It´s as if the pressure valve popped isn´t it. The month from Thanksgiving until yesterday resembled hectic filled frolic of pressure intense moments. Tension, joviality, cheer, serenity and profit watching all filled the time we spent breathing the business.
Now that all seems to have taken place months ago as we step into the land of quiet. The aroma of sweet success may be in the air, if you had a great month, or we may be staring adversity in the eye, knowing what lies ahead after the last balloon falls to the floor, deflated, after the grand party next Sunday night.
Thoughts of how the rest of the week are certainly entering our psyche, but emotions are running higher looking towards the year ahead. Number grappling usually fills the last week of December as we all try to project the profits for the year or plot how to swallow the losses. Whatever the outcome of 2006, and we should all remember higher gas prices and energy costs took their toll on a fair amount of restaurants, the year is now all but history. By week´s end, it will merely be a set of numbers in a vinyl binder with numerics printed on it for someone to eventually review. It´s now time to look to 2007.
This is the week of contemplation. The holiday spirit is still dancing in the heads of most of your staff and customers. It´s the perfect time to get the jump on the New Year and develop a plan that will answer the questions haunting you.
How do you struggle along with a full staff until Valentine´s Day, hoping to get that mid-month boost, without cutting everyone´s hours back? Is it time to replace the old manager? Should we change the menu? Do we add a less expensive entrée to attract people on slow Monday and Tuesday nights? These are all questions that most of us ask ourselves just before we schedule a planning meeting. Those, however, aren´t the questions that need to be answered. With competition, mounting around every corner restaurants often perceived as winners are going dark without much notice. It may be time to think outside of the box.
We always spent the week between Christmas and the New Year contemplating the future, but also reviewing the past year. This gave us insight for a more effective plan. As we charted the course ahead, we also analyzed blunders of the past. Usually there were many. It was a week of culinary confessions on where we slacked off, what we would have done differently, and how we would approach the year ahead.
Try it. It enlightens the planning process and offers an educational opportunity on how to overcome obstacles that constantly reoccur. Try breaking the week down into various segments: Projections and budgets, employees, advertising, execution, and finally, food and ambiance. Here are ten tips dealing with projections and budgets. They may help make the process a little easier.
What were the positives of the past year´s business plan?
What were the negatives of the past year´s business plan?
Were the projections realistic? Were the projections met, surpassed, or are they still stratospheric numbers that will never be realized?
How often throughout the year, was a projection analysis completed?
Did the business grow? Why or why not?
Was the customer count up, down or stagnant?
What can be done to increase the staff´s awareness of business growth this year?
Was your staff involved in meeting projections or were they just there to accommodate the customer?
What percentage of projection realization can be attributed to each department? (Kitchen catering, waiters, bar, etc.)
Was FOH and BOH management involved in the projections?
Are you prepared to increase projections or lower them so you can meet them for the year ahead?
If you met your projections, did your profits increase?
Facing the reality of a winning or losing season is often tough. Remember though without looking at the standings, you can never evaluate why your not winning the game.