Vacations (or lack thereof)?

After searching the Tank, I found very little relating to the topic of vacations. Given the economy in the last few years, I presume most shops are focused on beefing up sales and trying to stay out of the red rather than sunbathing in the tropics. :wink: I would love to get some insight from other owner operators regarding vacations.

Do you take vacations? Why or why not?
How long are your vacations?
Do you have a manager/employees run the store or do you close?

If you do close:
What time of the year do you chose to go? (I would assume the slowest times)
What has customer reaction been to being closed when you return? Are people generally accepting of the fact or do you hear complaints?

Love to hear what you all think, thanks!

No holidays. Too busy here on the TT. :smiley:
Actually we close for 10 days from Christmas Eve to early January. It’s hot, people are on vacaction and they are still eating Christmas leftovers, plus staff like to get away for a while with their families on holidays or their friends down at the beach.
Customers always tell us how they missed us and how glad we are open again, but really, can’t they go a few days without pizza?

Dave

We have only been open for around 18 months but this past July we were gifted a week long trip to Rome by our son. The best decision for our situation was to close the entire Pub down for the week and I think this is something we might try again next summer. We also have discussed shutting down between Christmas and New Years but haven’t made a decision on that. We have a lot of our staff that I’m not sure could handle missing even that one week’s pay.

The week before the 4th last year was slow for us, what we experienced this year was a HUGE increase in sales in the weeks following our return, it was as if folks actually missed us and needed their DG’s “fix”!

I’m hoping in this coming year to get things situated so we can pop out for extended weekends etc. and look forward to those, but we’ve never really been a family that took regular vacations. Our last previous to the Rome adventure was a trip to Alaska…in 1999!

We’re still in our first year and no vacations planned or taken so far.

My wife and I are going to take a day trip later this month. I’m confident that my staff can handle one day without me and still put out a good product. I’ll come in early the next day and do the closing reports so they’ll just need to clean everything up and I’ll give one of them the key for a day.

If this works out, I may do it a little more often. It would be easier if I wasn’t the cheapest labor on the payroll though.

Plus, its our 1st anniversary and I’m not sure my marriage would make it to the 2nd if I didn’t take that day off.

We actually do get to take off for 2-3 times a year. Usually we’ll take off on a Saturday night and come back on Tuesday night. We always try to time it when we know there is no “big” orders planned. We have a manager running each shop and we schedule a little heavier than we normally would, just in case they get really busy. We would love to be able to take more than 3-4 days off at a time, but not possible at this time. The good thing vacationing these days is we can find great last minute deals and we are visiting places on the weekdays – which makes things less crowded.

We also take our laptop with us which allows us to log-in to our stores to watch the cameras and we have access to their computers so we can see how they’re doing. We don’t usually take days off – so these mini vacations are really great to get away and forget about the daily grind for a short time.

On a five day fishing trip right now. Store runs fine without me. Hard to get away longer than 10 days or so due to invoices needing to be paid.

I am all for getting away here and there. I think it actually helps the business. In the first year it was tough. Start slow, just a day, and maybe not even go anywhere. It allows you to see where the cracks are. It also shows, if you have a manager that you have some belief in them. Nobody likes being micro-managed. I always feel refreshed when I come back. You see different restaurants and gives you new ideas about your business

We have been open two years, we are taking our first five day break next week. Phone will still be on so can help with any problems.

Lovin the idea of closing for a week over christmas, makes sense. None of our staff want to work then, customers are full of food and have no money. I’m doing that this year!

We just recently passed our one year mark a few months ago and I am itching to get away for 5 days or so in January when the winter weather is in full force here. My partner and I are at the shop during all business hours and therefore we do not have a manager, just a few cooks and delivery employees. I think that closing the shop would be the best bet not only for business but for our mental health as well! :smiley: He seems a bit apprehensive to close the shop but what good is a vacation that you spend stressing, worrying and fielding phone calls from employees? At this juncture, there is no way I would feel comfortable leaving our employees to run the shop, we just aren’t there yet. I appreciate all your feedback and comments, keep 'em coming if you have more!

I don’t even know how to speel vakashun anymore.

The other thing that we have noticed when we take a “vacation” is that they always seem to have a record week while we’re gone. Maybe we’ll just have to be gone more often 8)

Houston we have a problem! :stuck_out_tongue: I am sorry to have too inform you that your customers either do not like you or it is the free beer the order takers are handing out while you are gone! Now, either way I would just take more time off! 8)

Now seriously, can I ask do you micromanage a lot while you are there? Maybe they run more efficiently without the stress of the owner being around. Many workers work horribly when the boss is around and great when left alone. I know it is hard to step back but if they are making it work…maybe some more time off is in your future. It’s a win-win for you no matter what!

Just curious to those that close down for a week or are thinking about it. What do you do with all of your perishable food items such as dough and produce? Do you try to run it down to nothing perfectly then hit restaurant depot? As far as dough, I know for me, I like to use two day old dough, but by 3-4 days, it’s bloated and unusable. How do you overcome this? Just some thoughts?

i have a partner. we each work 3.5 days a week. if one of us goes on an extended vacation then the other works every day. I never let anybody open or close without an owner. I do go on vaca a lot. im going into my fifth year and Im burnt out. this business eats away at you physically and mentally. you need a break.

Anselmo,

We did what you are thinking and just ran a pretty close count on things through the night we closed. I have food deliveries on Monday and Thursday and in our case that worked out to get restocked. The only thing we had to do was bring our dough guy in for a bit the day before we reopened so it was ready. Stuff we had to, we restocked from SAMS and got by till the truck came.

We’ll probably pull a week again next summer, it gave my mgr time to run an intensive cleaning crew through the place while we were shut and also the opportunity to get some of those little things off the “fix-it” list as well. Setting up the cleaning crews allowed for at least a partial paycheck for the folks that absolutely needed the cash as well and kept them happy. We also made it real clear months ahead of time that we would be closed, that way at least there was time to adjust their home budgets a bit.

Off topic, yes, but I couldn’t be more envious of working 3.5 days! In other news, after a slight mental breakdown yesterday, it has been confirmed that indeed we will be taking the much deserved and even more needed vacation in January. :mrgreen: Hallelujah!

“I never let anybody open or close without an owner.”

Why?

don’t really have an answer as to why I dont let anybody close the shop. Im more worried about my employees eating the kitchen apart and drinking all the bottled soda than anything else. I guess in the near future im gonna try to leave by 8 when we close at 10. but really I’m 27 with no kids. I’m not exactly in a rush to get home…and bars stay open till 4.

we take a week vacation every 6 months (4rth of July week & some time in January)…we shut the place down and order less food in anticipation for little spoilage. In the summer I usually go far away and the winter stick around and spend at least one day fixing things in the shop/deep cleaning. My crew gets 1/2 a weeks regular pay and they usually come in the entire day before and stay extra late the night we close and clean everything. During the closed week we schedule hood cleaning, floor cleaning, and other need maintenance.

This keeps the place looking good and the employees feeling good and most importantly my wife & kids happy…I grew up in this biz never seeing my parents b/c they had no choice but to work 7 days…when i took over we started closing EVERY sunday and we still do. My brother in law and I put in about 65hrs/week. We are very lucky to stay busy enough the other 6 days and you would be suprised how many of our regulars like the fact that we take time off.

My opinion is that if you can afford to take a break, DO IT…life is too short

“Im more worried about my employees eating the kitchen apart and drinking all the bottled soda than anything else”

Trust issues are destructive in any relationship whether a marriage or employer/employee. Completely aside from the vacation issue, I suggest putting in adequate controls to satisfy yourself that food is not dissapearing and then relax about that issue. Employees figure out when they are not trusted and they resent it.

Restaurant employees expect shift meals. With decades of experience in the business, I can tell you they will get them one way or another. You are far better off to set reasonable limits for what is permitted. Eateries that do not provide shift meals end up with “mistakes” and other forms of grazing as well as theft.

Perhaps a weekly soda inventory under the guise of tracking beverage costs as a % of sales? If you discover that the count does not match sales, move to a daily count. (I assume you have a POS that will tell you how many are sold?)

The way we do it is: Pizza and salad and anything that can be made with those ingredients is available for shift meals to be eaten on the premises during the shift. Nothing goes home for free. Wings, other apps, ice cream and bottled drinks are half price. Off shift, all food is half price and carryout only. The rules apply to me too. When we get food from the restaurant, we pay half price. That way everyone understands that there are no exceptions.

When it comes to vacations, trust your people to run the place as it should be. If you find that you can not rely on the manager, hire a new manager.