It’s as important in business as it is in sports
and it’s importance cannot be stressed enough in your restaurant.
A = Anticipate
An NFL team will spend 4-5 days preparing for one game.
There will be a room full of professional athletes, who are so extremely gifted, talented and specialized that they could likely do their job with blindfolds on. Sitting right there with them are dozens of top level coaches and trainers and all of these people have gathered in a room to get prepared, they’ve come to study, prepar fully anticipate.
Anticipation is defined as “An emotion involving pleasure, excitement, or anxiety in considering or awaiting an expected event.”
What professional football teams do, as well as top level businesses, including restaurants, is they prepare for everything that they can think of before they do anything. This preparation, this time on anticipation, pays incredible dividends and many times dictates their success.
One of my favourite quotes does a great job at explaining this very eloquently. Sun Tzu said “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”
In the restaurant space there are so many different variables (enemies) that we need to be aware of at all times, and taking time to run through as many of them as possible allows for us to operate with calmness, a sense of poise and relentless focus. This is a must in the restaurant industry.
Take a look at all of the top restaurants in your city, I’d be willing to bet not too much phases them. Wine order showed up 3 cases short? No problem. Two staff members called in sick? All good. Bad weather means the local farm they get kale from cannot fulfill their order? They’ll adapt, Swiss chard is abundant right now.
Whatever comes their way, they’ve anticipated it at some point and they know exactly how to react. Does this happen 100% of the time? HECK NO. Do the best NFL team gets scored on? Yep, they sure do, but they recover quick and move on.
You’ll see great businesses and great restaurants work tirelessly not only to refine the aspects of their business that they know and control, but they’ll also be spending time on the “What If’s”. This time spent gives the entire team, from the management to the staff a sense of swagger, a sense of there isn’t anything we cannot handle, they operate with confidence. So much so that even when there is a misstep, even when something does just come up, you and I will never even notice it. If a mistake is made, or something happens outside of the restaurants control, they fix it and move on.
Just like that NFL team, they quickly look at why and how the other team scored and get right back to business doing what they do best, and that is dominating their sport and being leaders in their space.
What does this look like in reality for you and you’re restaurant?
It looks like hard work and a consistent upfront investment to alleviate pain in the future.
It looks like time spent collecting all of the data on those “surprises” you’ve experienced in the past and writing down your processes on how to deal with them.
It also looks like bringing in fresh eyes to your business, whether that is a restaurant consultant, another local business guru from an entirely separate industry to offer you insights on some gaps they see within your business and make sure you are set up to anticipate what could happen if…
Yes, we are challenged with the time we already have to give to our restaurants but by spending time during our days off to look at more “what if” scenarios we will only get stronger as a business. Again just like sports teams, for so many of them, that upfront investment of time is a key differentiator. It is the difference in being good and being great, or the difference between thriving in your business and shutting it down.
I will leave you with one more Sun Tzu quote because the guy was a genius and he knew not only how important it was to prepare but he fully understood that a large part of that preparation had to be given to anticipation.
Take this opportunity to strengthen your business through relentlessly preparing yourself and your team for whatever could come up next Friday night at 7:30pm.
Stay tuned next week for part 3 of our CARE approach to your restaurant.