Restaurant Owners: Stop the Stress Cycle in Your Restaurant

growth mindset job of a restaurant owner restaurant owner leadership
Restaurant Owners: Stop the Stress Cycle in Your Restaurant

Today's podcast episode topic centers around what kind of mindset shift you as a restaurant owner must follow to be the leader your restaurant needs to manage the incredible challenges our industry is facing. I'm excited to share with you how you can take control of what you can control and lead your business to success. The crazy part: it can be as simple as you choosing your attitude.

I don't think it's an overstatement to say that owning a restaurant is the toughest of any business out there. There are so many challenges in running a restaurant. Most business models have department heads who take very specific roles on in the company. For example, in other businesses, someone handles marketing, another handles safety and compliance, another handles product procurement. Don’t forget human resources and training. You get the picture. There are all these departments with designated people in charge that handle it all. But as a restaurant owner, you have to wear all those hats at the same time. You have to understand all the laws and regulations where you are because the government doesn't accept not knowing. And the challenges don’t stop, pandemic or not. As I like to say, “Restaurant Happens!”

But what if I told you your biggest challenge is really where you spend your mental energy and time. That how you lead your business going forward will be critical to your and the business’s success.

That’s why I want to have a heart to heart with you about how important it is for you to focus your time, energy and mindset on what you can control versus what you cannot control. And that's really imperative for you becoming the leader your restaurant needs, your restaurant is a direct reflection on you.

Let’s start with what you can't control:

  • Bad customer reviews
  • Food prices
  • The labor market
  • The weather
  • Other people and what they do that affects you

These are all challenges that you face constantly in one form or another. There are definitely things you can do to combat them and help them have less impact on you, e.g., training, prime vendor agreement, becoming an employer of choice, but you can’t stop it all from happening.

You can also be upset about these big challenges, but not all the time. Take a day and allow yourself to do what helps you process the bad feelings, good or bad: cry, lie in bed, drink, eat, etc. But you can’t do it every day.

If you adopt a woe-is-me attitude, that's the leader you're going to be. That’s a stuck or fixed mindset. Whether you follow the vices or you just feel bad about yourself can cripple you and your business. Or you could focus on what you can control.

What you can control:

  • Your actions
  • Your reactions
  • Your feelings

What do I mean?

My dad would say if it's raining outside, you could be sad because it's raining. All too often people look outside and let the weather dictate how they feel, let it ruin their day, stop them from doing what they want to do. That’s a choice.

Or you could look out the window see it's raining and make a different choice. You can choose to be happy.

You get to choose your attitude every single day. You can be sad that it's raining, or you can be happy.  You can’t control the rain, but you control choosing your attitude.

This is a trait of someone with a growth mindset. Someone with a growth mindset sees all those challenges in the restaurant and decides they won’t stop them. You can learn to keep a positive attitude and to find a solution to any challenges in front of you. You can choose to be happy. You can start to think strategically about your business, look past the problems in front of you and start to plan.

You can ask for help.

With every action, there's a reaction. And actions start with your attitude and your mindset. They start with where you focus your energy. As a restaurant owner, you get to experience the highs and lows of running the business, but how you react and feel about it is in your control.

If this is something you would like to work on and improve so you can be the leader your restaurant needs, here are few things you can do:

Understand you don't know what you don't know and then learn. Read or listen to books so you can expose yourself to new information that can help. You can learn about leadership, restaurant profitability, marketing, personal mindset, whatever will help you grow.

Read articles. Look at industry trade publications, email newsletters or whatever comes to your inbox every day.

Listen to podcasts. Yes, I have a podcast, but you can find other podcasts about topics that interest you, whether they are about the restaurant industry or outside of the industry.

Watch videos. Whether it's YouTube, like my channel, or anything and everything from fixing your electrical panel on your own to tweaking your CO2 canisters. I don't care what it is. If there's anything that you want to learn, you can find it on YouTube or through online courses.

Attend workshops and seminars. Get outside of your restaurant’s four walls. Learn from experts on marketing, operations, human resources, training, personal mindset, whatever you need to know more about.

Join a group. You could join a restaurant association, a local chamber, or something specific like a mastermind group. Surround yourself with like-minded people who can help you.

To really make a difference in your life and business, consider a coach. I hope that if you get a coach, a restaurant coach, it's me, but I'm not everybody's cup of tea. There are other restaurant coaches out there who help with mindset, goal setting, or those who are outside the restaurant industry. The goal is to find someone you like who can help you grow your business.

Once you’ve taken the action to learn every day, the next step is to run your restaurant proactively. When you run it this way, the challenges aren’t as challenging because you have plans in place to manage them. Proactive management looks forward, past the challenges in front of you, and at what's coming around the corner.

That means you have to:

  • Have a budget that you update every day, week and month so you are prepared when things don’t go how you planned and can make adjustments – good and bad.
  • Implement systems so there is a process, a way of doing anything and everything in your business.
  • Training reduces turnover, increases productivity and makes you money.
  • Think strategically about your business.
  • Choose your attitude.

You can allow things to control you or take control of what you can control and lead your business to success. The choice is yours. 

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Create Freedom from Your Restaurant