How to Set Goals for Your Restaurant in 2018

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In the restaurant and hospitality industries, the never-ending daily grind can make planning beyond basic needs and operational duties feel impossible. Big picture goal-setting often takes a backseat, but it’s crucial to the future success of your business.

Most businesses create money-centric goals, such as ‘make $X each quarter’ or ‘grow revenue by X% year over year.’ However, setting smaller and more specific goals around finances as well as other components of your business can help you stay on track, measure success, and keep standards high.

Keep reading for quick tips on how to set goals for your business this year!

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

  • S = Specific. Your goal should be clear, otherwise you’ll lose focus. First, try to answer the ‘who, what, where, why’ of your goal.

  • M = Measurable. Tracking progress is key to staying motivated and correcting for issues.

  • A = Achievable. Your goals shouldn’t be impossible, but they should stretch your capabilities!

  • R = Relevant. Focus on how your goal ladders up to broader goals of the business.

  • T = Time-Bound. Setting a target completion date will help you stick to a deadline. (Pro tip: If you’re setting a long-term goal, determine a halfway point to track your progress.) 

Stay Focused on 5 Key Areas

  1. Service: Customers may forgive a minor food-related mistake, but they’ll likely never forget how they were treated at your establishment. With the rapid rise of customizable dining experiences in 2018, try to center your service goal around creatively providing people with the best possible experience. This not only ensures return customers, but people who will enthusiastically recommend your establishment to others (this is important, as 80% of people trust recommendations from their family and friends)!

  2. Food: It goes without saying that focusing on the quality of food should always be top priority in this particular area. After that, consider tapping into the year’s biggest trends. Whether it’s adding new items to the menu, sourcing locally, hosting a theme night, or committing to a food waste reduction plan, don’t be afraid to think bigger than previous years.

  3. Marketing: Challenge yourself to think beyond your day-to-day duties and set a marketing strategy for the year. Set a few tasks you want to accomplish each week. Examples could be setting up a social media account for your brand and posting an update every day, figuring out how to automate email campaigns, and (most importantly), tracking results in order to optimize or pivot your strategy during the next planning session.

  4. Employees: Remember how exceptional service should be your top focus? A solid team will ensure that goal is successful. This year, commit to providing your employees with the resources they need to succeed. Some examples are creating an ‘Employee of the Month’ award, scheduling weekly or monthly touch-base meetings with each individual team member or team, investing in e-learning software, or implementing an intelligent clock-in system (pssst...we know a great one) that seamlessly collects data from employees while empowering them to feel invested in larger business goals.

  5. Finances: Everyone wants to set target monetary goals and grow their revenues each year - but the financial temperature of the hospitality industry changes so often that it’s often difficult to measure what’s truly impacting your bottom line. The most important thing you can do is to set specific goals with a timeframe attached. After the time has passed, if you hit your numbers - see what worked. If you didn’t - reevaluate. 

Goal-setting doesn't have to be another daunting, menial task to add to your to-do list. Done correctly, it should leave you excited and energized for the year ahead.

If you make one resolution this year, commit to carving out time - even 1 hour - to think creatively and strategically about your business in 2018. You may be surprised at what you come up with!