While vision, budgets, and passion are all key tools to getting started, if business owners don’t have the operator’s acumen and strategic skills to synergize these energies into an excellent operating strategy, it’s a recipe for failure.
Build synergy between operations and marketing
The disconnect between departments in our business is usually the main area of duress and loss. One classic example is the operations teams working independently from marketing teams and it’s by far one of the most common mistakes we see while consulting clients. Marketing is essentially everyone’s job because it requires a whole team to uphold a brand in its authenticity and market it to the world as a promise to keep. Outsourcing our marketing to non-F&B experienced marketing firms may result in either cold clinical content or unrealistic aspirational projections of a brand that in reality is operating at a completely different wavelength.
While it’s great to build digital content that aspires and inspires a visit, it’s crucial that when we do get someone through the door, they don’t feel like what they saw online is a far cry from what they actually experience in service, food, ambiance, and experience. This disconnect can be avoided by building operational and marketing strategies together with operations and marketing team members with training and KPIs/goals determined with a sense of accountability and responsibility. People groomed to think and work with a sense of accountability and ownership produce better results than disconnected workforces.
How many of us have decided to never visit a place we loved on Instagram because either the reception did not answer our call or when answered it was a nightmare verifying the information printed in media? And that’s just the beginning.
Have a realistic operating strategy for both summer and winter calendars
Like any other country, we have our high and low seasons in the UAE, and to do well in each season requires an allocation of resources as well as a realistic strategy of what’s achievable in the season. Most brands suffer in the summer months but instead of entering a phase of duress, a smart allocation strategy can help boost sales in peak times and sustain low sales in low times.
Think of it as the sowing, harvest, and gather season. Think of our low season as the sowing season. Training calendars, annual holidays, refurbishment, major maintenance, strategic plans for new season activations, rest, and recuperate for staff and leadership are all great things to look forward to. We need this respite but if we don’t harvest and gather well, we keep on sowing unproductively and vice versa. Every good farmer knows the law of sowing and harvest, there is so much to learn from such simple theories.
Choose to be a leader in good times as well as tough times
I believe in investing first in oneself and then abundantly investing in our core business. Our passion will get it started, but it’s our grit and determination to consistently learn and evolve operationally that keeps us moving towards new successes every day. F&B is a fantastic journey, to be embarked upon with a sense of curiosity, passion, and dollops of determination to live each day with an ‘operator’ mindset. It is, after all, the business of doing hardcore numbers-crunching in a nerve-wracking, constantly challenging, and shifting landscape. It is the leader who understands that unless an investment is made into one’s own growth, one cannot bring fruit into external investments.
Bringing on an experienced F&B team is easy. Retaining them, earning their trust and respect, leading them into a success mindset, inspiring them to bring their best career to our place, and doing this every day is what the leader’s role is.
When we take care of the people who make the place, the place takes care of everyone. And that starts at the top.