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Why Did You Open a Restaurant in a Carolina Vacation Destination?

As we receive feedback from our audience, we are asked about how we would go about doing certain activities in specific niche businesses. So we will take these questions and create articles for you. Here is the 1st one on why did you open a restaurant in a Carolina vacation destination. Something we have witnessed in our own travels.

I’m often amazed at people who open businesses in a great location and then complain about how busy they are. You see this in all kinds of businesses, a drug store, an ear-piercing kiosk at the mall, or whatever else, but let’s use a restaurant as an example.

Let’s imagine this restaurant in, say, Kiawah & Seabrook Island, South Carolina. It’s a very busy area during the tourist season. You show up to eat there on July 4th weekend, and the place is packed—good for the restaurant, right? But when the hostess greats you, she looks like she’s wishing she wasn’t there. That’s your first impression. She actually seems a little frantic, trying to find you a table, which seems odd. I mean, didn’t the staff know this weekend would be busy? Just like it has been in this town every year for decades?

You finally get to the table. Your kids are hungry. You want a beer. The waiter drops by and says he will be with you in a minute. Five minutes pass. When he returns to take your drink order, you ask if you can order food now, too. Good news, they can accommodate, but it seems like they’re out of a few items on the menu, as if, again, the high demand was somehow unexpected. Finally you order. The food turns out to be good and you and your family have a great time. No surprise why this place is so popular.

But this restaurant….

The owners opened a restaurant in a great location and now they have a large, happy clientele–something any business owner should jump at, and it “seems” they hate every second of it. The staff hates it because they perceive the managers aren’t being proactive, aren’t scheduling enough workers or ordering enough supplies to set their people up for success. The owners hate it because…well, I don’t know why, but they certainly don’t seem to be taking any joy in their work. If they did, you’d think they’d notice it’s July 4th weekend at one of the major vacation spots on the coast of South Carolina and prepare accordingly. Part of that is making sure the staff understands how to greet a customer, how to properly serve a customer and overall, how to give the customer an incredible experience—after all, they chose to come to this restaurant!

Does this sound like a business you’ve patronized? Even worse, does it sound like a business you actually run? Do you find yourself dreading the busiest days of the year, even though you know these are the days that keep your company in the black?

Assuming you’re not just plain in the wrong line of work (it happens), you probably used to feel very differently. Your whole industry used to excite you, and maybe some aspects of it still do, but somehow you’ve lost something. For your own sake and for that of your colleagues and customers, it’s time to get it back.

A more realistic management plan would help. Seriously, if you and your staff are getting overwhelmed by your own success on a regular basis, it’s time to hire more people, design a more efficient workflow, or otherwise prepare for the demand you actually face. But beyond that—why did you decide to open in Kiawah & Seabrook Island, South Carolina? Why did you get into the restaurant business (or whatever it is you actually do) in the first place? Was it your passion for making people happy? The thrill of a challenge? The chance to make a lot of money while living in an exciting, beautiful place?

Whatever did it for you then can do it for you now. Think about your satisfied customers—and what you can do to make their experience even better.

Your business is successful. Congratulations! Your dream has come true! Now, just remember WHY you dreamed it in the first place.


Photo credit: Handlebars Restaurant Silverton via photopin (license)