Thriving after we survive the fallout of COVID-19 will require being bold and addressing things you may not have addressed before.  Don’t just resume operating; lead your team into the future.

Be bold enough to set higher expectations for yourself, your managers and your staff.  Be bold enough to hold yourself as accountable as you hold your team.  Set those expectations from the first day you reopen your restaurant and on every first day of training each and every future new employee.

How do you want the future to be?  This is not a fantasy question.  What’s your vision for your restaurant and the way you operate moving forward?  People are counting on you take charge and lead into the future.  Think hard about what you want your restaurant to be and how you want it to perform.  Making it happen is entirely up to you.

Expect the best and make it happen

Perhaps the best way to look at how you want the future of your restaurant to be after COVID-19 is to think about how you might have done things differently, had you known it was coming 6 months, a year or 2 years ago.   What would you have done differently?

  • Would you have recruited, trained or conditioned your team differently?
  • Are there aspects of your own skill set that you would have worked on improving?
  • How is your relationship with your clientele and the public and are there aspects of those relationships that you would change?
  • How has your servers’ rapport been with guests?
  • Do your employees respect each other and cooperate well between departments?
  • Are you satisfied with your level of repeat business or growth from word of mouth new business, and if those levels were higher, would that have made it easier to weather this storm?
  • Are you courageous enough to ask yourself all the right questions and to answer them honestly?

An expectation of excellence

When you set an expectation of excellence with a brand new employee, you demonstrate that you believe in them, that you believe they can achieve excellence and you give them something relevant to strive for.  You’ll be setting them up for success.  But it doesn’t end there.

It’s imperative that you and your management team follow through to condition employees after training and hold people accountable to a standard.  And this is also not enough.  Everyone in a leadership role, from owners to managers to head servers have to set the example on a daily basis.

  • Do you live and breathe hospitality and create an environment that is committed to excellence?
  • Do you demonstrate that you put guests first in every circumstance?
  • Do you show that you value every employee’s input?

Until the answer to these questions is an emphatic yes, you can’t expect the same of anyone else.  An expectation of excellence has to be earned.

Earn the right to have high expectations!

Start earning the right to hold your team to higher standards.  You’re not just leading yourself into the future, your job is to lead the way for your whole team into the future.  You do this by demonstrating you walk the walk.  When you’re the real deal and show that you stand with your team, your team will respect you and stand with you.  How would your current situation be different for you if your entire team was committed to excellence & professionalism and working to improve every day that they go to work?

What if:

  • Your servers had been conditioned to be focused on exceptional sales and service?
  • The rapport you and your team had built with your guests was so strong that your guests were actively rooting for you by continuing to support your restaurant and sing your praises to all of their friends verbally and on social media?
  • The efficiency of your employees and low staff turnover allowed you to run labour costs at a few percentage points lower?
  • The strain on you and your managers was relaxed and you had more balance in your job and in your lives?

Would any of these factors have left you in a better position to weather the storm of the COVID crisis?  This is a great time and opportunity to start thinking differently, moving forward.

We need to do better for everyone!

Let’s all commit to recognizing that we can do better;  that our staff, our customers and the communities we serve all deserve better.  Let’s recognize and emphasize that WE SERVE and let’s make a new commitment to that.  If you want and need to pump new life into your business, then be open to growth and be committed to excellence.  You, your restaurant, your managers, your staff and your customers are worth it and deserve nothing less.