Hours of Operation

Greetings. I was hoping to get some feedback on our last issue…

Let’s say out of a standard week of 11am to 11pm for DELCO.

I need some time off to avoid burnout!!! Heh.

If you could pick 12 hours from the week - what would you take off?

Entire day? Which? Just close for a lunch one or two days?

How about late open on Sunday around 4pm?

Stay open for lunch all 7 days and close early on one of them?

Your question is one that has to be determined by the demands of your local service area. I have chosen to open only from 4 to 10 on Sunday. I close at 10 all nights but Friday and Saturday. I have made these choices after looking at the hourly sales vs the cost to be open. In my store it is what makes sense.

Blue Pill: Close 2-4 pm weekdays, unplug phone and take a power nap. And/or don’t open until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. Will help delay inevitable burnout.

Red Pill: Buy cell phone. Turn most reliable/mature employee into shift manager on slowest night of week with instructions to call in case of blood or fire - take a night off. If bottom line $ still work, take 2nd most reliable/mature employee and have them work day part - take an entire day off. Wash, lather, rinse and repeat until you are no longer working in store but instead working on improving your investment.

I was thinking the same thing, at least for Sundays.
What about a mid-week-hump close on Wednesday evenings?

Daddio, how late do you go on Friday & Saturday?
Any type of college scene etc around you?

Blue & red pills? Haha.
Maybe I could take the purple one?

I have seen some Chinese buffets that do the mid-day close.
Maybe use those hours to get out into the community & market for dinner.
Unsure if I could take a night off like that, at least for the first 3 months.

Hmmm. Definitely something to work towards though.

Years back I took over a 2 for 1 pizza place that was open 7 days a week…4 to 10 Sunday to Thursday and 4 to 12 on Friday & Saturday…

In short order we:
Shut down Mondays and eventually Sunday…
Dumped the 2 for 1 and raised prices 40% (better product)…
Reduced hours to 4 to 8 and 4 to 10…

At the end of the day we made more money and had a life…We were in a small market with a couple other competitors…I can not imagine doing the same in a large market with lots of competition…

Good Luck!!!

I close at 11:00 on Friday and Saturday.

There is a college here but it is 4 mile away from my store. The students tend to buy the cheap 2for1 pizzas rather than my quality award winning pizzas.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m not terribly worried about burnout for at least 6 months. I’ve told my wife that once we start it, just pretend I’m on deployment (I’m currently active duty navy and will be starting our place when I get out). I’m hoping to still get up and make breakfast for the kids, but I plan on being at the store from 9am-midnight daily for the foreseeable future.

Do the math on the business by hour and find out what are the least profitable hours where it is practical to be closed. Closing mid day may work, but it also may be tough on employees and not so practical. We find that getting prep done in the afternoon is easy and just keeping a driver on allows us to be open then.

On the other hand, when we opened 15 years ago our hours were 11 to 11 just like you mention. We never really had a lot of late night business and we changed to 11 - 9 which makes things much easier.

Perhaps another thought: why don’t you reconsider the necessity of being there yourself? This is one of the most common misperceptions of new owners… they think they have to be there or the wheels will fall off.

Take two days a week and let someone else open the store and you come in at 3PM and take two other days a week and let someone else close and you leave at 7PM or whenever your dinner rush ends.

You will have more energy and, believe it or not, your sales will INCREASE due to your being more effective during the hours you are there.

One of my first order of business is to get someone in there I can trust to open and close from time to time… But until I know the business backwards and forwards and can write procedures and policies in place to leave nothing to chance, I’m not even going to entertain the thought. I hope I can get to that point sooner rather than later, but I’m planning on 3 months.

Time spent planning and time spent marketing are more important to your business than time spent in the kitchen and will result in sales growth. Learn to trust employees. Running a shift is not rocket science. Any responsible high school senior can do it after a couple weeks. Make sure you train them and make sure you are looking for ways to measure results for service levels, food costs, labor etc.

Pardon my direct approach, but you are nuts to think that you have to be there every second. Your business will benefit greatly if you are rested and fresh and there is no way you can be if you are working 7X15 each week. Your business will also benefit if you take another 15 hours a week out of the operational mode and spend it on planning and marketing activity.

After 15 years owning a delco, I would tell you that an owner/operator should not be in the kitchen more than 35 hours a week. Spend another five hours doing office work (payroll, scheduling, bill paying and measuring) and 10 hours on marketing. That is the blend I think is most effective to grow sales and is a pace that can be sustained for years. That is not to say you will never pull a 70 hour week in the kitchen from time to time, but it can not be done as a normal course of business and still maintain excellent systems and a forward looking strategy.

I can assure you that we have a more forward thinking approach than the vast majority of people who open a DELCO. I agree with everything you are saying, in time.

The issue I have, and I don’t see how you can overlook this, is how could I possibly train someone else to run my store when at the same time I’ll just be learning the best practices for running my store? Until I become an expert at every aspect of operations and can communicate those details to someone else, how could it possibly be reasonable to leave your business to someone else?

Maybe I’m off on the timeline, and hopefully so. Trust me, I’m not taking a 25% pay cut to work 3x the hours.

As far as a 7x15 schedule, while not optimal, I’m certain that I can, and have in the past, handle the workload. It really isn’t all the different than a day deployed at sea.

I have another business and understand the importance of trusting it to employees. That said, for the first two years we handled sales directly before handing it off to someone else, and that was partly because we were in a franchise type system that already had developed manuals and procedures for success.

I don’t plan on being there for the sake of being there, I’m not spending every minute there to save on labor. My over involvement in the beginning is part of our forward thinking strategy. Developing work procedures that will allow us to open the second store as soon as financially practical and not having to wait on making sure the first store can run without me.