The Real Reason Your Independent Restaurant Isn't Growing

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The Real Reason Your Independent Restaurant Isn't Growing

Are you feeling frustrated because you want to grow your business and there is always something in the way? Maybe you want to increase sales for the one location you have now, or maybe you want to open additional locations, yet you're stuck. For many independent restaurant owners, it’s nearly impossible to find time to work on the things you need to do to grow, like marketing, because they’re stuck in the day-to-day of running the restaurant. Well, if you can relate to this feeling of being stuck, I want to share with you how you can change your reality and put yourself in a position to grow.

Restaurant owners are entrepreneurs with an inner drive that makes you want to grow your business, but something is always in the way. As a restaurant coach, I've worked with restaurant owners on a daily basis since 2003 and based on my experience, there are three major roadblocks that tend to prevent restaurant owners from growing their businesses.

  1. Doing too much. Doing the ordering, taking inventory, scheduling, budgeting, trying to do the marketing, working the floor as a manager, doing whatever job needs to be done in the business. Whether it's being a plumber or an electrician, they're wearing every hat possible, trying to do it all themselves to save money or because they just don’t know another way.
  2. They’re under managed. Managers, supervisors, leads, etc., execute your systems and your processes, and they do it your way, when you train them and hold them accountable. When you try and save money by not having management on the floor, it means you must be the manager.
  3. No systems. There needs to be a system, a process, a way of doing anything and everything in your business, your way. Whether it's counting out a bar door to $300 the same way every single time or advanced systems such as dollars per labor hour worked or ordering. Whatever it may be, there needs to be a system, a process, a way, your way, not some way of doing things that is in someone else’s head. Those people who have it all in their head? What happens if they leave? You lose the system. Without systems in place, it's very difficult to grow.

Here's what we do to overcome these challenges in my coaching program.

Find an implementer. You can't do this alone. Entrepreneurs like to chase the shiny object. They'd rather work on building sales. They would rather work on looking at new locations, doing the fun stuff, not making sure everybody did their work shift by shift by shift by shift. You need somebody on your team who helps you get sh*t done. They help you implement systems, train the managers and hold them accountable with you. I don't care if they're a key employee, the general manager or an operations person. It doesn't matter. You need a right-hand person.

Create a culture where the details matter. Focus on the basics and master Restaurant 101. After that create a checklist for every position for opening and closing side work, and cash controls to make sure every penny makes it to the bank. Caring about these little details sets you up with a management team that will do exactly what you need and care about doing it correctly every time.

Delegate the work. Develop an understanding that what restaurant owners do on a daily basis, 90 percent of it, is just tasks. That means we've got to find people to do the tasks right. Train people to do the tasks you think only you can do, such as writing the schedule, so that all you have to do is verify people are doing it, and you have time on your hands to explore the work that leads to growth instead of the day-to-day management. You can assign work to key employees or salaried managers and everyone in between. Develop the systems, make it part of their jobs, train them how to do it, trust that it’s getting done, but verify it’s getting done.

Create a plan for success. Your budget is your plan for success. It helps you decide what systems need to go in place and where your priorities are. Using a budget is a business transforming experience for most of the members of premium coaching program. It shows them the big picture at the same time that it allows them to drill down week by week to make adjustments that support the bottom line.

Continue adding systems strategically. When you can start to think strategically and look at your business as a whole because you're no longer making sure the money makes it to the bank personally, that the checklists are being done personally, all of a sudden you see the next things that need to happen. This is especially true if you have a budget that puts a glaring spotlight on your challenges and where you need to put systems to refine or control those numbers. Continue to train your management on all the new systems.

When my members make these changes, they then can take time away from the restaurant and have a life. But they also have time to be strategic, make plans and work on growing the restaurant. It's exactly what the chain restaurants do, so why can't you? When you have a management team in place following your systems, inspecting others’ use of the systems and keeping the processes flowing, then you can start working on your business versus working in it. When you can do that, you can, and you will, grow.

If you would like to learn how to own a restaurant that doesn't depend on you being in it to be successful, sign up for my free video course that teaches you three key principles to running a successful restaurant. If you're ready right now to make some serious changes in your restaurant, you can also book a 60-minute call with me where we talk about your challenges and figure out exactly what is holding you back from having a restaurant that doesn’t depend on you being in it to be successful. 

Be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips.


If you’re ready to finally get the relief you need so you can stop living in your restaurant and finally have the life you’ve been working for—
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