Now might be the time to start making some much-needed changes.

There are three restaurant business principles operators get wrong that get in the way of them having a life outside the restaurant. The consequences of getting these principles wrong is they are prisoners to their restaurant business and not making the money they deserve. Let’s talk about the business principles operators get wrong and then how to fix them.

Lead your team: If your restaurant’s daily operation is dependent on you being in it, then you’re fulfilling the wrong role as an owner. You’re showing up as a doer instead of a leader. Burning the candle at both ends is not the secret to a successful restaurant. The secret to running a successful restaurant is for the restaurant owner to lead the team to success. All you’re doing is burning yourself out and driving out your best employees. If you are tired of being a prisoner to your business and not making the money you deserve, you have to start leading your employees instead of doing their jobs for them.


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Learn to delegate and trust your team: The truth is that by trying to do everything yourself, you’re costing yourself a lot of money. What is it costing you to do it all and not trust and not delegate? You’re leaving money on the table each year, you likely have a high turnover rate, you aren’t growing, and it’s costing you in quality of life for yourself. To have freedom from your restaurant—whether it’s financial, physical or mental – you have to have people who do the work. And to have people who do the work, you have to stop doing it for them

Let the systems lead you: Here is what I know that not everyone wants to admit. You don’t actually have to be a natural leader to be a great leader. But you do need to become a leader to accomplish those things AND be profitable without burning yourself out. So what are the not-naturally-leadership-oriented people to do? How do you become a great leader so you can give your customers what they want and get what you want in return? SYSTEMS! When you document whatever task needs to get done, you suddenly become in control of everything down to the smallest detail without having to lift a finger to do it yourself.

These are the three restaurant business principles operators get wrong and how I coach restaurant owners to fix them. They are also the three principles I help restaurant owners correct in my 24-week premium coaching program. The program’s curriculum is planned specifically to meet the needs of the restaurant owner who has a desire to run a standout and exceptional restaurant, but one that doesn’t depend on them to be in it for all the shifts and all the hours. 

If you think your frustrations with your restaurant business have anything to do with one or more of these three principles, I encourage you to think about what you can do right now to start making change. Starting now gets you that much closer to your goals.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert who teaches restaurant operators how to cut costs and increase profits with his trademark Restaurant Prosperity Formula. He’s taught thousands of restaurants how to use operational systems and create a hospitality-based company culture to skyrocket their profits.

Expert Takes, Feature, Leader Insights