Restaurant Owner Mistakes I See All the Time
No matter how many years you've been in the restaurant industry, you see restaurant owners make the same mistakes all the time. Heck, maybe you've made some. I want to share with you the mistakes I see restaurant owners make all the time so you can avoid them.
Look, the restaurant business is hard enough without your potential self-sabotaging behavior. For starters, name another business where you're a marketer, human resource manager, government regulator, procurement manager, customer service specialist, trainer, accountant and CFO all at the same time. I don't know any. This business is the toughest business I know, but restaurant owners just love it. You get to create memories, develop employees, and give back to your communities. You get to think outside the box and problem solve daily. You get to play superhero. Put all of this together, and you can quickly see why the restaurant business can be so addictive.
Being that the business is hard enough as it is, let me try to make your life a little easier and list out the mistakes I see restaurant owners make all the time so you can avoid them.
Mistake number one: Blaming others instead of being the leader the restaurant needs. This goes back to that fixed mindset versus growth mindset. The fixed person says everybody else is my problem: the government, employees, customers, vendors. A restaurant owner fixed on everything that is wrong and unjust is looking to make it somebody else's fault. They don’t internalize and take responsibility for what's going on in their business. This is in comparison to a restaurant owner who adopts a growth mindset who sees the challenges and says, “I can outwork them. I can learn them. There's nothing that's going to stop me now.” It may not be easy and it may take more time, but you can get through anything. Your restaurant needs you to be that kind of leader.
Mistake number two: Not knowing the restaurant’s numbers versus working from a budget. Most of the time when I’m on a call with a restaurant owner, and I’ve done literally thousands of calls at this point, and I ask key questions about prime cost and inventory, they don’t know the answers. They don’t take inventories monthly much less weekly. They don’t track their labor daily. They don’t know their sales or their occupancy. They don’t work from a budget. This isn’t to shame anyone; this is an article of common mistakes I see restaurant owners make all the time, so you’re not alone if this is you. I am saying if you want to transform your business and play an active role in doing that, you need to go out and find information. It’s as simple as using free resources like YouTube, reading books, going to seminars and food shows, etc. Gathering knowledge and asking help to become better is a trait of a successful entrepreneur and restaurant owner. When you make that journey and you start to understand how important it is to have a budget to create your plan for success, you can quickly see where your opportunities are, what you need to put in place, what systems, what steps you need to take to make the money you deserve.
Mistake number three: Restaurant owners try and do everything on their own instead of identifying a right-hand person to help, who I call an implementer. Now look, I'm on a discovery calls every single week. I'm on coaching calls every single week. I talk to restaurant owners and managers daily, and I can tell you that those people who try and do everything themselves because they're God's gift to the restaurant or they're afraid to let go of control, those people are prisoners to their business. But when you identify an implementer, you have someone who can get stuff done while you focus on being the leader in the business. Your implementer can implement the systems, train the other managers, help hold them accountable. This is when your life changes and you start to have freedom from your business. You can have this freedom because you know someone is there to get things done.
What can you do if you’re making these mistakes?
- First, assess your leadership style. Are you a numbers person, a social work, a crazy maker? Understand what your strengths or weaknesses are. And put a plan into place that helps you implement systems that will make up for your weaknesses. (That is the secret to systems, by the way, they stay consistent.) This way you become the leader your restaurant needs.
- Second, create your plan for success, which is your budget. Then go back each month and measure. Look at what you thought you would do in sales, labor, ordering, etc., compared to what you actually did and, when you see where you missed, change your plan the rest of the year. Small little incremental changes can be made that don’t go against your core values so you can make the money you deserve and be able to not have to be there every single day.
- Third, identify your implementer. Have them help you implement systems and teach and hold other managers accountable for you. Understand your job as a restaurant owner is to work on budgets, marketing, developing your team, holding your managers accountable and leading your business forward.
Let me let you in on a little secret. This is exactly what my members do, which gets them restaurant prosperity, freedom from the restaurant and the financial freedom they deserve.