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What Does a Restaurant Consultant Do?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A restaurant consultant provides advice to restaurateurs as they open a new business, attempt to turn around a failing one, or consider major changes. People in this field typically have experience in the industry with managing and owning restaurants. They may have formal education in business management and related subjects, along with training in topics like nutrition, graphic design, and image presentation. Fees for consulting services can depend on the scope of the project and the consultant’s reputation.

People starting a new restaurant from the ground up may want to work with a restaurant consultant to increase the chances of success. Consultants can discuss menu planning and design, the physical layout of the facility, interior décor, and the kind of image the company wants to project. Advertising campaigns, logos, and related materials can be part of the package of services. If the restaurant is partnered with a hotel, cruise line, or other hospitality business, decisions that can benefit both sides of the partnership may be considered as well.

Turnarounds, where a failing restaurant is rehabilitated, can also benefit from a restaurant consultant. Original owners or new buyers taking over a restaurant in trouble may bring in a consultant to identify specific problems and suggest fixes. This can include looking over bookkeeping and human resources records, reviewing the menu, and conducting surveys to learn more about how people perceive the business. Information from the consultant’s research can determine how to turn the restaurant around.

It is also possible to use a restaurant consultant for major changes. Restaurants may want to radically change direction in terms of what they offer, and a consultant can help with a smooth transition. This can include repositioning the establishment in the market so people understand the changes; for example, a vegetarian restaurant might decide to go raw, in which case it would be focusing on a slightly different clientele.

Consultants are available for specific issues in addition to whole-restaurant evaluations. This can include help with finances, menu planning, and nutritional concerns. Responding to changes in nutritional needs can be important for restaurants that want to be able to accommodate customers on special diets or to change older recipes that may not fit with current trends. Establishments interested in increasing their environmental responsibility and accountability might bring on a restaurant consultant to discuss options like local food sourcing, changing a menu to make it more sustainable, and limiting resource use.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By Belted — On Jan 12, 2013

I have worked in restaurants for the last 20 years. I have been a server, a cook, a dishwasher, a manager, and just about everything in between. With all the experience I have I think I would make a really solid restaurant consultant. How do I break into this industry and what kind of education or certification do I need to improve my credentials?

By vigilant — On Jan 12, 2013

I manage a kitchen at a small, regional chain of pizza restaurants. About two years ago we went through a major re-branding process that changed the way we did everything. The owners worked with a restaurant consultant to re-visualize the menu, the logo, and the design of the restaurants.

Like most people, I was resistant to change, but since the re-branding we have seen a 20% increase in business and opened up three new stores. I guess they knew what they were doing.

By clippers — On Jan 11, 2013

I opened up a BBQ restaurant about three years ago and I worked with a restaurant consultant to make sure that I had all the forms and permits that I needed to operate legally. This is a long, large process that can be baffling to people like me that have no experience opening a restaurant. The consultant's services were relatively cheap, and she made the process of opening a lot easier.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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