(BLOGGER’S NOTE : When Friday’s blog was published, the unedited draft was inadvertently published rather than the edited copy. The edited version was published on Friday afternoon.)
Remember the first day that you opened your first restaurant? The stress of construction had somewhat subsided, with the exception, of course that the bill was still owed to the contractor. But that really didn´t matter. For in less than hours your first customer would walk in, you would greet them in high style, introduce yourself and let the fun begin.
The first handshake- it was a proud one wasn´t it? The first compliment on how wonderful the place looked really was a rush too. The first meal that came out of the kitchen looking as though a true artist were behind the painted plate got the adrenaline pumping and made you feel as though you had accomplished something that only few dare strive for.
Yup, those were the days. The staff seemed happier. The customers looked better. And, above all you seemed to enjoy, way back then, going into your dining room and walking from the front door to the kitchen, welcoming guests and saying hello to regulars who had become friends.
Well, all that still exists in your dining room. You may not believe that, but it does. Your customers don´t know due to the problems you face daily you have become a bit jaded, cynical, and less hospitable than you once were. You feel it though. Do you tend to hide out a bit more than you once did because crowds suddenly bother you? Of course you do. It is normal. Frequently for some reason, owner´s attitudes and personalities change. They get tired, they get frustrated, they get pounded, scarred and weakened because of the stress, turmoil and daily dilemma we all face.
Nothing, in my opinion, is worse than having a stressful summer. It may go back to my school days, or the days that I ran restaurants on lakes in Minnesota, but summers are always meant to be full of enjoyment. And nothing is more enjoyable than walking through the dining room of your restaurant except actually working the room in your restaurant.
When was the last time you did that and really enjoyed it? You know your customers miss seeing you
Here´s an exercise. Write down all he reasons you really hesitate to work the room most nights. Now, write down the enjoyment you used to get from working the room, or greeting the guests, or expediting the food.
On the side hosting the reasons why you don´t enjoy the business any more, count how many of those reasons have to do with your customers. None of them will involve your customers. They will all have to do with staff, finances, vendors, or the actual fluctuation of cash flow and business. Remember, the first night you opened you had very little business. Bu, you built it from the ground up. And, we all know that your customers are not the reason for your present lack of enjoyment.
The restaurant business is made up of two major functions. One is running the business. He other, running the restaurant. Owners usually deal with both and it isn´t that strange for the problems that you face in the office to distort the face you wear in the dining room
For a while, whether it be a week, a month, or the summer, put the fun back in the restaurant. Think of how you can begin enjoying it again. You will be happier, your staff will enjoy you more, and your customers will be glad tha