How do you get the boost? That´s what every restaurant owner is thinking this time of year. After a slow, mundane, stressful winter- one that ate up most, if not all and them some, of your cash reserves, we suddenly want the bank account, customer count and sales counts to soar. Sorry. That won´t be happening too soon. As a matter of fact, it may not be happening as quickly as you want or need it too.
So what do we do? Speaking from experience, after facing the situation for a decade, the first thing wise owners need to remember is that you cannot plan your way out of the problem. Plans are great. But quick reactions that may seem correct at the time often prove to be disastrous decisions months later.
The first thing every owner needs to do is to protect their biggest assets- the staff that has struggled with them for the past months. Frequently frustrated owners, especially those without the experience of facing a bear´s style winter of customer hibernation, react foolishly and look to blame the lack of business on staff performance. This is pure ego foolishness on an owner´s part.
Seldom do owners blame themselves for slow business and lack of sales. But remember,
a few weeks back when we spoke of the "team" concept? Well, if you did
establish a team, remember who the coach is. And, as the coach, now is the perfect time
to get your team back on track and develop a plan that will help increase business.
Every owner should be able to come up with a plan and procedure for increasing
business. If you can´t, try it. You may be surprised. Often owners are afraid to contribute
to the advertising and promotion of an idea for fear they will get blamed for the possible
failure of the plan. However, as a coach, owners must also be cheerleaders. If you think
you need to boost business, try boosting the morale of the staff that will be on the front lines of that business.
Try these simple steps and see what happens:
1). Send out an email to everyone on your staff thanking them for the hard work they have done over the past months.
2). Let them know that you realize many of them have struggled for months and that they will be rewarded.
3). Show that you know the importance they make in the company.
4). If you can´t afford giving out raises to those who deserve them, don´t avoid giving performance reviews.
5). Get humble. Arrogance is has no place in a struggling restaurant.
6) Don´t tell the staff how much of a sacrifice you as the owner are making. They don´t believe you or care. Owners are supposed to sacrifice. It´s one of the privileges of ownership .Plus, when you speak of sacrifice, you seem foolish. When they can´t pay their rent, or buy gas, or put food on their tables because your business is slow, the last thing they care about is how you cut your vacation short this winter because you had an emergency board meeting with potential investors.
On top of these tips, try advertising to get the momentum rolling again. You may have to spend some money this season to get the boost you need to get business back on track.
But don´t forget. Give a boost to your staff. They set the image of your company. A simple sincere thank you goes a long way in lifting spirits and attitude. If you give a boost, you´ll get a boost.