"Lack of time is actually lack of priorities." - TIM FERRISS
I’m sure all restaurant owners can relate to not having enough hours in the day. Too often we are so busy doing service and working in the venue day-to-day that we don’t prioritise our time on what is going to make us money. Well here’s the thing. If you don’t take the time to focus on the areas of your business that will make you money long-term, then you will never step off struggle street.
Here are the five areas of my business that I will not compromise my time on. I recommend these to all Restaurateurs to build long term revenue and sustainability for your restaurant.
Marketing – As an independent restaurant owner without a marketing team or a substantial marketing budget, I have to be the master of my marketing. If I don’t my restaurant doesn’t have a voice, it is not top of mind for customers and I will never be the number one choice. When I plan my marketing I focus on social media, loyalty programs, in-house promotion, website and analytics, partnerships and competitions just to name a few. The majority of this I will do in-house but there are some elements that I will outsource to experts. Each venue is unique so do what works for you.
Sales – There are so many ways that you can boost sales in your restaurant but this is not to be confused with marketing. Marketing, for me, is about building presence and being top of mind for new and existing customers when making a decision on where to dine out. Sales is about increasing spend once customers are in my restaurant. We focus on things such as menu design, up-selling items, seating, diversity of product range and our environment. If you are not focusing on sales then you are missing out on spend when customers are already in your venue.
Cost Control – I know my numbers. I can tell you my wage costs week on week and what we spend on food and beverage items. I know my operating costs and debt position at the end of each period. We share this information with our management team every month. Together we brainstorm on how to budget and manage costs for the upcoming period. This is critical. If I don’t know my numbers then I don’t have control of my restaurant. I can be guaranteed that money is being spent un-necessarily and I don’t know where its going. Ever wonder why your restaurant is busy but you don’t have any cash in the bank once bills are paid? It’s because you don’t know your numbers well enough.
Culture – We strive for a high performing culture in our business. One where our management team are empowered to make decisions and where our team feel rewarded. We have made a strong commitment to prioritise building leadership capability so our team make the right decisions with hiring, on-boarding, training and day-to-day operations within the restaurant. To build a high performing culture you will need buy-in and accountability. You need clear standards, expectations and goals as well as consequences if not met. If you don’t you will have high turnover, will find it hard to find the right people and your team will be hard to work with.
Reputation – People need a reason to come into your restaurant. Whether its your point of difference, your customer promise or a recommendation. People want a reason to dine with you. Your reputation is built on so many factors like how your restaurant is presented, how you and your staff interact with each other, customers or suppliers. Building your reputation through great relationships, reviews, awards, and a fantastic experience or interaction is paramount to your restaurants success. Have a clear vision for your restaurant. Write a mission statement and set goals so that vision can be realised. Share this with your team and get their buy-in.
Before you do any of this remember to also look after yourself. It might sound cliche but investing in your health and wellbeing will lead a healthier mind that can prioritise better, make clear decisions and get shit done!