Some owners don't know what this hipster term means: Mindset. Or perhaps you don't know how it works in restaurants or cafes. That's because there are so many tasks for a cafe or restaurant owner: improving sales, marketing, keeping up with changing food costs, changing the register keys, and training staff. This list goes on! You know that! This blog is not trying to be the Encyclopedia Brittanica of ownership. This blog is to help you in very real ways. Help you know what to do when you get stuck. Help you when you feel blue. Help you when you need help on sales, marketing, etc. You CAN be the boss, and be happy, and profitable. On a mediocre Monday, or a disappointing Thursday all you'd like is someone to remind you of exactly what you need. Help to stay motivated. Help to keep your eye on the prize. Hence, MINDSET TRAINING.
Many of you know, I am a former owner. And now I advise and coach. Sadly, keeping positive is not the easiest. I see energy sucked away from owners. I could say, "don't let it happen". We both know that's no help. Instead, let this post activate you as a servant leader, inspires your team, your tribe, your staff, and be calm from a small mindset training.
THREE MINDSET REMINDERS
1. Customer Service and Hospitality are your jam. No one knows the essence of your vision as you. There is no better way into the heart, soul and belly of your customers than the experience you originally intended as the owners in your restaurant or cafe. I regularly remind owners that they need to be on the floor of their restaurant. You see first hand that the hospitality is permeating. Some days I didn't want to do that. Some days you don't want to do that--chit chat, check on a table that is glancing around for help...but it's a basic right and responsibility of an owner. How do you do it well? Build rapport, ask about an item you know they are drinking or eating with a question. Not a yes or a no question. Here are a few examples.
- How does that latte tasted with the carrot cake?
- good to see you back, how is your sauvignon blanc with today's fish special?
- is there anything I can get you?
While these are not tough questions, they lead the guests to know you are engaged. They don't need a long conversation. In fact, please be careful. Keep it short and sweet...keep them wanting to come back and have regular interactions. Some owners have even told me they dread doing this, because they think the guest will say something negative. Then they say, "well, actually they say such nice things that I am happily surprised." Rarely do you receive negative feedback, unless, of course, you are aware that your guest is having a tough experience and are talking to them because you know hospitality fell short.
2. Being Present is your state of mind. When you are in the moment, you are an example to your staff that they, too, should come to work and focus. Focus underlies "MINDSET" seem so "woo-woo", so airy-fairy. It may seem that way, but it really motivates the staff to see how you handle situations, and no doubt, you have some heartfelt reactions to guests, their visits and their return. Staff can learn by your example. I remember talking to a customer, then take a 2 or 3 minute conversation with my staff. I would share something unusual about that customer, that makes the staff member know you care about people--the guest (to listen), to the staff (to show you are human). Owners are human too! Here are 3 interactions that come to mind, that make your life at a cafe or restaurant owner very real
- ask about a guests mother (because the mother was there during their previous visit)
- ask how they are doing (because some people literally don't get that much of a human touch at their job)
- compliment them on their bright green coat (because they chose to wear something interesting on a very grey day)
These are all common enough examples. You can riff from here. Just remember that not everyone eats out every day. Their visit to your place is chosen for a reason, and a human touch is, frankly, unusual. Guests feel like they are talking to a mini-rockstar when they meet the owner or chef.
3. Breathing is essential. Yes... Breathing. You don't have to go to India, and become a yogi. It's much simpler than that. Study after study shows that you make better decisions when you are calm. It'd fair to say that the days of dramatic chef moments in the kitchens in 1980's are on a downward trend, and staff respond better to a calm suggestion than a yelling match. Here are some ideas that will give you inspiration to breathe during your moments in your business, in your daily rhythm, and in your monthly patterns.
- Do you walk through your restaurant, in the customers path, and breathe calmly to see the things your guest would undoubtedly notice. If it's not perfect, add it to your loose ends list
- Do you step away from your restaurant with no purpose but to breathe? I used to deliver an order to give my staff a break. They thought I was being nice. I knew I was going to brath while I was walking to that office
- Do you regularly step away and take a vacation? Plan for the next season? See an old friend? Take a date night? If not, consider that a form of breathing.
Allow yourself the time to breathe. It's the fastest form to recovery. It allows reset (a future topic that is part of mindset). Do not neglect yourself. You are only serving your business best when you are fully present!
You don't need to wait until your business meets some ridiculous milestone to allow yourself to think like an owner. In my three years of running this advising business, helping owners, and giving permission to owners to run their business better, mindset is one I happily encourage. It's not surprising that owners think about the small stuff, and get caught up in the minutae. Just take a minute to allow these ideas to settle in, you will see the results. And I know this resonates with many owners. There is a source of energy in this mindset approach. When you are ready to look at your business, through this lens, call me, Martha Lucius.