Every business owner can relate to sleepless nights. Restaurateurs are no different. We put our life and soul into running profitable venues that create a great experience for customers and a safe and happy workplace for staff.
Regardless of the lessons learned, I still find myself having sleepless nights worrying about my businesses. I still make mistakes and continue learning every day. Here are the top five things that keep me awake at night…
Number One – My team. I rely heavily on my team to realise my vision. It is my responsibility to recruit well, to train appropriately and to ensure that there are processes and systems in place to enable them to do their jobs so we can operate to the highest standard. This is not easy to achieve and there a number of factors that constantly challenge this. Turnover, small talent pools to recruit from and inability to be coached or to embrace change. This year we are heavily invested in training and setting up clear and easy to follow processes and systems. I lie awake at night thinking about how much needs to be done and what I can do better.
Number Two – Cash flow. I manage all the finances for our businesses including our cash flow. Its a never ending battle of prioritising where payments need to go, to ensuring that there is money in the bank to cover unseen costs. At this time of year, particularly with the hot weather, everything breaks down. We deal with constant breakages, equipment malfunctions and the biggest factor, rising costs. Every week I monitor our financial position and analyse our spending to see where we can improve or what we need to get better at. Regardless, I lie awake at night thinking about rising bills and how we can get better at this.
Number Three – Negative reviews. We understand that not everybody will like what we do. We get criticised all the time. People have an opinion on our staff, our food and on how we chose to operate our restaurants. Some criticism is very valuable and helps us think differently or how we can do better. Some is spiteful and untrue, but difficult to not take personally. When you put everything you have into creating something that is great, it is hard to not take all reviews personally. I still lie awake at night thinking about some of the feedback we get, particularly when I know it to be untrue or unfair.
Number four – My Mistakes. I’m not afraid to admit that I make mistakes. In fact I truly believe that if I stop making mistakes then I am not trying hard enough. In saying this, I still beat myself up over the mistakes I make. Usually its interactions with staff, customers or suppliers. Or a decision I’ve made that has not delivered on the results. I’m human after all, but reflecting on these has ended on many sleepless nights.
Number five – Imposter syndrome. I think every business owner has experienced this and always will. When things don’t go right, I often question my own capability to run my businesses. I don’t know it all and always consider myself a student to my career and restaurant life. However, when you are the Owner and when the buck lies with you, it can be difficult when imposter syndrome sets in. I lie awake thinking about how to remove myself from the doubt and negative energy. I find that surrounding myself with people who believe in me and my vision really helps as do great books and podcasts that can inspire and teach me to be a better version of myself.
Sleepless nights will never go away either. In my view, they tell me I care. They tell me I strive for excellence and am always thinking about how to do better for my customers, my staff and my family.
So this year we have committed to setting a clear vision and goals for our restaurants. We are committed to running our own race so we can achieve what we want to achieve professionally and personally. It has been a week or strategising and setting great goals. All in all I am striving to reach my best restaurant life with the added bonus of a good nights sleep.