Restaurant Audits

Throughout the world each year we complete restaurant audits for businesses of all sizes. In doing so, we always find something brand new to fix that is very specific to that particular client, but we also always find a number of common challenges, mistakes, and opportunities.

A restaurant audit is a consulting service whereby we do a 300+ point inspection of a restaurant operation.  We analyze hundreds of checkpoints covering all the major facets of a restaurant such as operations, staffing, design, menus (the design, engineering, profitability, layouts, yields, turnover, etc), marketing, facilities, profitability, sales performance – we go through everything

As the name implies, the “audit” spells out where the restaurant is under-performing or out-performing industry standards based on the snapshot taken during the site visit (and — most importantly — what to do about it).

Here we share thoughts on a few common challenges and opportunities we see time and again just to spark internal dialogue about how your restaurants are performing.  The below list is not in any particular priority and is certainly not all inclusive, but hopefully some of these items will be helpful to you as you consider an external auditor or an internal audit of your restaurant. 

Restaurant Brand Audit

“Relevance” has a deeper, broader meaning in today’s market than the traditional logos or slogans of yesterday. Similarly, a modern restaurant brand audit requires much more than just auditing a company’s marketing efforts. A thorough brand audit would analyze the restaurant positioning and bring the chain’s value proposition back into the spotlight and it’s the starting point of an opportunity to bake the brand back into the touchpoints that matter most.

Restaurant Finance and Operations Audit

We do a lot of commercial and operational due diligence for middle-market private equity firms. It’s a strong suit. Over time, we’ve come to realize that it makes sense to pressure-test a business with this same approach and rigor (even if there is no intention to sell or take on debt or investment). Without exception, the process reveals new perspective and insight that can contribute to improved business strength and performance.

Common Marketing Errors Found Through Restaurant Audits

Modern marketing is moving faster than most restaurant chains are modernizing. How do you sort out what’s best for your brand? Start with an objective marketing audit led by specialists that really understand the industry, emerging and evolving trends and competitive dynamics, and the multitude of other meaningful metrics and pressure-points that can help you move from average to magnificent.

Most Common Restaurant Mistakes

Restaurant audits work top to bottom and across functional areas to uncover margin bleeds. Here are the restaurant mistakes we see most often and that can work as a checklist for your audit report.

Common Service Mistakes And Missed Opportunities 

Service quality is a huge factor in customer satisfaction. Every employee interaction communicates something to guests. In this article we consider some of the most common restaurant service mistakes to verify.

Common Exterior Design & Facilities Maintenance Issues

When the restaurant concept isn’t clear from the exterior design, there are run-down and tired-looking exteriors, insufficient signage or road visibility traffic will suffer. Learn about these and other restaurant mistakes.

Interior Design & Facilities Audits

Walking inside a restaurant is like walking into the belly of an advertisement.  Everything communicates. Unlike typical ads which often just engage one, two, or three senses maximum, a restaurant engages all five of the human senses.  This raises the stakes substantially on customer expectations and performance levels necessary to compete effectively today. We rounded up some of the interior design errors most commonly found in restaurant audits.

Menu Design Mistakes

We are able to consistently increase profits for any restaurant (whether an independent or national chain) by $1,000 per month, per million dollars in annual revenue just by re-engineering and designing the menus.  This is without any increase in price – just adjusting the layout and design is worth $1k per-month, per-million in annual revenue.  Think of yourself as a landlord and every item on your menu as a tenant – are all your renters paying their fair share?  Here are a few things we frequently see.

Food and Beverage Audits for Hotels

Across the globe, hotel F&B is being reshaped by powerful forces — Airbnb, food delivery, and technology among them. While some savvy companies are responding to these (and other) trends, many hotel food and beverage programs continue to lag behind.



Aaron Allen & Associates works alongside senior executives of the world’s leading foodservice and hospitality companies to help them solve their most complex challenges and achieve their most ambitious aims, specializing in brand strategy, turnarounds, commercial due diligence and value enhancement for leading hospitality companies and private equity firms.

Our clients span six continents and 100+ countries, collectively posting more than $200b in revenue. Across 2,000+ engagements, we’ve worked in nearly every geography, category, cuisine, segment, operating model, ownership type, and phase of the business life cycle.