Restaurateurs: Why Your First Day Back From Vacation is the Most Important Day of the Year

Break old habits.

Start new ones.

That first day back from vacation offers you an incredible opportunity to do both – to adopt new behaviors and see breakthrough ideas and initiatives you definitely want to take advantage of.

If you tend to rush into a skyscraper-sized group of e-mails, and don’t stop and think about this, you miss a tremendous and fleeting window to catapult yourself and your company forward.

Remember store blindness?

If you’ve been in the industry as long as I have, you’ve probably heard the term.

Hint: It’s not a place to buy window coverings. It refers to managers who have been in their stores so long they can’t see detail any more.

You ask your GMs to constantly fight that tendency to miss out on repetitive details at their location, but they just don’t see them.

As an owner of a successful independent restaurant company, you have your own version of store blindness.

It is called “habits.”

Our Love-Hate Relationship with Habit


If you needed to stop, think about how to do something, and evaluate every time you approached a tiny juncture, you would never get anything done.

That is why we love habits – they keep us moving with no apparent effort.

They allow us to feel like the passenger rather than the driver.

However, habits also prevent us from adopting new behaviors and considering new options.

Which is not so good.

Relying on habit is like opening you Uber app and discovering it only allows you to go to places you have been before.   


Enjoy Both Your Vacation and Breakthroughs When You Return


With Memorial Day behind us, it’s time to focus on one of the most important events of any year – your summer vacation.

As a regular reader of this blog, you know I advocate taking as much time away from work as possible.

Most people would be envious of the flexibility in your life, and shocked if you wasted something they would treasure if only they had what you had.

I invite you to bookmark this and make a note to read it on the day you return from vacation this summer.

Swing into action on your first day back:

  1. Be mindful of the things you do in a rote manner. Resist them.
  2. Stop and consider what you can do differently with a fresh start. Act on that.
  3. Share these observations with your team.
  4. Connect this to at least one breakthrough opportunity for your company to excel.

Vacations can transform you from being the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water to the frog that jumps out when thrown in the pot.

If you keep score, please note: The latter frog lives; the former ends up as lunch.

Which do you want to be?

Over to you. What will be the result of adopting new habits? What old habits will you ditch?