Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar Navigates Common Challenges

Shuckin Shack Oyster Bar Franchise

With a Focus on Employee Retention and Cost Control, the Oyster Bar Franchise is Prepared to Withstand the Restaurant Industry’s High Failure Rate

If you have always dreamed of opening a restaurant but are afraid of failing, you’re not alone. It is sad but true that around 60% of new restaurants fail within their first year, and 80% close their doors permanently before their fifth anniversary. 

With this rather dismal statistic looming over the heads of would-be restaurant owners, it’s a wonder that anyone has the guts to open a restaurant in the first place! However, not all restaurants fail, of course. Obviously, there are a number of successful eateries that become household names and do incredible business regardless of the economy and the restaurant industry’s high failure rate. 

Success in the restaurant business is less about luck and more about careful planning and preparation to overcome both expected and unexpected obstacles as they arise. It’s also about tapping into what consumers are looking for in a dining experience. Shuckin’ Shack has spent 15 years building a one-of-a-kind restaurant and bar that brings the laid-back beach vibes of an East Coast oyster bar to cities across America. Shuckin’ Shack Franchise Owners have the advantage of stepping into a proven system with strategies in place to navigate common restaurant challenges.

Shuckin Shack Matt Piccinin and Jonathan Weathington
Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar franchise Co-founder, Matt Piccinin (left), COO, Bill Bartlett (center left), Nate “The Grill King” (center right), and CEO, Jonathan Weathington (right).

Success in the restaurant business always requires a great business plan and a well-researched growth strategy to overcome the problems that restaurant owners face. Oyster bar franchise Shuckin’ Shack understands this and goes above and beyond. Shuckin’ Shack co-Founder Matt Piccinin, CEO Jonathan Weathington, and their crew of talented restaurant industry professionals are at the helm to help Franchise Owners navigate the sometimes-challenging waters of restaurant ownership, providing them with all the support they need to get off the ground and bring a unique and welcome seafood restaurant and bar to their community.

Why Restaurants Fail

First of all, you have to wonder why so many restaurants eventually fail. Is it that they didn’t offer a creative concept, or is it more along the lines of not taking care of customers’ needs when it was obvious that poor service was an issue. Honestly, it can be a little bit of both. Getting off to a good start with a proven restaurant model like Shuckin’ Shack gives aspiring restaurateurs a much better chance of making it through the initial growth phase. While it’s possible to do everything alone with no experience, it’s always beneficial to have a team of industry experts in your corner to offer guidance that comes from years of experience. 

The bottom line is that the majority of independently-owned restaurants go belly up after about three or four years, and the reasons vary from situation to situation. However, the reason why restaurants fail almost always boils down to getting caught off guard when things go wrong or unforeseen expenses come out of nowhere. The unexpected breakdown of a kitchen freezer, for example, or a POS system software issue can be highly detrimental to a small restaurant that didn’t see the repair cost coming.

Larger problems caused by natural disasters, such as power outages due to a major hurricane, can throw restaurants into a tailspin. Without power and running water for several days, it’s likely a restaurant owner will have to throw away all of their food stock due to spoilage. It’s expenses like these that catch many restaurant owners off-guard when capital is tight and there isn’t much room in their budget.

In this situation, quick fixes are usually made to try to weather the storm, but this can prove detrimental in the long run. Being mentally and financially prepared for unforeseen costs due to circumstances beyond your control can help keep your restaurant afloat. By devising a disaster recovery plan in the event of a number of scenarios, you can help ensure that your restaurant won’t be a casualty.

Restaurant Employee Retention Strategies

The team at the Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar, Summerville, South Carolina. 

There’s no doubt about it. Happy staff equals a happy restaurant. No matter how you structure a restaurant’s personnel, the front-of-house staff will always, always own the point-of-sales. You will literally depend on these workers to drive sales and promote the business too. Management will come and go, but nothing will ensure your success like an emotionally-bonded staff who helps and supports one another when things get hectic. Keeping staff happy is the key to employee retention and a successful restaurant.

While it may not be immediately obvious to customers, the atmosphere of a restaurant is governed by the attitude of the front-of-house staff. If the mood is relaxed, friendly, and enjoyable, the service will be great and the customers will be happy with their experience. On the other hand, a tense atmosphere brought on by an unhappy staff can be immediately sensed and put a damper on the dining experience, regardless of how good the food tastes.

Shuckin’ Shack understands this better than anyone and strives to consistently deliver a laid-back fun environment filled with front-of-house staff that is friendly, genuine, and attentive to customers’ needs. Unlike some of the “canned enthusiasm” that can sometimes be associated with chain restaurants, the oyster bar franchise’s enjoyment of people is authentic — they aim to please not because some corporate overlord is forcing them to but because they truly enjoy their jobs.

The Shuckin’ Shack Executive Team’s employee retention strategy is simple. They put a lot of hard work into making sure each staff member feels valued and respected, which can go a long way toward boosting morale and creating a tight-knit staff at each location. CEO Jonathan Weathington has emerged as a thought leader in the restaurant industry, appearing on Good Morning America and in the Wall St. Journal to offer his thoughts on how to reduce churn and retain quality employees amid recent hiring shortages. 

Weathington’s strategy for incentivizing workers is simple: treat them well and make them feel valued and appreciated. Through industry-leading hiring incentives, a fair wage, and flexible scheduling, Shuckin’ Shack employees are motivated to do their best, making for a much more enjoyable working environment. Not exactly revolutionary, but something that shockingly few restaurant franchisors go out of their way to do!

Working with a franchise concept that understands the value of each staff member and already has a system in place to ensure their continued happiness can help restaurant owners retain employees and will increase their chances of success. 

Managing Inflation Costs in a Changing Economy

Another common challenge for restaurant owners is cost control, especially food costs. In the seafood restaurant business, stock can be expensive if you don’t have a reliable supplier, so Shuckin’ Shack has worked hard to establish a solid supply chain that keeps Franchise Owners from having to pass along extra costs to customers while also protecting them from experiencing inventory shortages.

Right now, inflation is a huge topic for every type of business, and numerous restaurant owners are currently struggling to remain well-stocked without significantly cutting into their profits. Shuckin’ Shack’s dialed-in supply chain management processes have been in place for years, keeping costs as low as possible without cutting corners and watering down their concept. Franchise Owners are able to maintain the high quality of their seafood without having to raise prices as much as their competitors are doing. Thanks to Shuckin’ Shack’s supply chain management strategy, the reliability of inventory costs, along with the quality and availability of the product, helps Franchise Owners more accurately project sales figures from quarter to quarter, instead of making educated guesses on sales that may or may not materialize. All of this helps protect Owners’ bottom line in a way that independent restaurant owners are not able to match. 

The Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar Franchise Opportunity

Owning a Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar franchise helps entrepreneurs mitigate a number of common challenges that can tank a restaurant before it has a chance to succeed. By investing in a proven business model and partnering with an executive team that has spent the past 15 years fine-tuning their processes, Shuckin’ Shack Franchise Owners are far more prepared to tackle common restaurant problems along with any obstacles that may arise. 

Visit the Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar franchise website to learn more.

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Alana Willis has more than a decade of content writing experience. She has spent the last three years immersed in the world of franchise marketing as the Content Specialist for Raintree, a Denver-based franchise development agency. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time at home with her husband, son, and two "fur kids."
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