Most restaurant owners work long hard hours and are VERY busy and take few vacations, if any. However, I know some very successful restaurant owners that take at least a month off every year all at once. Their restaurants keep churning out money while they are drinking margaritas at the beach. I also know some very successful smaller operators that close down their restaurants completely for 2- 4 weeks to spend time with their family and friends.

What’s the Difference for Success?
The difference between the more successful restaurateur and the one unable to leave his restaurant for a minute, his restaurant literally a ball and chain around his neck, is that the less successful group concentrates on getting things done. They focus on the volume of activity. The more successful one concentrates on the most profitable tasks that move them toward their goals, the value of activity.

Have you ever caught yourself just getting a few quick things done before you attempt to get the more important but valuable task done? The one thing that can have the biggest impact keeps getting shuffled from day to day, not getting done. Sure, you might have to spend a couple of hours on the marketing of your restaurant. But once it’s done it goes out to hundreds or thousands of your potential guests and generates thousands of dollars in revenue and profits. And the same marketing can be used over and over again. That activity is worth hundreds and often thousands of dollars an hour. That’s leverage. But it’s also the hardest to schedule or do because it requires a block of a few hours of uninterrupted time.

Distinguish Between Activity and Productivity
In short, the distinction between activity and productivity is a clear and precise linkage to goals. There are sales reps constantly after you and they all want you to pay for “marketing” …articles, ads, radio interviews, etc. to get your name “out there”. You get quantity, but so what? Your marketing needs to directly link to your goals. Your marketing has to be in a media that is seen or heard by your best potential customers. Say no to all the others. Do not be diverted, do not let time or energy be consumed in any way not related to your goals. Most people make little if any distinction between activity and productivity.

One reason is the absence of precise clarity about goals, ranging from the type of guests they want, to the way their restaurant is supposed to “look” in 6 months to a year. Without such clarity, it’s hard to quickly discern whether spending time on a lunch with Mr. Jones is “productivity” or not. Other people prefer pleasing activities to productivity, so they expend a large quantity of time in low value meetings, talking with people unlikely to advance them toward their goals, because they are flattered by those persons’ attentions, or enjoy their company, or use them to escape more difficult work. And we all succumb to the minutiae of running a business, the “busy-ness” of it, staff scheduling, payroll, ordering, inventory, checking up on people’s progress – tasks that could be easily delegated. All of this makes it easy to avoid the things that will make the biggest difference. The biggest “drain” on productivity is not knowing the difference between it and ordinary activity, or escapism.

Clarify your goals.
Even if you do not learn or improve any skills, or give conscious thought to better time management, you will instantly become much more productive.