Workin' 9 to 5 (Or Thereabouts)

When restaurant and catering company owners and managers hire JHW Hospitality to consult with their companies, they often ask how to structure their day to maximize productivity. One of the techniques I encourage is taking a little time each evening to create a schedule for the next day. By 5pm, outline what tomorrow will include and remember to note your 3 most-important tasks for the day.


It is also very important for business leaders to designate a start time and an end time. Running a restaurant or catering company is not like baking a cake. When you bake, you have a clear set of instructions and an obvious finished product. Once the cake cools and the frosting and decorations are set, the cake is done. The baker leaves his kitchen knowing he checked a task off his To Do List and the workday is over. But an owner or manager’s projects are ongoing and there is always something more to do.  Without an obvious end product (beautiful and delicious cake), a leader may find herself working late into the night. Each task leads to another project, inboxes are never empty, and the workday can seem endless.


To stop yourself from checking emails all night, designate an end time and adopt the habit of shutting down for the night. Obviously the entrepreneurial mind never fully stops running and I encourage you to make note of the brilliant ideas that strike while you’re enjoying dinner with friends or tucking your kids into bed.  But resist the temptation to begin strategizing around those ideas until morning. You may even find that, by giving your mind a little breathing room, you have more and stronger ideas than if you had continued to work long after the staff went home.


“Closing shop” at the end of the day can be a challenge for restaurant and catering leaders, but, ultimately, a specific end time will feel liberating. Setting a clear end time will allow you to focus on your family, your friends, your hobbies, and yourself.

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