Those of us in the dining and hospitality world fortunate enough to hold onto our health and businesses in the past year may now have a moment to consider the things we’ve learned. But the reflection should only be one component—action the other. After a time of turmoil, the path forward is lined with actionable business lessons. Let’s get moving.
Push Yourself Even When You Don’t Have To
Many of us realize now how capable we are of doing hard things, whether it’s 20-hour days or relentless pivoting. You might be able to identify some silver linings in all that hustle: new customers, improved digital ecosystems, new revenue drivers through pick-up and delivery. As we return to something that resembles normalcy, don’t fall into complacency. Push yourself—and your business—to new heights. There is more to reach for up there.
Consistency Beats Hard Work
Running a successful business is kind of like working out. There’s something to be said for showing up every day, even if you can only muster sixty percent effort on Wednesday, followed by eighty on Thursday. The rewards of consistency reveal themselves in hard times. Restaurants are not judged on one great night; you have to develop a reliable hum that your customers hear clearly.
Account for Accountability
The best way to know yourself is to take honest measurements. How did you treat others today? Did you approach problems with a cool head? What was your average grade for the week? These questions can be uncomfortable, but in an industry inextricably linked to people, food, and service, answering them truthfully is the best way to infuse your business model with deeper honesty.
Lead a Bunch of Characters
That part about being honest with yourself? It is the only way to foster an integrity-driven team of good “characters.” As a leader, you must set the tone and identify your organization’s most important values. At Woolco, we take a customer-centric approach to everything we do—that is our organizing principle. If the actions we take in good times and bad prioritize customer happiness, then we’re being true to ourselves.
Be a Source of Solutions
Anxiety and tension permeated so much of restaurant culture last year. When you’re the leader of an organization, you have to communicate the calm. At Woolco, we made it a priority to show up with solutions, for ourselves and our customers. Bottom line: You can’t run and hide when it gets hard. Lean in and push through.
Relationships Are Not Transactions
In times of crisis, it makes sense to reach out to new and old customers to see how they’re doing and how you can help. But that should stand even in a post-pandemic world. Simple check-ins that don’t center your own finances will help foster long-term relationships and show your team the value in investment that doesn’t have a countable ROI. Make the call. Send the email. Follow up and follow through.
Use Your Free Time Wisely
Education can be driven by urgency, but now it should be driven by habit. Instead of losing yourself in mindless activities, shift toward mindful efforts. Spend an hour a week, for example, reading up on new industry technologies or trends that may be impactful to your business. Someone once said, “Money comes and goes; time only goes.” Use the time wisely.
Have other actionable lessons worth sharing? We want to hear from you, shoot us an email! We’re all in this next chapter together.