Most managers in the food service industry work their way up from hands-on operational roles. In the progression from operational to managerial roles a manager must learn to let-go of day-to-day operations in order to be more effective. This is often a painful transition.
A friend recently started a new role as manager of a multi-outlet operation. When he first started he was spreading himself thin, trying to manage the business while pulling duty manager shifts at night and on weekends.
It wasn’t long before he started to struggle with his administrative duties and the business began to suffer. His first instinct was to do more shifts to reduce cost. This is the downward spiral that many operators fall into.
There is an opportunity cost of covering shifts that could be filled by a $15/hr employee. There are many things that a manager can do that are worth more than $15/hr, including:
- Recruiting – spend time recruiting the right people
- Marketing – grow the business by spreading the word
- Process re-engineering – tune processes to be more efficient
- Financial Planning – Manage Creditors and Debtors to your advantage
- Purchasing – Shop around for better deals
My friend made the right choice by stepping back from operational duties and focusing on management. The turnaround was almost immediate, as he capitalised on opportunities that were previously missed. He secured some major conferences, leveraged his suppliers to sponsor promotions and worked with a local traders association to coordinate promotional events.
Stepping-back to spend more time on management is difficult for many operators. However, not doing so is limiting for both operator and business.