From the front line: Make time to plan

From the front line: Make time to plan

Congratulations fellow OOH readers, you’ve made it to the second half of the year! As the summer holiday kicks in and many of our guests are off enjoying hospitality in sunnier climes, I often find myself in a reflective mood. In business, as in life, it’s a good time of year to take stock. Now is the time plan your next moves.

Be honest with yourself – where are you going with your business? I’m not talking about today, this week, or your holiday plans. I’m asking you: do you know where your restaurant is going? Or better yet: do you know where your business is going?

Most restaurant owners don’t manage to assemble any sort of strategic plan for the future because they are so busy dealing with the day-to-day issues and tasks of hiring staff, running their business, paying bills, dealing with guest feedback, dreaming up new menu items, ensuring staff follow procedures, finding new suppliers, keeping on top of costs, and so on.

Here’s a challenge for you, while the days are still long and with a lot of regulars away the days are a little more manageable: find yourself a quiet spot and sit down with a pen and a pad and make a plan for the two most important areas of your restaurant: your money and your people.

First, the money. Review your sales figures, all of your bank statements, your weekly profit and loss, your wage bill and your VAT, pensions and PAYE obligations. Ask yourself where you would like to be in five years’ time. What about 10 years’ time? List your financial goals and map out your red lines. These are your absolutely must-have non -negotiables.

Then, cast an eye over your people, consider their strengths and weaknesses, and make a list of your gold dust employees you want to invest in, as well as those who aren’t meeting your expectations. Think about training opportunities, necessary enforcement of procedures and whether there are any changes to make to the team.

Take stock of where you’re at. Be honest with yourself. As entrepreneurs we are often natural optimists, so it’s important to exercise what Napoleon Hill called “accurate thinking”. What is the reality of the situation (your profit and loss may not be that pretty right now), and what steps to you need to take to make the rest of the year as successful and profitable as possible?

Finally, on a new page, draw a line down the middle. On one side ask yourself the question ‘what do I need to stop doing?’; and on the other ‘what do I need to start doing to change my present reality to achieve these goals?’

The answers may surprise you; but think deeply and you’ll have a workable strategic plan to achieve your business goals and a list of the tasks you must perform in order to achieve them.