How Restaurants Can Beat the January Blues

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tulalip Tribal Mask jpgVirtually every restaurant goes through cycles of busy seasons followed by slow seasons.  In many ways, the slow season is the hardest to deal with, not only because of the obvious lower revenue, but also because slow times are “the devil’s play ground”.  Your staff will become lackadaisical, ticket times will take too long, they will find more problems with their jobs and their teammates.  Experienced managers and chefs know this cycle and plan for how to deal with it.

Tim Julius, Assistant F&B Manager at the Tulalip Resort Casino, has these words for his managers now that the Holiday Season has ended:

Now that the New Year is here, once again we are afforded the luxury (?) of having some slow days / slow sales periods Monday thru Thursdays (I believe that typically we hold strong Friday night thru Sunday).

As John Carter likes to say: ‘Let us be successful by plan rather than accident.’

“We have talked about utilizing the down periods to get cleaning done, offer vacations, and re-train and/or cross-train.  Let’s make best use of the down times so that when the busy times come we are better and stronger, and able to give our guests a “WOW” experience.   Slow days breeds complacency.  Slow days are more difficult to manage on a whole than busy days.  We need to be actively proactive (actually doing something) versus passively proactive (talking about doing something).”

“As Manager’s, you may have some plans or goals in your mind, however, do your Supervisors have a clear understanding of what it is you want to have accomplished on the slow days?”

For example, it is one thing to communicate to your Supervisors “now is another good time to be going over SOP’s and re-training the team”, versus “next week, I want Supervisor X to teach group Z about process A”.  In the first version, it is vague about who / what / when, and if we leave it up to the Supervisor to determine it, we lose time and opportunity (please be honest with yourselves and ask yourselves “would my Supervisors take the initiative or would they wait for another Supervisor to do it?).

Another example to look at is the Space Race.

President Eisenhower said “we will win the space race”.

President Kennedy stated that the United States should set as a goal the “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” by the end of the decade.  Who / what / when.

Please make sure you and your Supervisors have clearly defined training plans for the slow period which we always encounter during this time of year.  Let’s not rest on our laurels, let’s keep widening the gap between us and our competitors.

Let us be successful by plan rather than accident.

Posted In:Chef Life  /  Kitchen Management