With the New Year just days away and the Christmas season here, it’s a good time to decide what to get the people in your life. This year, let’s use the allegory of gift giving and reward the various folks you serve with something new in the upcoming year.
From your staff to vendors there are things you can do better this year that will make their lives easier. So, here’s a holiday primer to follow when getting the ones we work with something great in the New Year.
Your restaurant’s vendors are both the lifeblood and bane of many of your existences. That’s why this year, we think you should simplify your life and execute a prime vendor agreement. If you aren’t already familiar, this is the agreement that gives the bulk of your supply contract to single vendor -- think Sysco or US Foods.
This is fairly easy to navigate by giving them the pricing for all of your food, dry goods and produce vendors, to match or beat. If they are willing to give you pricing that will allow you to consolidate, you instantly reduce your administration. With online ordering, you will scarcely need to see a vendor and you will be managing exponential fewer invoices.
Remember, it’s not exclusively about price. A prime vendor may offer additional volume discounts that will increase your spending power. Also, they have a great resources for independent operators which will help you better manage your business. For example, Sysco has their Services solution that brings additional vendors to your door without any heavy lifting and at group pricing. That’s why this is the perfect gift for yourself -- oh, and the prime vendor reaps the benefit as well. Remember, this doesn’t mean you can’t use other vendors, only that you are connecting yourself more closely with one in particular. Face it, if you’re a one love at a time kind of cat, then this is really for you.
The adage if you aren’t serving the customer, you better be serving those that do is a great way to consider what you give to your team. If serving them is your aim, then make the gift of continued training. Make 2019 the year you cross-train your entire staff or begin grooming people to be leaders in your organization. There are real benefits to this gift (strategy) that include more flexibility in staffing and having people ready to step up when opportunity presents. It’s not only your direct operation that will benefit from a serious training push.
The Millennial generation responds with high favor when given a path to grow. It improves their loyalty and greatly improves your ability to retain them. Given that it can cost as much as $146k in annually turnover costs, this is just good policy. Getting started isn’t hard. Take a look at your roster and schedule the training. Your staff will love the opportunity to learn and your guests will get better overall service. The best part is you will reduce turnover and improve your flexibility and efficiency.
Here’s another cliché: the best customer you have is the one in your building. In fact, good service encourages 81% of consumers to give you repeat business. As we all know, the “regular” is the Holy Grail in our industry. So let’s give your guests better direct service as a thoughtful holiday gift. Of course, there’s something in it for you. If you retain an additional 5% of your customers it translates into an increase of 125%. So, how do you accomplish that in the coming year?
Since this is a gift for your guests, then you have to think like a guest to improve your guest service. Do an audit of your own service. Go through your own service experience and dine in your restaurant. Have friends do so as well and observe how the guests are experiencing your restaurant. With your observations and feedback from some trusted friends determine where you are falling short. If you are honest with yourself, you can find the opportunities and truly improve your guest service in the New Year.
Getting involved in your community always pays dividends. Whether you choose to sponsor a softball team or do a blood drive, guests truly appreciate when local businesses do more than just serve lunch. Your staff will like being involved in community building as well, since most of them live in or around the hometown of your restaurant. We are suggesting this year you do something radical with your gift to the community.
Give a reward to your staff for volunteering. Whether you pay them one day a month for volunteer work or support them in whatever endeavors they undertake, amplify your community impact by getting your team to do more as well. They’ll follow your lead and do more and your restaurants sponsorship will reflect back on you. In effect you’ll be messaging the community, through your staff, that you are committed to being a positive force. We think even Scrooge could get behind that idea.
Ok, so this one is easy. Take more time for yourself this year as a gift. To say you work too hard is an understatement and that takes a toll on anyone. So, for Christmas this year, take more time to do what you love (other than work) and spend time with those closest to you. You’ll find yourself happier, more efficient and better prepared for the rigors of your job. Oh and your vendors, staff and community will appreciate the more adjusted and focused you that self-care creates.