Know Your Value and Avoid Overwork

This post was originally published on my restaurant blog in 2021 (as I used to run a group of restaurants for 14 years until 2020) and I thought it would be a valuable coaching lesson for anybody in business so am cross-posting it here.

One of the greatest challenges – as a restaurateur – is the prospect of overwork. It’s a business where it’s accepted that you work round-the-clock, seven-days-per-week and consider this normal.

While this may be a reality for many (and I’ve been there, clocking 80+ hour weeks), it doesn’t HAVE to be a reality. Any business can be designed and built to run well so that it doesn’t depend on one person, or, worse still, become one where you think it has to depend on one person. i.e. you.

You may be the executive chef and love what you do, and the restaurant may be famous for your recipes and your style. That’s great, but does it have to be a business that requires you to sacrifice everything else when you don’t want to? And how can you regain a balance and lead a fulfilled life (as many do) without losing momentum in the business?

Part of the mindset shift comes down to understanding your value (your worth) and how you fit into the pieces of your business and life.

Picasso’s Value

I am reminded of the anecdotal Picasso story about a woman who approached Picasso in a restaurant, asked him to scribble something on a napkin, and said she would be happy to pay whatever he felt it was worth.

Picasso complied and then said, “That will be $10,000.”

“But you did that in thirty seconds,” the astonished woman replied.

“No,” Picasso said. “It has taken me forty years to do that.”

What does that mean for you?

As an independent restaurant owner, you probably get involved in everything. You have all the management to do – accounts, compliance, recruitment, marketing, etc – as well as the hands-on work which can be everything from the service to the cooking to cleaning and even basic maintenance.

But, when you can’t see the wood for the trees, you need to step back and look at what you have built. You need a true perspective on what you are doing and where you are going. That’s where a coach/consultant like me can help, but for now, we’ll just give you one quick tool to help you do this. I used this approach myself and better understood my value to my companies as I grew them.

The Measurement of Value

You could easily get bogged down into the details of this and try to factor all sorts of things in for accuracy, but the purpose of this is to give you a perspective. We’re not trying to value your company to determine its market value. We’re trying to give you a perspective on your value.

Are you ready?

Value = Annual Revenue ÷ ( 52 x 40 )

It’s very basic but gives you a quick way to see how valuable your time is. In the start-up phases, you can replace the “annual revenue” with “planned annual revenue” to get a better idea.

The ( 52 x 40 ) simply reduces the revenue into an hourly rate, assuming a 40-hour work week.

When you see the value of your time like this – you are the leader of the team and responsible for ALL the company’s performance after all – you may start to make different decisions about how you do things and what you spend your time doing.

It can be a sobering exercise.

Did you find this useful? What was your biggest takeaway? Do you have any questions?

Post in the comments below and get the conversation going.

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