You’re busy, right?

We’re all busy. If you own your own business, there are just some things you can’t escape from doing. Dealing with employees, suppliers, and customers, just to name a few.

I will use restaurants specifically for this example, simply because the number of people they put through their doors in a week and the number of days and hours that they’re open for business make the restaurant business unique.

It always amazed me when I owned my restaurants that we were open 364 days a year, 7 days a week from 11 am-2 am every day. People would ask me when I slept. I’d reply, “Never!”  LOL

With new clients or any business owner, I find it helpful to write down precisely what you do in a typical work day.

I mean every little task throughout a typical work day. With time spent, who’s involved and what you are working on in great detail.

It’s incredible how many people don’t know what they do in a day and how long each task takes, especially in the restaurant industry where owners are just going from one fire to the next, trying to put them out as best as they can.

There are lots of tools for tracking what you do and how long, but I find the old fashion pen and paper work just fine. Try this for yourself for 1 day, and you will be amazed when you look at it the next day.

One of my restaurant clients sent me an email, and she said it was okay to share with you because it might help someone that is in the same situation. She’s a new client, a single parent who owns her own restaurant, and I had her track a typical day in her life.

I know what she emailed me might sound crazy, but I’m sure it isn’t out of the realm of possibility with her situation. I get exhausted just reading it.

Her typical day:

  • Up at 6:30 am. Caffeine, please. Son off to school. Dress to go to work while answering the phone 18 times.
  • Feed the dog and give him his insulin shot (he’s diabetic.)
  • Drive that mile to the restaurant enduring 2 stoplights. See if anyone needs a butt-chewing.
  • Check that cooks are running on schedule for lunch specials, salad bar, and deli orders. If not, help them.
  • Tell the dishwashers to get the empty boxes to the trash (do they have to be told daily?)
  • See that the waitresses are on schedule.
  • Grab a cup of coffee and chat briefly with the locals.
  • Check email, go through the mail, make deposits, and go to the bank.
  • Lunch hits at 11. Fill all available tables. Make sure the hostess has a waiting list organized. Give her the game plan for seating everyone most efficiently. If the cooks are slammed, help them get food out.
  • Refill the salad bar and prepare for round two, bussing the tables and re-seating. Help the cooks one more time. Help bus tables as restaurant clears. Get everyone organized to clean up the place before the shift’s end.
  • Two o’clock, get a cup of coffee, do paperwork, pay bills, payroll, etc., with 27 interruptions until 3:30. Must have coffee with a regular customer that comes in every day. Try not to yawn the entire time she is here.
  • 4:30 check evening reservations and see that everything is ready to go for the night shift. Check the kitchen to see that nothing is sitting out (do they have to be told daily to put things away?)
  • Check to see what my son is doing and how his day was.
  • Tell the hostess 15 times to stay at the front door, keep the windows clean and check the bathrooms for cleanliness (do they have to be told —- okay, they do!)
  • Run home (that mile again) and feed the dog.
  • Back to work (good, no red lights!)
  • Get past the line at the door. Drop my keys in the office and figure out where I am and where to start for the evening.
  • Bus tables, check the salad bar, wrap gift shop items, and check the cooks and dishwashers.
  • 8 pm – only one more hour, guys we can do it.
  • “It’s 8:59; we don’t close until 9 pm. You are more than welcome to have dinner. I am so happy you made it in before we closed”. Hey guys, one more order, and we are done for the night!
  • Guests sit till 10 pm. They walk out the door, and the cleanup begins.
  • I run all the credit card tips, check the register, and shut everything down. Stare at the computer as everyone checks out. “Thanks, guys. Good job tonight.”
  • 10:45 I peel myself off the chair, turn off all the lights, set the alarm, and lock the doors. Man, I dread that drive home again!
  • Get home, nuke some Ramen noodles for dinner, talk to my son, watch the news, and collapse for the next 6 hours, get up and do it all over again.

My goodness, this is crazy! She needs help. I think we all get that. I’m sure she didn’t open the restaurant to work this schedule. She thought her life and business would be a lot different from what it is.

Lots of lessons we can learn from this. I don’t know what your situation might be; maybe it’s different, or it might be similar, but there is something we can all improve upon in our own work schedules.

One of the biggest lessons for entrepreneurs is to learn how to delegate whatever you can to competent, highly trained people or companies. This is one of the hardest things for owners to wrap their heads around.

And I know what you’re thinking… that’s easier said than done. Yes, it is, but if you can find, hire, or outsource things you don’t have the time or skill set to accomplish, your business will run much smoother, and you will be much happier.

My philosophy has always been two-fold when I owned my 6 restaurants and now with my marketing company:

#1 If you can find someone to do it quicker and better, you can cut the check.
#2 Develop a system for EVERYTHING. Then, put the right people in place to run the system so you can monitor results.

Also, I didn’t see any time for marketing in her story…just saying.

Have fun, make money

Need help with hiring staff and/or sales, getting new customers and your existing customers to come back more often because you just don’t have the time to do it and do it “right?”

Let’s jump on a FREE Strategy Call and see if we can help fix your challenges so you can get out of your own way and start down a path to creating the dream business and life you deserve.

I Want To Get Off The Hamster Wheel
Michael Thibault

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.

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