The Rut of Slow Sales
When restaurant sales are slow, managers are forced to manage the middle of the P&L and this only makes the job more challenging. Slow sales create a rut and it is difficult to dig out.
Often restaurant managers don’t have 100% control of top line sales. In franchising, they definitely don’t have control over their marketing. A really bad promotion could be impacting sales negatively. Alternatively, economic conditions can also impact sales and it is simply a matter of waiting it out for better times.
When a restaurant manager is dealing with one of these conditions, they are forced to manage the middle of the P&L. This means, they need to tighten up the reigns on the variable expenses. In restaurants, the two major variable line items are Food Cost and Labor Cost. Managing food cost is really about ensuring none of your food inventory is being wasted. To do this, you need to rely on your employees to ensure customer orders are accurate and no mistakes are being made in the preparation of the food. Often times, managers will ask employees to suggestive sell on low food cost items to help improve food cost for the restaurant.
Meanwhile, when a manager is putting increased pressure on the team to ensure low food cost, he/she is also cutting labor hours to save on labor cost. For a manager to cut their team’s hours because of slow restaurant sales is one of the most demoralizing aspects of the restaurant business. Employees rely on the business to help support them along with their families. When slow sales hit, these are the people that are truly impacted. And it’s a vicious cycle. With slow sales, comes reduced labor. With reduced labor, comes sub-par customer service. With sub-par service comes even slower sales.
Slow sales is a killer! It kills the mood. It kills motivation. It kills inspiration. It kills excitement. It kills the spirit.