Restaurant Owners – Don’t Ignore the Signpost to Your Freedom

When you reach a certain level of success, it’s OK to run that victory lap and settle in to being an owner, not an operator.

One multi-unit owner I know has done this so well they consider their job “playing restaurateur.” 

Be more like them.

This transformation is critical for professional restaurant group owners; unfortunately, many of them miss it.

Maybe they don’t notice it – like a detail on a street they have driven a thousand times.  

As a successful owner of an independent restaurant group, though, you have earned the right to work on only the things you want to.

You started your company taking on a high amount of risk; so, in the early years, you handled everything that came your way as an owner and operator.

That time will end when you pay attention to this change.

Matthew’s Four Steps to Setting New Work Boundaries

  1. Begin with belief in this possibility. All that self-talk and eye rolling about, “That’s the restaurant business – I have to do all this”? That talk has passed its freshness date.
  2. Decide how much you want to work. Set a boundary of hours. If you want to reduce your time at work, you must have something else to replace the time you save, or you probably won’t do it. Identify that.
  3. Make a list that defines your chosen future business activities. Identify current activities you will delegate.  
  4. Start offloading responsibility to others. Be a strong champion for yourself, and don’t allow yourself to get sucked back in to firefighting, dealing with things that irritate you. Stay at your place of highest use.

Delegating the Right Way to Grow Your Company

  • Delegate and make it positive for the recipient.  
  • Don’t show up as the jerk who doesn’t want to do the hard work anymore.
  • Show up as the popular person who develops the team by letting it grow.
  • Show up as the leader who wants to focus on the big things, like new deals, locations, concepts, and ideas that will create opportunity for the whole team in the future.

Read over this list time and time again. And watch for old habits – they tend to show up and dictate our actions when we least expect it.

We have to be super vigilant to break repetition.

If you can’t do this yourself – or, if you don’t have the right people in place to allow you to do this – email me at and we can explore me doing for you what I have done for so many of your peers.