Tuesday, March 22

Focus, Focus, Focus

Last week was a brutal one at the restaurant. It was spring break, and I guess we're close enough to the beach that everyone heads there. It was our slowest week since we opened and we lost a good bit of money.

As our bank balance dwindles, it's time to take a hard look at the restaurant and decide if there is any way to make it profitable. We are open 8 hours per day (breakfast and lunch), but over 90% of our business comes from lunch. How bad is it? One day last week we only rang up $18 in sales from 6 AM until 10 AM. We have to decide whether to shorten our hours to lunch only.

I know that sounds drastic - a restaurant that's only open for lunch? But it isn't uncommon in my area. There is another cafeteria about 8 miles away that opens just for lunch - and just Monday through Friday. By shortening our hours we will reduce our utilities cost, which is the third highest expense we have after food and labor (rent, our fourth highest cost, is a fixed one that I can't influence). We also will cut our labor cost - dramatically. I'm thinking my business partner and I will come in around 9 AM to get ready to open. At 10:30 our server will come in and at 11:30 our dishwasher would arrive. This would be our Monday - Friday routine. We would open for breakfast on Saturday and we would have additional staff on Sunday, our busiest day.

I'm trying to decide when we should start doing this. It's a difficult move, emotionally anyways. Several of our team members will lose hours, and we will be giving up on building our breakfast. But, what if it means we can survive? I have to make the decisions that will help the restaurant at this point. Otherwise none of us will be working.

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