When you opened your pizzeria, it was supposed to create a good income and the life of your dreams. But instead, you’re exhausted from being the only one who can get the work done right. You work hard, you work a lot of hours and you do a lot/most of the jobs. The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way for you if you are willing to accept something you’re doing has to change.
What I’m about to share with you is what I’ve learned in my 30-plus years of working in restaurants and with restaurants, including many pizza operators. I hope you’re ready to finally get the relief you need so you can stop living in your business and finally have the life you’ve been working for.
Principle #1: Do less. Lead more.
If your daily operations are dependent on you, then you’re fulfilling the wrong role as an owner. You’re showing up as a doer instead of a leader.
Contrary to many independent owners’ beliefs, burning the candle at both ends is not the secret to a successful operation. A successful pizzeria is not dependent on one person to make it so. The secret to running a successful pizzeria is for the owner to lead the team to success.
I’m not saying your employees are prepared to step up… yet. What I AM saying is that if you continue taking over all the time, you will drive away the employees who take the most pride in doing the work. You will lose the people who have the most passion for their work.
The bottom line is if you don’t have time away from your restaurant, if you struggle to pay your bills, if you’re so tired you can’t motivate yourself to do anything other than work in the business, then you have a leadership problem. It means you must do less and lead more.
Principle #2: Delegate and trust.
If you’re not doing the work every day, who will? Well, like most owners, you’ve worked yourself into a chicken and egg situation. By doing all the work, you’ve guaranteed that you will only find and keep the people who want to do as little as possible. They happily take their paycheck then go home. Meanwhile, you’re stuck toiling away.
To have freedom from your restaurant — whether it’s financial, physical or mental — you have to have people who do the work. You must allow your employees to help you. Teach them what you want done and how to do it. People want to take pride in the work they do and are looking for a way to contribute. They want to do a good job and be recognized for their talents. There are people like you! And you want to know what motivates them? A good leader.
Leaders own the most profitable restaurants, are “needed” the least, have a better quality of life and have the most financial freedom. And being able to lead someone to take ownership of their work and be part of that larger vision is what will make your pizzeria wildly profitable, too.
Principle #3: Let systems lead for you.
Here is what I know that not everyone wants to admit. You don’t have to be a natural leader to be a great leader.
When you opened your restaurant, did you set a goal to become a great leader? Probably not. Restaurant owners are usually more interested in providing a great experience for their community, to create memories and contribute to the lives of others.
But you do need to become a leader to accomplish these things AND be profitable without burning yourself out. How do you become a great leader so you can give your customers what they want and get what you want in return, even if you’re not a natural leader?
What do I mean by systems? A system is a set way of doing any task and/or process in your restaurant. They can be big and small, minor and major. When you document whatever task needs to get done, you suddenly become in control of everything down to the smallest detail without having to lift a finger to do it yourself. Your systems are how your employees know what the job is and how to get it done.
Systems also remove personality from the situation. Instead of managing a person’s behavior, you’re managing whether they followed the systems or not. When you run your pizzeria using systems, you can plug just about anyone into a position, train them how to do it and it gets done how you want it done. When it’s well documented, someone could read the instructions, jump into the role and do a decent enough job to get it done better than what you’re probably experiencing now.
In this way, systems create great leaders. They replicate the excellence that you would bring to the task while allowing your employees to take ownership and pride in a job well-done. Once you have the right systems in place, you’re able to lead your team even when you’re not in the building. And that is the key to being profitable without being restaurant-bound.
That breakthrough you feel that’s so close – it really IS that close. It’s within reach but like I said at the beginning of this article, you have to accept something you’re doing has to change.
If you’re interested in learning how to actively adopt and follow these three principles, I invite you to attend the two workshops I’m teaching at Pizza Expo 2022. They are Restaurant Business Essentials, Part I: The Proven Formula for Pizzeria Success and Restaurant Business Essentials, Part II: Systems and Formulas for Controlling Your Food and Labor Costs. I definitely recommend attending both sessions to learn everything you need to know so you can stop burning the candle at both ends and have a team of people you can trust.
David Scott Peters is an author, restaurant coach and speaker who teaches restaurant operators how to take control of their businesses and finally realize their full potential. His first book, Restaurant Prosperity Formula: What Successful Restaurateurs Do, teaches the systems and traits to develop to run a profitable restaurant. Thousands of restaurants have worked with Peters to transform their businesses. Get his three principles to restaurant success at https://dsp.coach/three-key-principles.