You are probably over-complicating what is needed for positive sales and traffic.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed as a restaurateur? Are you working IN the business instead of working ON the business? Do you feel like you are drowning in the details and endless attention-robbers that suck all of your attention and energy? I get it. I’ve been where you are.

You may very well feel like your service staff in the weeds. You can’t seem to focus on one thing, get it done, and move to the next. If this is you, STOP! It doesn’t have to be that way. You are probably over-complicating what is needed for success. Instead, do what I did to overcome where you are now. Put all your focus, priority, and effort into only these five things:

People—This includes your guest, your team, investors, vendor partners, and local community. People are the most important focal point of the restaurant and our focus. Prioritize your team even before your guests. Having the right people in place will help you focus on the guest. Here is a simple six-part plan to help you crush it with your people: RECRUIT, DEVELOP, DELEGATE, SUPPORT, FOLLOW-UP, REPEAT.

Regarding your guests, be present on the floor. You and your leadership team must run your business on the floor. This doesn’t mean that you as the owner shouldn’t take time off of the floor to work on your business. But it does mean that someone in authority needs to engage with the guests. Being on the floor does five things. 

  1.  It tells the guest they are important
  2.  It creates deep meaningful human connections
  3. It shows support to your team
  4. It creates more consistent high level guest experiences
  5. It gives you the opportunity to auto-correct when things aren’t perfect.

As far as your vendors and your community go…… these are the mavens. In addition, your staff and guests will tell the world how great you are. They become a part of your success because they take a personal interest.

Product—quality and consistency. As a restaurateur your product includes food, beverage, ambiance, and brand. Ambiance includes lighting, music, and cleanliness. Your brand must say something consistently to the world. Your brand is your story and every part of your business. It is your promise to the world. 

Food and beverage have to be phenomenal. Don’t put lame crap on the menu just to offer more options. Sometimes less is more. It’s the people and product aspect of your business that gives the guest the warm fuzzy feeling. Without it you are just slinging food and filling bellies. Create special memories for the guest and you will have a loyal following.

Processes—Implement hiring, training, scheduling, ordering, receiving, prepping, cooking, serving, cleaning, sales, cost control, and communication policies and procedures to ensure that people are cared for and the product is awesome. Processes require having the right people to execute them and also a consistent focus day after day, shift after shift, plate after plate.

Purchases—This includes two things. It includes controlling what you purchase and it includes increasing the guest purchase. Build the bottom line (profits) by focusing most of your attention on the top line (sales). Remember you don’t take percentages to the bank. By focussing on what the guest spends first, numbers tend to fall in line with a little management of numbers.

Profits—Money flows toward you and you keep a lot of it if you focus on the first four priorities. People focused on product and processes equals purchases and profits. Keep your focus simple. Every decision you make affects one or more of these five P’s. Ask yourself each time, how will this decision affect people, product, processes, purchases, and profit. Sometimes they contradict one another. 

Always prioritize people over the other four and you will see great returns on the money and time you invest in your business.

I’m a restaurant executive coach that wants to help. If you are over-whelmed, over-worked, or just plain over it and you want some help click the link below and book a FREE call with me to see how we can work together.

Editor’s note: This is the 26th article in a new column from restaurant expert Monte Silva. More on the series can be found here. The first story, on Why Underpaying Restaurant Employees is a Recipe for Disaster, is here. The second, on Why Marketing is Not Expensive, is here. The third, on people-centric leadership, is here. The fourth, on Why Working 70-Hour Weeks in Your Restaurant is Not the Answer, is here. The fifth, on How to Provide Hospitality in a High-Tech, Low-Touch World, is here. The sixth, on ‘The Convertible Culture’ in Restaurants, is here. The seventh, on Why the Old P&L Model Has Set Restaurants Up for Failure,’ is here. The eighth, on How to Scale Your Restaurant Business When There is Only One of You, is here. The ninth article, The Secret to Finding and Keeping Great Employees is Not Difficult, is here. The 10th, What Culture Do You Really Want at Your Restaurant?, is here. The 11th, on Your Restaurant Should Serve People, Not Product, is here. The 12th, on Don’t Let Shiny New Toys Distract Your Restaurant from What’s Most Important, is here. The the 13th, on Why Restaurant Value Shouldn’t Be Based on Price, is here. The 14th, on The Case for Hyper-Focused Menus, is here. The 15th, This is How Your Restaurant Will Survive Beyond 3 Years, is here. The 16th, on The Difference Between a Restaurant Coach and Consultant, is here. The 17th, What is a Restaurant Tech Stack, and How Do You Know if You Built the Right One? is here. The 18th, You Can’t Make Someone Accountable if You Haven’t Made Them Responsible, is here. The 19th, Memo to Restaurants: Service and Hospitality are Not the Same Thing, is here. The 20th, Why a Penny Saved in a Restaurant is Not Always a Penny Earnedis here. The 21st, on Why You’re Never Too Old for Greatnessis here. The 22nd, Why Consistency is the Only Way to Keep Your Restaurant Openis here. The 23rd, on The Restaurant Industry Doesn’t Have a Labor Shortage—It Has a Leader Shortageis here. And the 24th, Are Restaurant Employees Today Entitled? is here. The 25th, Should Hotels Rethink How They View Restaurants?, is here.

Expert Takes, Feature, Operations