The One Thing Restaurant Owners Must Do to Survive This Crisis

Over three seasons of Ozark on Netflix, Jason Bateman’s character Marty Byrde has always seemed a minute or two from death because of his career choice to be a money launderer for a drug cartel.

He actually does surprisingly well considering the situation.

But you? You are not wired to live large portions of your life endlessly fighting for survival.

I don’t know a single owner of a successful multi-unit independent restaurant group who comes pre-equipped, capable, or prepared to live in survival mode for an extended period of time.

Very few people are – unless they have lived their whole lives that way and don’t know anything else, or have the benefit of military training and know-how to endure very difficult circumstances for very long periods of time.

Let’s face it: Restaurant owners, no matter how impressive, determined, and intentional they appear now, are some of the last people you think of as built to thrive long in survival mode.

They have become accustomed to living charmed lives – the envy of many.

When I look in their eyes on Zoom, they have changed.

The Most Important Thing You Must Do

And no matter what you think will happen in the future, you exist today in the survival phase of the three phases I have identified as a result of COVID-19 – Survive, Stabilize, Dominate.

Operators prepared to transition through those three phases must take care of their businesses and themselves.

Make time to look after yourself.

Give yourself an outlet that will help you personally.

Whether you focus on your exercise routine, time with the family under your roof, meditation, cranking your favorite music up to 11, connecting with your church or temple, sitting six feet away from your neighbor on your front lawn telling stories, or going to the back yard to read a book or watch a comedy – or just plain taking a day or two off – you must manage your stress or you will not come through this in the shape you must be to lead your company.

Take in some news, but not too much.

Budget for more sleep, not less.

Eat better, not worse.

In This Marathon, Prepare to Make It to the Finish Line

We all know about respected leaders who sacrifice for their troops and never ask anyone to do anything they would not do.

Modeling the behavior that acknowledges humanity and the advantages of managing stress and adrenaline levels represents an even more important foundation of leadership.

Before COVID-19 I remember telling the new manager of one of my clients’ restaurants – which needed a complex overhaul in training, operating systems, and communication – “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Stay strong, sharp, and successful throughout all the unknowns the COVID crisis has thrown at you, and will throw at you in the coming months and longer.

Train for this marathon by taking care of yourself and your mental and physical health.

Over to you. What one thing will you prioritize to take the best care of yourself during this crisis?

If you want to talk about how the COVID-19 virus is impacting your business, please schedule a free call with me and I will help you.