Get Ready for Next Year

Don’t overlook the exercise of planning

By David Scott Peters

Like any restaurant, as our business grows and we bring on people to help us make it successful, it becomes vitally important that everyone know what their roles are, what the company’s priorities and goals are, and who is responsible for getting each of them done.

To accomplish all of this, where do you start? To help you with this process, let me share with you what we did when we were growing:

  • Gather your key team members.

Gather your partners, spouse and managers (really anyone who has anything to do with the successful implementation of your plans). Meet away from your business, cell phones off. (We met for two days.)

  • With an easel and a flip pad, start brainstorming.

Start writing down all of the projects and priorities you want to accomplish as a team next year. No project is too small or large to be listed. If you don’t put it on paper nobody around you will ever know what’s in your head.

  • Define each team member’s roles in the company.

While job descriptions are a must, the reality is that good people do more than the minimal requirements on their job description. Businesses grow and change, and people need to adapt. This is your opportunity to make it crystal clear to your team what you see as their roles and that what they do is critical to your company’s success.

  • Prioritize and assign.

Now go back to your lists of projects, tasks and goals and start to look at who will be assigned each of them based on how their roles have been defined. At the top of a page, start three columns, one for their name, two for the project they are assigned and three where you assign its priority. Then look at your list again. Start adding each project that has a Level 1 priority, then Level 2 and so on until all of them for that person have been crossed out. Then move on and do the same thing for the rest of your team.

  • Type and distribute.

Your last step is to take those large pages and type them up. Distribute them to each team member to use as their roles, goals and responsibilities. Since they have all been laid out in black and white and they have been prioritized, ask each of your team members to start working on a step-by-step plan on how they’re going to accomplish these projects and by when.

This exercise was invaluable to me and my team. It opened my eyes to the fact that there’s a lot to accomplish and that I have a team of excellent people who can get it done.

Now, don’t just stop there! You have two more steps to take.

  • Start working on next year’s budget and sales forecasts. Without these numbers as your guide, running a profitable restaurant is extremely difficult (if not impossible). Look for my articles “Gearing Up” and “Gearing Down” on the blog for details.
  • Start a marketing calendar. I probably don’t need to remind you what my philosophy on running a profitable restaurant is, but I will. You must have a top-line mentality with a bottom-line efficiency. That means you must work on increasing your sales, assuming your restaurant has all of the basics down, such as hot food hot, cold food cold, clean restrooms, etc. It also means that you must operate as efficiently as possible, squeezing every penny of profit you can from every dollar you ring up. The costs of doing business are doing nothing but going up and this is the only way you can ensure you make money in this highly competitive business.

Marketing requires a plan with goals, budgets and a step-by-step guide. Marketing from the hip and on the fly rarely works and often loses you money. So take the time to plot out each marketing idea you have, what it will cost, what you think it will bring in and put it to paper with dates and deadlines.

Getting ready for next year starts now! Gather your team, define roles, assign tasks, forecast sales, develop your budget and put together your marketing plan. Following these simple steps will put you down the path of success and profitability.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at

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