When Things Don’t Go as Planned in the Restaurant Business

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Leadership, Of Interest

As an entrepreneur, I understand the challenge when things don’t go as planned in the restaurant business. More often than not, every day doesn’t go how you plan it all the time. In fact, sometimes a whole year doesn’t go the way you planned. While all challenges aren’t that big a deal, some can throw us for a curve and even kick us in our teeth! The challenge as entrepreneurs is in how we handle these changes in plans.

I’m not concerned about the little challenges for this article. For the most part, you figure out how to make them work in the moment. They are simple, just a pain in your butt. What I want you to think about are the big challenges. The ones where your sales aren’t what you expected, your profits aren’t what you wanted, your Yelp reviews are too critical, your bank isn’t working with you the way you hoped, one of your key employees has stolen a large amount of money from you… you get the picture. The challenges that make you sick to your stomach and sometimes even make you cry. I’m talking about what to do when things don’t go as planned in the restaurant business in a BIG way.

Here’s the deal: I, like you, have those days. Days where you wonder if you are ever going to catch a break or if your plan is ever going to go as planned. Days where you’ve been so disappointed that you even doubt yourself and what you are doing is right. Here’s my belief: you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself; it’s actually a good thing to feel those kinds of feelings. It means you are human. But what I believe is that the most important thing is that you only get to feel sorry for yourself or feel down for one day. What you do the next day is what defines you!

Understand that your business and your team are looking to you for leadership. They see when you are down. They feed off your energy. The more you feel down, the longer you do nothing about it, the faster your business suffers from low morale, which translates into lower customer counts and much bigger problems. Again, your business and team are looking for you to lead them. What you have to ask yourself is what are you going to do differently to change your current situation/challenge?

Remember, Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.” I am suggesting you to add a question to that: “How’s that working for you?” Another way to look at this is, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Translation, you’ve got to change what you’re doing. You need to think in new ways to find solutions to your big challenges.

Let me demonstrate what I am talking about. Play this game with me. Here are nine dots. Copy what you see on a clean piece of paper, 3 dots in three rows evenly spaced, nine dots.

when things don't go as planned in the restaurant business

Next, connect all nine dots with only four lines without lifting your pen from the paper

 

when things don't go as planned in the restaurant businesswhen things don't go as planned in the restaurant businesswhen things don't go as planned in the restaurant business

Nine dot thinking

It almost feels impossible to connect all nine dots with only four lines without lifting your pen from the paper! No matter what you do, you get the same result: failure.

Frustrating, isn’t it? Sometimes you don’t see the solution because you are too rigid in your thinking. To find the solution you have to think outside the box! Take a look…

when things don't go as planned in the restaurant business

To connect all nine dots, you actually have to go outside the imaginary box, which represents your rigid thought process that says there is only one way to accomplish your goals or find a solution to your challenge. This is something my father taught me, and he referred to it as nine dot thinking, that ability to think outside the box.

What you often find out is that when your back is up against the wall, you find the best solutions because it forces you to look long and hard at what you’ve been doing. It forces you to ask, “How can I go about that differently?” When things are going well, we sometimes get comfortable with the status quo and don’t look for what we could do differently to be better.

The final piece to this puzzle is… wait for it… TAKE ACTION! Great ideas are worthless if you don’t actually take action. Many of you reading this article have seen me speak, watched my YouTube videos, read my articles, etc., which means you know the other phrase I have stolen from my father, “Ideas are cheap. It’s the people who put them into action that are priceless!”

Change only happens when you take action!

So the next time you are faced with a challenge that has kicked you in the teeth, when things don’t go as planned in the restaurant business, take a long moment to review how you got to this place. It’s OK to feel sorry for yourself, to feel low for ONE day. It’s what you do the next day that defines you. It’s your opportunity to think outside the box and find a new way to approach your challenges. It’s your chance to change the way you’ve always done something by taking action.

Following this simple recipe for success will help you deal when things don’t go as planned in the restaurant business. You can get the results you are looking for. But remember that nobody said it would be easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Grab on to your entrepreneurial spirit and lead your restaurant and team toward success.

For more ideas on what to do when things don’t go as planned in the restaurant business, read our free special report, Breaking Away from the Insanity: How to easily take control of your restaurant and make more money. Download it here

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