How to make winning contagious
When opening new locations, I would argue there is a magic formula, and I’ve tried to lay that out month-by-month. But there’s a missing ingredient to make it all work that’s completely up to you: a winning attitude.
As a leader, all eyes are always on you. You are the catalyst of what goes right or wrong in your new store. You are on the “stage.” It’s stressful, but you must display a can-do, make-it-happen attitude.
So, how do you foster that champion’s mindset and spread it to others?
Enter any project concerning a new store with a clear vision — your core messaging, your store’s menu theme, etc. Share that with your fellow leaders or managers and then with the entire staff. Everyone must be aligned on why this is important and how they will benefit from it. Address any doubts that your team may have. Just because you are able to clearly see opportunity doesn’t mean your staff will. Sometimes they see change as the enemy and not as the way to greater heights, so spelling it all out for them puts them in unison with the mission.
Once everyone is pointed toward the goal of opening a new store, it’s up to you to make it fun. A big project like this is a great time to bond with your management team and staff. We always buy lunch and dinner for the staff that’s helping us remodel and set up the new space, briefly halting construction to share the meals together. We also make sure to listen and ask for suggestions when there are challenges in the remodeling process — you never know who might have a great idea for a floor layout or process update. Doing all these things before you are open instills the team with the right attitude to succeed.
Even when the doors finally open, keep up the team-building efforts. Inviting everyone to a ribbon-cutting ceremony is a great opportunity for a group photo. You can also host a friends-and-family night, encouraging the staff to bring their loved ones to the new restaurant and try out the menu. Not only does it allow you to test your staff during something of a soft opening, but it also makes everyone feel like they are part of something much larger.
When the store is up and running, as mentioned earlier, these first weeks and months will likely be stressful. Most everyone will be working a lot of hours, so it’ll be your job to keep tabs on everyone and know when they need a rest or enjoy some time off. Talking to your staff and genuinely thanking them for all the hard work they put in to help open the new store is underrated but much appreciated.
Now that you have a great attitude instilled within your team, the next step is to focus on retaining that winning staff — and that’s what we’ll discuss next.
NICK BOGACZ is the founder and president of Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh. Instagram: @caliente_pizza