Be Strategic With Your Schedule

Proactively Manage your schedule and your appointments, don’t react to meeting requests like you do guest requests.

A lot of restaurant operators underestimate the importance of WHEN they conduct meetings – either with vendors or advertisers or even applicant interviews. Meetings with vendors and other applicants/partners is important, for sure, but don’t need to be treated as urgently as guest requests – this approach will help you manage your time in the restaurant and ultimately be more prepared for every meeting and, in turn, get more out of every interaction.

Vendors will stop in at times they figure your restaurant is slower – if not they’re not great partners – but that doesn’t mean you have to drop what you are doing. If you’ve planned time to complete a project or sit down with employees during your down time, you shouldn’t have to abandon that plan because a vendor has stopped by to talk about a new product he or she wants to sell you. No need to be rude, but simply thank them for thinking of you but you’ve scheduled other tasks for that time and you’d be happy to set up another meeting in a day or two when you have more time to give them the attention they deserve. Taking a meeting when your mind is on something else is a waste of your time and theirs. Plus, this will train your vendors to call ahead and schedule meetings instead of dropping in when it’s best for THEM.

Applicants can/should be scheduled the same way. Hopefully they are coming in when the restaurant is not busy to fill out the application. Of course, you want to treat them as the potential guests they are, but you don’t need to abandon your schedule to interview every applicant. A quick 2-3 minutes to say hi, thank them for coming in, and scheduling a more thorough interview is enough to gauge their interest. Now, if you’re short-staffed and have several ads for open interviews, your daily schedule should account for conducting on-the-spot interviews during this time. But, otherwise, this is where you can be strategic in scheduling your interviews – whether 1st or second interviews.

Looking for an AM Prep Cook? Schedule an interview 15 minutes before you’ll need them to arrive to work on a normal day. No sense ensuring they can arrive on time for a 2:00 interview if they’ll be expected to arrive at 7 am every other day. Similarly, if you are interviewing for a PM server, schedule the interview prior to your pre-shift meeting so that if the interview goes well you can end the interview with them listening in on the pre-shift meeting – demonstrates expectations and gives them a glimpse of your culture and processes, which should get them excited to join the team.

Staying disciplined in truly managing your time and schedule will make you more present throughout the day, and make you a more effective communicator with your guests and more effective leader with your people. Manage time and tasks so that you can lead people.