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Seven Ways To Spring Clean Your Hospitality Business, Step #3

Posted on Apr 21, 2016 in Innventive
Seven Ways To Spring Clean Your Hospitality Business, Step #3

Step 3,

Time to rethink your goals?

For some of us, the spring is the perfect time to knuckle down to goal setting again. It’s only natural to set goals at the beginning of the year. After all, everybody’s at it in January, aren’t they? But come April, less than 20% of us are probably achieving those goals (see how ‘80:20’ is relevant yet again?!) we set at the beginning of the year.

The habit of setting unrealistic goals and not taking the required actions to achieve those goals is just delusion, which is a major cause of failure in any small business, let alone hospitality. Running a restaurant, pub, bar or hotel is as demanding as it gets, so my goal setting advice from working with some of the best in this business would be as follows:

1. ‘PPPPPP’ – Prior Planning
Don’t even embark on any goals without having a plan in place first. Some business owners spend more time planning a holiday or a day’s golf than on their core business goals for the year. So, most hospitality business owners have a projected target for sales and profit, maybe even weekly targets. But what do you have to implement to get there? Be sure to understand exactly what you need to accomplish as you work towards your goals.
There are so many parallels, but the obvious one is that no expedition leader would have any chance of achieving their goal without a route or plan in place.

Oh, if you’re wondering what the ‘PPPPPP’ stands for, it’s something I picked up decades ago in my previous incarnation as a soldier – “Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance”.

2. Think BITE-Sized
If you want to achieve big goals, then you’ll need to be a master of setting and achieving bite-sized goals first. The best in this business are experts at this. Small bite-sized goals are essential to success, because it’s the daily and weekly focus on these and small successes that will provide you with the daily and weekly proof needed to allow you to believe the big goals are obtainable after all.

Most chefs, managers and department staff understand the principle that you can only eat an elephant in bite-sized chunks. So, when you set a goal to increase sales this year by 20%, what does that look like on a weekly basis? Also, what are the small bite-sized objectives that need to be met on a daily basis, in order for this to happen? Bite-sized is BELIEVABLE, EDIBLE and ACHIEVABLE.

3. Understand the challenges
Challenges usually fall into 2 groups in my experience:
a. Personal challenges
b. Team challenges

Personal challenges were referred to in last week’s blog. Be aware of your own limitations as a business owner, your personal strengths and weaknesses. You’ll need to work on your daily habits and get really good at GETTING THINGS DONE, not just talking about them. So, what’s holding you back? Is there a pattern? Setting small, realistic, goals each day is a great way of changing your dangerous daily habits.

Team challenges are usually blamed for hospitality businesses not obtaining their goals. Accept the ultimate responsibility for the team’s results yourself and work with focus to make sure you recruit, induct, train, appraise and reward well. OK, it’s probably too broad a statement to say, “There’s no such thing as a bad chef, just a bad business owner” but you no doubt know where I’m coming from?

4. Rewards really do work
It sounds obvious, but well timed and well deserved rewards really do work. Goal setting, planning and taking action requires sacrifices. No pain, no gain, as they say. Give you or, better still, your staff a pat on the back, that well deserved day out with family, or that meal at one of your best competitors, every time you achieve one of your goals. The reward has to be fair, but small achievements are important to recognise if you want to bring your team together and drive towards the next goals and the big goals.

In Hospitality Entrepreneur we frequently discuss with members the importance of appreciation and reward for staff team members. Gone are the days of stick before carrot. In other words, the huge and ever present issue of staff and skills shortages, means that we all have to be experts at recruitment, induction, training, appraising and rewarding. However, don’t leave the rewarding as an afterthought.

5. Flexibility is everything
Things do change. People inevitably change, even if you are a master of the above. Customers change, as does the weather and the business environment that you’re a part of. A small business and an open minded entrepreneur have the advantage of being flexible, unlike the big companies and chains.

Be dynamic, fast and observant. Be prepared to adjust your goals if they don’t work or are unrealistic. Set new goals, bite-sized and realistic, as soon as you’ve achieved your previous goals or realised that the previous goal was unobtainable for whatever reason. Goals work, so don’t give up on them just because you haven’t achieved them all. Remember, failure is essential to success. Fail as much as you can, so long as you’re taking intelligent action and learning from all your past endeavours.

In my own way, I’m just coming to the end of one of my 90 Day goals, which was to run the London Marathon. For a bit of fun, have a look at my previous blog, from 3 months ago. Here’s the video from it, in case you missed it:

Goal Getting from Peter Austen on Vimeo.

It’s been hard. I’ve had to make huge sacrifices. However, this Sunday I’ll be on the start line, probably because I managed to master all 5 of the above skills in order to get there. Sounds smug, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s easy to run a marathon now, because almost anybody can do it, can’t they?

Believe it or not, the goals that you set in your business are just as obtainable and I really hope that this little blog has helped you to spring clean your hospitality business, by rethinking your goals and how you set about achieving them.

By Peter Austen, Business Planning and Operational Coach ( and Founder of Hospitality Entrepreneur (

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