Restaurateurs are busy people. Always running around solving problems, paying bills, meeting with people, making sure that everything is ready; every single day…
So being busy is part of the job description, but the question is: Are you being productive? There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. You see? You can run errands the whole day and keep your hours busy doing a million things that, at the end of the day, don’t add up to your bottom line.
Being busy is just filling in the time that you have available. Being productive, on the other hand, means moving in the direction of your goals. And I guess that this is where the problem lies. Many restaurateurs, unfortunately, don’t have a clear and define goal. They don’t have a vision and a strategy to take them there so they just work, day by day, hoping to make a lot of money and bring back many happy clients.
If you want to succeed in your business, and use your time efficiently, you need to have a vision and you need to create a strategy to take you there. This is the only way for you to know that each and every day, you are moving in the right direction and working on tasks that will take you there.
For example, your vision may be to work fewer hours so that you can spend more time with your family. Then your strategy should be to hire bright, honest, and hard working staff that you can start delegating on, and your daily accomplishments should be to delegate a new task that somebody else can do equal or very often better than you.
Or perhaps your vision is to expand your restaurant and open some other restaurants so that you end up with a multi-unit. In this case, your strategy should be to systematize and document your processes: from written recipes and cooking techniques, to interaction with your clients, from the moment they make a reservation to the time that they leave your restaurant. You must have clear and documented processes if you want all your restaurants to work and perform consistently.
You see where I am going? Without a clear vision and a defined strategy, you may spend your day running around and wasting your time in tasks that somebody else could you do for you. You should know what your strategies are and spend most of your time working on them. Everything else won’t take you anywhere, and it will leave you exhausted, frustrated, and working 16 hours a day without really accomplishing anything worth it.
Sit down, take a few hours os uninterrupted time and thing what is your vision, what you ultimately want to accomplish with your restaurant in, let say, 5 or 10 years from now. Then, once you have this figure out, write the strategy that it will take you there. Finally, share your vision and strategies with your staff and your family so that everyone is crystal clear about it and there is no doubt.
Now you are ready, each day, to work on tasks that will fulfill your strategy and, ultimately, your vision.
Would you have perfect productive days this way? No, you don’t. In the restaurant business there are a thousand daily interruptions and fires that need to be dealt with, but you will have a good sense of accomplishment each day that you make progress, even if it’s just a little, and move into the right direction.
Having a vision and a strategy is like having a compass that points you the right direction. Sometimes you won’t be able to go in a straight line. There will be mountains that you must go around and rivers that you must wade, but eventually, you know that you are moving towards your final destination.