Once your doors are open and a combination of savvy marketing, word of mouth and plain-old good food has people flooding your doors, you’re about to face a new (and welcome) problem: How do you handle the pressure and challenges of being the new spot in town?
These are some key items to keep in mind during your first weeks and months:
Hiring and staffing
Being understaffed might be the number one killer of a business — a lack of employees has a ripple effect that damages operations everywhere. Regardless of where you stand, never think you have enough staff and always keep hiring at the new location. Your best employees will rise to the top while others will probably find new jobs, so you’ll want a fresh roster of recruits. Refer to my previous articles on incentivizing your staff and promoting retention and
What’s slowing down your operation? Where are the bottlenecks? Whether the problem is related to systems, equipment or people, the quicker you take care of an operational issue, the better chance you have of retaining your early sales levels.
Your staffing and operational efficiency will play a large part in determining how many orders you can handle in a workday, but if things become overwhelming, limiting your operations, services or menu items is not an ideal way to manage volume. It sets expectations too low, so endeavor to be open every minute you can and sell a full menu. It sets a precedent with your new staff and sets customer expectations.
In the aftermath of the last two years, being open late or open every day, along with offering a larger menu and full slate of services sets you apart. Most operators have taken the easier road. For a while it was a way to manage through the pandemic. But now, many have found they liked having Tuesdays off, so they never reopened that day. Don’t fall into that trap after you’ve just opened. There is a lot of your money on the line, so put in the hard work and it will pay off.
It is rarely mentioned in our line of work, but caring for your own mental health and wellbeing is crucial, especially when opening a new restaurant. When you’re working long days without much of a break, follow these tips:
- Eat and hydrate regularly, and don’t skip meals.
- When you go home, go to sleep. Don’t stay up watching movies and surfing the web — get the rest when you can.
- Don’t be afraid to sneak away and take a 15 to 30-minute breather when you can. Maybe even grab a bite outside of the restaurant.
- Enjoy the journey. Opening a new store is something to be proud of, so look back on with a sense of triumph. You deserve it.
This is all possible if you’re properly staffed-up, so we’ll be digging into that next month.
NICK BOGACZ is the founder and president of Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh. Instagram: @caliente_pizza