What Makes a Restaurant Successful? The Complete Guide

A little less than 50% of restaurants survive the first five years.

Why is this you might ask? Imagine hundreds of restaurants competing over a variety of factors. Everything from the food’s taste to the manager’s attentiveness needs to be impeccable.

With so many restaurants to pick from, you want to know which ones are the best. Read on for a guide on what makes a restaurant successful.

Amazing Service

Did you know that 63% of consumers value the restaurant experience over specific items?

Besides the food, a restaurant’s service is the most important factor in its success. Nobody wants rude, inattentive servers during their evening out.

But great service isn’t limited to a friendly waitstaff. It also means knowledgable bartenders and managers willing to answer your questions.


There’s a reason the FDA visits restaurants regularly for inspection. Not only is cleanliness important for a restaurant’s success, but unsafe procedures are a health risk.

Dirty dishes and dusty floors can be signs of much more serious issues. Plus, a sparkling clean dining room can set you at ease as soon as you walk in.

Consistently Excellent Food

High quality and tasty food is the hallmark of a great restaurant.

Whether you’re enjoying a five-star steak or at the local burger joint, delicious food keeps customers returning for more. Great food means three things: a well-crafted menu, appealing taste, and consistency.

Successful restaurants hire trained chefs and change their menu often. Local ingredients are a plus as are menus that have a narrow focus.


Romantic lighting, plush chairs, and beautiful views make for incredible restaurant ambiance.

This doesn’t mean you have to find the most expensive joint in town. Any restaurant in an ideal location or that invests in its decor can bring the right ambiance.

Some restaurants find success in their one of a kind style such as underwater cafes or 80s style diners. For must try restaurants with great ambiance, check out the Table Rock Lake area’s excellent selection.

Drink Quality and Variety

While the food is the centerpiece of the restaurant, drinks can’t be left out.

A unique and curated drink menu shows the care that went into it. There should be a good mix of classic cocktails and unique house blends. Bartenders should be well trained and, like the rest of the staff, be able to answer any questions.


Nobody wants to wait for hours for their food. You also don’t want the entree and dessert at the same time.

The waitstaff and kitchen should work together seamlessly. A great restaurant will time your courses well enough to leave you hungry for more but not frustrated with the wait.

This can vary depending on the restaurant, but it should meet the timing expectation for the type of food it serves.

What Makes a Restaurant Successful

Smiling servers, sparkling bathrooms, and mouthwatering dishes: Each one of these factors is what makes a restaurant successful.

Now that you understand what to look for, it’s time to explore the restaurants your city has to offer. Check out the rest of our magazine for more food and beverage tips!