Bumming, Winning

It’s almost Christmas.  For restaurant owners in many parts of North America, this means that next week there might be a few good days, then for the next three to four months, there will be gloom.  There will be too many bills and not enough customers.  You’re getting bummed-out just thinking about it. 

This discouragement …it’s part of the ballgame.  It happens.  At this time of year, it’s especially common.  You’re supposed to get bummed from time to time.  The restaurant business ain’t supposed to be easy: if it were, then even more people would do it and it would be even tougher to make a buck. 

So, during the next few months, first you’ll get discouraged because business will suck just like you know it will: then you will be afraid of not having enough money to meet your commitments and pay the bills; then you’ll get pissed because of the weather or the snow plow or the help or whatever.  That’s the winter cycle in the restaurant business (worry, fear, anger).  Unless, of course, you’re in one of the resort areas: then this becomes your summer cycle. 

It’s normal, but be careful; when this discouragement hangs around for too long, it can really sidetrack your business.

When decisions start to be made more with gut than with the brain, they become more reactions than responses.  When worry, fear and anger set in; a lot of negative energy sets in with it.  This stuff is contagious.  The help will catch it first, and then they’ll spread it to the customer.  Quality and service will suffer.  The loyal customers who are around during the slow times will be tempted to go elsewhere.

When we constantly complain about how bad things are, we start to believe ourselves.  We don’t look for anything but stuff that reinforces our ideas about things sucking.  We don’t even look at the good things that are happening because if we do, all that complaining would have been in vain.  Who wants to do all that complaining for nothing?

At this point, our feelings have trumped our brain.  We think, “What’s the use?”   Yoo-hoo …you own/run a restaurant.  It ain’t about your feelings …it’s about your customer’s feelings.  It’s about doing a better job than your competitors of providing a perceived value.  Provide that value and the numbers will take care of themselves.  Yes, there will be tough times; that’s the game we’re in.  No, it’s not easy.  

This stuff ain’t black and white.  It comes down to grey.  It’s probably the grey matter between the ears.  You’re in the biz, you really know this stuff, but yeah, sometimes you forget.  So please, smile, lift your head up and get back into the kitchen and cook some more frigg’n peas.

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.       - Lou Holtz

Happy Holidays


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  • Good article Paul. Luck is the result of hard work!

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