5 Smart Ways to Make the Rest of the Year More Profitable
by Jim Sullivan, CEO, Sullivision.com
Most foodservice companies set goals and measure progress the same way we live our lives, by the thirteen periods in a calendar year—January 1 to December 31. And in case you haven’t been paying attention, it’s already August, and seven months of the year are gone. Your company probably began the year on January 1 with detailed goals designed to raise your people, performance and profits over last year’s. Guess what? There’s only five months left to hit those targets. So let’s assess our progress and, most importantly, detail the steps necessary now to make the most out of the six months remaining before us. Analyze the past but plan the future. Here are 5 strategies to make certain that December 31 arrives with the satisfaction of targets hit and jobs well-done and not the disappointment of priorities dimmed and opportunities squandered.
Start dividing by five. Whatever goals you set on January 1, now’s the time to divide them up incrementally into the remaining months. Let’s say you had a target of growing this year’s sales 20% more than last year’s. That means you should see year-over-year sales increases of at least 1.67% per month. Hopefully you hit 50% of your sales goals (a 10% total increase) by June 30. If so, you’ve got a 10% bump left to attain, so align your teams and training to the behavior necessary to exceed each upcoming month’s targeted goals. Seek out the low-hanging fruit first, such as increasing beverage and dessert sales. Design monthly sales contests for your teams and be sure to post progress reports/scoreboards daily and make selling a focus at every pre-shift meeting.
It’s cheaper to keep her. As unemployment numbers shrink, so does the available labor pool. Therefore hiring and retention will continue to have the highest priority for the remainder of the year., and in 2017 as well. Elevate the importance of hiring and retention to the same level as food safety. If your goal was to reduce turnover by 25% this year, replicate what worked in the first half of the year in the second half to cut churn 2% each month for the remainder of the year.
Focus on the important not just what’s urgent. Strategic clarity is your number one resource for setting and attaining goals. Does everyone on your team clearly understand the targets and their role in attaining them? If you’ve been lax in your discipline and accountability in achieving the goals so far, then the reality is that you have to double down every month from here on out. Discipline for goal-attainment is a daily habit, not an occasional behavior.
Set milestones and keep score. At the end of every month be certain to share progress on your goals and how close your team came—or how far they exceeded—each objective. Having scoreboards are important for your team’s self-initiative and pride. I can remember a Little league game so many years ago when our coach was giving us a motivational talk centered around the concept that “It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, it’s about having fun.” Then Robert Compton, our wry catcher raised his hand and asked: “Then why do we keep score?” Classic.
Celebrate accomplishments. What you reinforce is what you get. What you don’t reinforce is what you lose. Recognize all individual and team successes. This is the essence of Servant Leadership and helps to build a strong employee culture. Strengthen your team’s abilities and belief in their abilities daily to achieve the goals you’re collectively striving toward. What people believe shapes what people achieve.
The final factor in finishing big this year is to advance in small ways on big goals every shift. The secret to attaining targets is to sustain incremental gains daily against your monthly goals. For instance, $30,000 in higher sales next quarter is $10,000 per month, or $178 more per shift.
Set your smartphone, laptop or calendar app to release an alarm on October 1. That’s the first day of the last quarter of this year. On 10.1 you’ll need to divide your targeted vs actual scores by three and adjust your goals and strategy accordingly. The last week in September is your last chance to do a keen assessment of where you stand with your lag goals for the year and align a big push to end strong in that final quarter. But why wait? If you start that process now, it will be a lot less stressful and resource-consuming then.
Three simple questions will help you progress toward your goals: “Were we better today than we were yesterday? Did we do more of what matters to drive our business forward? Did we do it better than we did last month?”
You don’t have to be flawless, just improving. Every restaurant operator has two choices: make plans or make excuses. And maybe Keith Moon, the late Who drummer, summed it up best: “Time flies when you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Jim Sullivan is a popular keynote speaker at Leadership Conferences worldwide. Companies using his products, programs or services include Walt Disney, Starbucks, Panera Bread, Portillo’s, Coca-Cola and Olive Garden. You can access his apps, videos and training catalog here at Sullivision.com