How Do You Deal With The Long Hours?

My idea for this thread came from the “Best & Worst Things About Owning a Pizzeria” thread.

One of the most common “Worsts” that people mention is the incredible time commitment that is required to run this type of business. On a personal level, it’s been the biggest fear of mine, which has so far prevented me from going into this business, even though I have a strong desire to do so.

Therefore, my question for all you owners is…How do you deal with the incredibly long hours? How does one work day after day, for 10, 12, 14 hours, nights, weekends, etc., and still maintain some level of sanity? Especially for those of you that have children (like myself).

Do you just “tough it out” because you are financially bound to the business and have no other choice? Does it make you want to quit? Or is it simply that the positives of the business outweigh this incredibly large negative?

I hope you will share your thoughts.

I can tell you that I feel terrible for my kids. However, they enjoy it. folding boxes, sweeping, mopping, etc. The problem is that I know they are missing out on bike riding, football, etc. but they do not realize it yet.

If and when i have children, i will exit the business.
I couldn’t be the parent i should be.

As for the long hours, a cranked up stereo after hours did the trick for me, that and having a great staff that i didnt have to micromanage.

Cant really help you with the kids aspect, i didnt have that issue…

How to deal with them? Don’t do them.

  1. Work smart by planning your time and avoiding distractions that slow things down.
  2. Pay someone else to do the busy work and use your time for management and building the business.
  3. Take time off; believe it or not, you mostly get more done in 50 hours than you do in 60 because you are more effective when sane and rested.
  4. Trust people.
  5. Give your staff clear instructions about what you want done so it does not have to be done twice and so YOU don’t have to do it. If they can not handle it, get new staff.
  6. Do a real evaluation on what it costs to be open for an hour and drop times of the day that do not pay.

Lot’s of booze and Xanaxs. I joke, I joke!

I try and remind myself that I am making an incredible investment of my time into an asset that will hopefully pay off in the next few years and lead to a comfortable like for myself and future family. I’m in my mid-20’s with no children so I think this reduces the stress level a bit because I don’t have anyone relying on me. I look forward to holidays and vacations if you’re able to take them. I wouldn’t call myself “financially bound to the business with no other choice” but I know that if I walked away I would be walking away from a huge potential asset in the future and all the blood, sweat and tears I poured into this place would be all for nothing.

I fully agree with Bodega on the staffing point. We are working on getting the place fully staffed within the next 6-9 months so we can focus more on the managerial aspect and increasing business/advertising initiatives/etc. This has proven much more difficult than I originally thought and has required more streamlining of our operation in order to create systems and protocols which we are still improving upon daily.

This is it in a nutshell. Its how every chain is run and is what is required for growth.

And if you truly enjoy the business, the hours are not as heavy. If you don’t, the hours will be much heavier.

A good business plan and analysis is important for creating goals that make it a lot easier to see where you are going, not just where you are at now. I like the break even spreadsheet here that shows you not just your break even, but different stages of profitability: … recasting/

We have two preschoolers, another business, wife works full time and rental properties. Seeing where we are going makes it a lot easier to put in the hours now. I put in 8 weeks of 20 hour days getting our new place set up, often sleeping on an old mattress in the building because it eliminated the time going home and getting ready for bed, plus the time getting up and getting ready to go back (and the temptation to hang out with the family a little longer in the morning). Being able to look at that plan and those goals kept me sane. Now I don’t have to spend a ton of hours at the restaurant, because I didn’t put myself into a ton of debt paying other people to do things for me. We also work smart, go in early before you open and take care of as much prep work as you can so you don’t have to pay someone else to do them, stay late and do dishes and cleaning. Work from home as much as you can with paper work so you can be around the family.

I guess the short answer is: I have goals and I know what it takes to reach them. That makes the tough times easier.

My kids are twenty two and twenty now.

When I think back on ALL the missed nights, missed weekends, holidays, missed games…I could just cry.
I worked, and I mean WORKED either for myself or others (with others, ALWAYS TWO FULL TIME JOBS, and many years two full and a part time)for over 30 years. During the time, I LOVED to cook and I kept telling myself that I HAD to get a successful place in order to provide for my family…now, at 50, I finally have a successful small chain…FINALLY making real money…and I could kill myself for choosing this horrible business.

Its funny, money is only important when you don’t have enough of it. Now, it seems all the money in the world won’t replace the time I lost REALLY being there for my wife and kids.

You miss SO MUCH of life in order to do this. But…everyones different.

If I could do it all over again, I would. But I can’t.