Work Life Balance for Restaurant Owners

Work Life BalanceWhen you own your own business, you get to work half a day, and because you’re the boss, you get to choose which twelve hours it will be. For restaurateurs, those twelve hours may occur seven days a week, but achieving work life balance for restaurant and pub owners is not impossible.

You spend the bulk of your waking time working in your establishment, and when you’re not there, you may be spending even more time thinking about how to improve and expand it. It may leave little time for family and other interests, especially during the busy holiday season. The good news is that there are steps you can take to free more time for yourself.

Don’t Let Your Restaurant Run Your Life

You should be running your restaurant and not the other way around. Entrepreneur.com cites four steps in “Why Running a Restaurant Doesn’t Have to Rule Your Life.”

  1. Automation: Evaluate everything and determine what can be automated. Those repetitive tasks that roll around every week or month are prime targets to be relegated to an electronic operation. Make use of software, and let it do the work. Plus, spreadsheets don’t make math errors.
  2. General Manager: Consider adding this person to your operation. It is the most direct way to cut your hours. Of course, this option comes with a price tag. However, looking for a new recruit rather than a seasoned veteran might make the choice cost-effective enough to be a viable option for you.
  3. Delegate: Use your staff more. Take time every day for a week to jot down your own activities to determine which ones might be able to be delegated. Chances are your staff is looking for more responsibility and the opportunity for growth. Plus, one or more of them may have a “behind-the-scenes” talent you can leverage, like web site maintenance or marketing ideas.
  4. Organization: We’re willing to bet your kitchen is NOT disorganized. Apply that same need for organization throughout your business. Google Drive is a great free (or very inexpensive) way to store and share documents in the cloud. And ditto to Google Calendar for sharing schedules.

Carving Out Personal Time

You schedule time in your business, so why not schedule personal time… as in actually putting it on your calendar and honoring that commitment as you would any other appointment.

That was the solution for Jim Koch, Boston Beer founder, according to “Work/life balance can be achieved for small business owners” in USA Today Small Business. He specifically plans family time during the summer, and admits he loses about half of it to his business, but without marking it on his calendar, he’d lose all of it.

Jeff Taylor, Monster.com founder has this advice as a work/life balance coach: Turn off the electronics. He turns off his BlackBerry at 8:00 p.m. nightly and leaves it off until 7:00 a.m. the next day. While that schedule may not work for everyone (admittedly some folks are most productive at night), everyone must find some time during the day to disconnect.

In the throes of the current holiday season, you may already be committed to a schedule that’s more work than life at the moment; however, make creating greater work/life balance as a restaurant owner part of your New Year’s resolution. You’ll ultimately be better for it.