Why do some bars, restaurants and cafés achieve outrageous success while so many make poor returns or even run out of cash and are forced to close their doors?
For 15 years I was involved in a partnership running a successful 13-site hospitality business and as CEO at Loaded we have dealt with thousands of businesses in the industry and have spent and continue to spend a significant amount of our energy figuring out the answer to this question.
While we don’t have all the solutions, we have experienced common themes among both the managers we have personally employed and the owners and managers we have worked with at Loaded.
Across the board one of the common keys to success is undoubtedly a manager’s ability to create time then use it to create valuable outcomes. Many of you will have seen Michael Jordan in the Netflix Documentary “The Last Dance” which shows endless footage of an athlete in his prime doing things on the basketball court that the best of his peers couldn’t even get close to.
As is the case with so many great sports people, we saw someone who had trained for every situation, every possible scenario on court so that when a play unfolded in front of him, he recognised it faster than everybody else. With his supreme athletic ability he used the “time” he had created to turn it into something valuable - in his case lots and lot of points.
How can you practice creating time in your business?
Just as in the sporting arena, creating time in your business is 10% skill and 90% discipline and practice. If you don’t make a commitment to this, rather than chasing your tail and spending the rest of your days working in the “urgent”, then you don’t have a chance of increasing the value you are offering to your business and therefore its profitability.
Where to start?
There are some simple places to start to ensure your business has a structure that will start to free you from urgent and unimportant work to focus on the non-urgent, high value areas that should be getting your attention.
1) Does everyone in the business understand their roles?
a) Start with the people that directly report to you. If they don’t already have a job description, they should at least have a bullet point list of the key tasks demanded by their role that you have agreed with them.
b) These direct reports should have a regular scheduled time to meet with you and provide a standard report every week which will tell you if they are performing as expected.
This doesn’t need to be complicated. e.g. the functions manager might outline how many function enquiries there have been, how many functions are close to confirming and how many were actually booked during the week. All these figures should eventually have a target that you have agreed together.
2) Weekly communications meetings with the management team
- I have not encountered a highly performing hospitality business whose management team does not have some form of weekly meeting or communication session. Hospitality is too much of a fluid environment to meet less than weekly. The weather changes, the market changes, trends change, your team’s needs change – but despite this there should be one powerful hour each week where your entire management team gets on the same page.
3) Weekly performance Report
- As a business owner you need to know the key information that is driving your operation. If you don’t have a regular set of information which you are confident is accurate and that you can review each week, you simply won’t get out of tail chasing mode. Go and watch Michael Jordan again – at every training session you can see the look in his eye - he knew exactly what he was trying to get the team to achieve and what they needed to do to get there.
4) Time Management Rules
a) Most people who enter a hospitality outlet want to steal the time of the owner or manager. If you don’t have clear rules on how this works and how people can interact with you then there is nothing surer - they will steal your time. Period.
- Examples of rules you might look to implement to improve time management. Don’t meet with industry suppliers without a pre-booked appointment. The supplier must have booked in advance before turning up to meet you, no exceptions.
- Have a set time during the day when employees can phone or call in to discuss something with you. This prevents the team from assuming they can have a piece of your time whenever they want.
- Book your calendar out in advance and stick to it. If you have set aside two hours to work on reviewing your pricing, then make sure you achieve that. Be strict with yourself and treat your time as if it is someone else’s and not to be wasted.
Business owners who make a commitment to creating time for themselves will be surprised at how effective the impact of less disruption will be.
Free space will suddenly start to appear in your day. Depending on how long you have been in the “urgent and hectic mode” experienced by so many hospitality operators it will take some time to get used to this new found space and freedom. Once you are comfortable with it you should devise a clear plan detailing how you will use this new found free time to create even more value in your business.
Head to www.loadedreports.com/blog for plenty of ideas and real world examples from successful hospitality operators and managers as to how you can use technology to get the most out of your extra time and spearhead a hot streak in your business.
Author: Richard McLeod