by Theresa B. – Get free updates of new post here.
Often I see it on people’s faces when we talk about systems. Their immediate reaction is “Oh no, does this mean I’m losing my freedom?” They imagine something incredibly complex, confusing, and confining, which is how systems can be but not how they have to be.
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Systems are not Sexy and I know It
For the free-range entrepreneurs, losing their freedom feels like a death sentence. Restrictions, processes, short leash, less freedom, less flexibility, limitations, accountability, bottlenecks -they feel this all in a flash. It’s not an exciting topic and let’s face it, systems are not sexy! They are, however, important. Not just important, but critical to the growth and long-term success of your business.
When I first stepped into the business world as a general manager of my family’s Vietnamese Noodle Restaurant, I was naive to think that things would magically run like a well-oiled engine. The owners didn’t want systems, and systems took too much time to set up. They believed that the folks hired should know how to do their job, and do it well. That’s what they were getting paid for. That was the system-less belief: Customers would be happy with services provided, dishes would be washed, and food served flawlessly.
Instead, we had:
- Mountains of dishes waiting to be put in the dishwasher
- Orders entered incorrectly by servers
- Customers waiting for their meals
- Food being delivered to the wrong tables
- Customers leaving without eating their meals
I’m a pretty organized person, so imagine the shock I had coming into this!
The Ones Who Thinks Systems Are Sexy Are Winning
After a few hard weeks of moping around, I picked up my socks. I started looking at successful restaurant chains such as Earl’s, Joey Tomatoes, and Subway. All of these chains were successful and customer experiences were, for the most part, positive. I recognized that they all had a common thread Business Systems and Processes. A lightbulb went off in my head and I began to work endlessly on gathering together documents, processes, and checklists, in preparation for systemizing the restaurant.
Getting Into The Systems Mindset
“It’s like a new experience!” one customer said after our 3rd month of implementing our systems into our restaurant business.
Within just three months, we had turned our business around. Together, as a business, we decided to jump aboard the systems train, and diligently pivoted where was needed, tweaked and adjusted as we kept running, and most of all we were adopting the system mindset.
The results were outstanding:
- Triple customer satisfaction levels; customers were bringing friends and colleagues in for service!
- Customers were coming back requesting for specific servers
- Lunch turnover jumped from one to three separate sessions
- Service was being delivered with consistency
- We doubled our profits month after month
Although systems are not sexy, they work.
Systems provided ROI, increased our effectiveness, increased return on time profits, and above all, it made training a lot easier.
The first step towards this success is preparing your mindset to acknowledge, and receive, the benefits that systems bring.
Is your business running like a fine-tuned engine or did you experience some of the systems-less effects that I did?
P.S. Overwhelmed and overloaded? I can help. I’ll sort through all the latest operations and systems info, find the best resources, and put it in short daily emails that keep you in the loop, so you can easily make informed assessments without spending more time researching it.
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