We all know the Kevin Costner film “Field of Dreams” and the famous line “If you build it, they will come”; but in the world of running restaurants, the reality is “IF you build it, your work begins”. I work with many new restaurant owners and sometimes I am surprised by their approach and understanding of what it truly means to be in business or further, what it means to be an entrepreneur. Whether you’re new to this business or a seasoned operator please read on.
I have my own definition of entrepreneurship, but I googled it recently for a fresh perspective and came across this meaning of the term: an entrepreneur is a person willing to RISK LOSS. I’m going to say that again. Willing to RISK LOSS to start a business with the intent to make money and going a bit further… “one who organizes, manages, commits resources and assumes the risks to start a new enterprise”. Yes!
When you start a business of any significance, you pour your heart, your passion, your dreams and your hard-fought sweat into your venture everyday because your present, your future, your kids futures, literally everything is on the line. Not to mention the very real possibility of the great potential for loss mentioned above. Loss of income while you are laying the foundation, loss of time as the business is more than a complete commitment and the potential loss of your home, your assets, your marriage… everything you worked for and hold dear.
So this is why I am surprised with the all too common belief that “If you build it…”.
I have a mantra among many about “being a student of your restaurant”, that is digging deep and voraciously learning everything you can about the basic fundamentals of business. In my book, there are 3 critical foundational elements to not only starting, but operating a highly successful restaurant or business of any type.
- Cost Controls & Profit Maximization
- Staff Development, Training, Recognition & Rewards
- Marketing and Affinity
These 3 are really “Systems”. Systems that give understanding, control and powerful information for decision making.
To systemize your business you need to “do the homework”, and it takes a bit of time up-front, but once the systems are in place you have new-found freedom and you’re in the driver’s seat, not the other way around. But lets take a closer look at #2. This fundamental stands out as “the most important”, as your staff are the “key-cornerstone” to building your business. I’ll explain more on this in a moment.
Without this basic understanding and lacking these 3 systems in place, a restaurant or a business of any kind is flying blind and in jeopardy. At the edge of peril and ultimate failure. It is not enough to commit the money and resources to any business and simply open the doors and expect success. That business must be nurtured, worked-hard, systemized and managed.
The word “manage” also has broad meaning, and this term applies to both new entrepreneurs and those seasoned veterans with years of experience. Although experience is a great teacher, there are plenty of seasoned operators missing the mark.
To me, the word MANAGE means that one develops and encourages talent, trains, inspires, leads by example and empowers, then recognizes and rewards achievement. Doing this is a businesses’ most powerful competitive advantage. Your customers will notice. They’ll notice that something very special is happening in this place behind the scenes, and you can be sure this will positively impact traffic to your door, team morale, company culture and your restaurant’s bottom-line.
If you build this, they will come!