Vacations (or lack thereof)?

Its funny that you mention basking in the sun in the tropics. That is what we do each year for a week in February. It is our reward for a years worth of hard work. We always take a cruise or go to an all inclusive resort. It gives us a chance to recharge our batteries and also gives us something to look forward to that makes the work worth it. Some years we have closed for the week, some we have been open lighter hours, and others we have been open regular hours. It all depends on the staff availability at the time.

We open 10 months ago and we closed 4 weeks on July, when we returned the business is as good as usual. We are going to close 2 weeks in December too.
People tought that we close the business, we had full the voicemail. Its our life and we work hard.

It takes time to build the trust that allows the owners of any business to step away and not worry so much that they can actually take a vacation…but a few of the comments here need looked at. If you never get to the point of trust you will not expand your business to its possibilities and you have only given yourself a job to work. People that micromanage every step of the day only hold themselves back. Now, as far as opening 10 months ago and taking 4 weeks off in the summer… that is neither a business nor a job…that is a hobby. How do you build a loyal customer base when you are closed all the time. Now you are taking Christmas off too! As a customer I would look elsewhere not knowing when you might just want a vacation and hit the road.

I completely agree with you Mike about building trust with your employees and then allowing them to do their job without hovering and micromanaging. I know that I don’t want to work 75 hours a week the rest of my life and the only way I can step back and work less is to thoroughly train employees and then trust them to do the job. I do struggle with this as I think it is a combination of being new to the owner/operator role, being a perfectionist and also having mostly family working for us since they think we will be more lenient with them.

This is going to sound a bit odd unless ya’ll have been through it yourself I’m guessing, but until last week we had our oldest son work with us as a “manager”…his term, mine would be head line cook or something like that.

With his leaving though, I’ve actually had LESS to do in this last week than I would have simply because now we had to elevate the expectations of other staff members, especially in the kitchen. Now, we’re perhaps finally getting to move into that stage where I can actually manage the business instead of simply be an unpaid employee in it!

Lesson is, you simply MUST select, train, equip, and then demand from folks you have working with you. If not, it’s no one’s fault but yours if you’re still putting in 70+ hours. Took me 12 months to figure that out…19 to implement the changes to bring about it’s demise…and hopefully reap the benefits of my “new position”.

One of the benefits of building the skills of your crew and turning over the responsibility for various parts of the business to others is that it frees up your time for activities that will improve your business. When you are busy making pizza, cleaning, counting the cash, and doing other everyday operating tasks, you do not have time to build community relationships, create and implement management systems to measure and improve business practices or reach out to potential customers.

Your time spent in your community building relationships (marketing!) is far more valuable than time spent making pizza! Teach your staff how you want things done, put in systems to ensure that they are being done that way with rewards and consequences, get the right people in those positions… use the time saved to build your business. When you are working 75 hours per week, it is impossible to maintain the kind of outlook (and attitude!) that builds relationships in your community.

The byproduct of building this capacity into your business (the ability to get out of the kitchen to spend time building the business) is that, at the same time, you create the possibility of being away from the business for a few days or a week at a time without the wheels coming off.

How do you start? The first piece of management I give a new manager is inventory and food buying. We have a list the things we buy. We track the costs from our suppliers to determine who to buy from. We have ideal inventory levels to buy to. A new manager can take over the inventory and buying with a couple of training sessions and some supervision and free up several hours per month for you. What do you do with that time? If you are working 7 days a week, my first suggestion would be to come in late one day a week and get some time for yourself! My next suggestion is to spend that morning building your business. Find a local organization to join where you can build relationships. For me that organization is Rotary.