Creating systems in your catering business helps to navigate the ups and downs of the industry
By David Scott Peters (davidscottpeters.com)
For a lot of caterers, running their companies during the COVID-19 pandemic felt like trying to navigate their way home through a raging forest fire.
Much like a forest fire burns homes to the ground and devastates communities, COVID-19 raged through the foodservice industry and burned a lot of businesses to the ground, suffocating the hopes and dreams of so many.
Now, things are looking up. This time last year it didn’t seem possible that you’d be booking graduation events and baby showers, but you are. The holiday season seems surprisingly bountiful.
Yet you also may feel uneasy, wondering if it’s all going to come crashing down around you again. As a caterer, vulnerable to the ups and downs of public health, you must do everything you can to defuse these uncertainties from impacting your business and your life.
How? With systems and an implementer.
When I say “systems,” what do I mean? I mean everything you do that somebody else could be doing. Are you still verifying the checklist before every job is complete or making sure staff has been scheduled for each event? By creating a system, you can ensure the job gets done your way, even—and especially—when you’re not there.
By having your systems in place, you operate much like the big corporate caterers do. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be cold and sterile and serve packaged food hot out of a microwave. You’re still the same caterer with the same set of core values. But you are going to set standards and train people to those standards.
The obstacle for most entrepreneurs is themselves. Even if you want to create all those systems and execute all those systems and train all those systems, you feel you don’t have the time. What you need to do is get somebody to help get that expertise out of your head, document it and implement it. That’s where the implementer comes in.
Finding an Implementer
Simply put: Find one person who helps you get it all done. That is how you can have success with systems.
The good news about systems is you already have them. You have your way of doing everything that needs to get done for each event. All you need to do is document them. Once you document them, you teach them. Teach your implementer all the ways of the business, have that person document them all, have them bring what they document to you to edit, then—BAM! You have documented and trainable systems.
Here’s a bonus tip that makes it even easier. Grab your cell phone and video yourself walking through your kitchen and performing all the tasks. Then have your implementer type it all up, step by step. Then test the procedure. Review what they’ve captured, edit it, finalize it, then—BAM! Systems are documented. Keep the video, and it becomes a training tool for new employees.
As a restaurant coach, I teach restaurant owners and caterers a series of systems that help you organize your entire business, allowing you to impose your will without being there—systems that ensure things are getting done your way, which ultimately allows you to focus on leading and growing the business. That gives you comfort. It gives you direction. It allows you to get through the ebbs and flows of running your business, even when there’s a high level of uncertainty. And while this last year was particularly tumultuous, catering is a business of ebbs and flows.
If you truly want to transform your life to have freedom from your catering business and a chance at real financial freedom, you have to put systems in place, and you have to find an implementer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Scott Peters is an author, restaurant coach and speaker who teaches foodservice operators how to take control of their businesses and finally realize their full potential. His first book, Restaurant Prosperity Formula: What Successful Restaurateurs Do, teaches the systems and traits to develop to run a profitable foodservice business. Thousands of operators have worked with Peters to transform their businesses.
Get his three principles to success at dsp.coach/ three-key-principles.