbers go down, rents go up. It can be tough to consider increasing prices to cover the new rent when you are already struggling to get customers in the doors.
Higher Utility Bills
The cost of utilities seems to go up every month. You need air conditioning in summer and heat in winter if you live in a seasonal climate.
Keeping Inventory and Supplies
Keeping inventory and supplies is a fine balancing act because you need stock to sell, but you don’t want to buy so much in advance that you get stuck with it.
This is particularly true of restaurants and cafés where the food is fresh, but will spoil if it isn’t used. Anyone who has seen Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares” will see what happens when restaurant owners are disorganized and trying to use up their food because they don’t want to let anything go to waste.
Clothing stores have a hard time each season because they can never tell what’s hot and what’s not in the world of fashion. It makes sense for clothes shoppers to go into a bricks and mortar store so they can try things on, but this can cause issues. The clothes can get damaged, or even stolen by clever shoplifters. You need to have space for changing rooms and keep everything scrupulously clean.
Sizing on garments can be very tricky, with Small, Medium and Large meaning very different things from brand to brand. If you don’t have the right item in the right size, you will lose the sale, but most stores can’t afford to stock too many items due to the upfront costs and the risk of being stuck with them.
A lot of stores end up having sales at the end of each season to try to make money from their remaining inventory and make room for new inventory, but this means less profit and more of a struggle to pay all the overheads.