Running a restaurant, or really any type of company, often leaves people feeling like they’re being pulled in a million different directions. But what if you had something — almost like a guiding light — to keep you and your team cruising along the right path, no matter what curveballs were thrown your way?
Here’s how defining and executing your restaurant’s vision, mission, and purpose can do just that.
Who, What, Where, and Why
Creating your own unique vision, mission, and purpose statements should be part of any solid business plan. Unfortunately, these steps are sometimes glossed over without much thought when it really should be exactly the opposite. These powerful statements define, for all the world to see, the core of:
- Who you are;
- What you’re doing;
- Where you’re doing it; and
- Why you’re doing it.
That’s pretty integral to the functioning of your restaurant, isn’t it? The who, what, where, and why — essentially your culture in a nutshell — serves as a day-to-day guide for restaurant operations and keeps you focused on critical long-term planning and tasks.
By forming the basis of your culture, these statements influence the people you hire and how customers and the community are engaged. They help craft employee behaviors, determine strategic direction, and can be used to measure employee performance. And when you or your team stumble and lose your way, these statements serve as a reminder to circle the wagons, refocus, and take the necessary steps to once again move closer to your overall goals.
Defining Each Statement
Before you can define your vision, mission, and purpose, you need to understand the difference between the three. Here is a simple definition of each as well as the steps to follow to create your own:
Vision: States your ultimate strategic goal and defines what or who you would like to become. This is intended to be a forward-thinking and motivational statement. Consider it your ultimate stretch goal.
To create your own:
- State what you, as a company, produces or makes.
- Pinpoint where you want to be in the future — again, consider this your ultimate stretch goal.
- Pull it together into one sentence, adding in any adjectives or phrases that may make it more relatable to your target audience.
Mission: Summarizes how you will accomplish your vision and includes your core values and defining characteristics. This should be action-oriented and outline the practical steps you will take to fulfill your vision.
To create your own:
- Determine the unique angle or selling point of your restaurant or brand.
- Define what you do, how you do it, and for whom.
- Mission statements are varying lengths, but keeping it shorter can be more impactful. Aim for one to three sentences total.
Purpose: Defines why you exist or the need you seek to fulfill.
To create your own:
- Think about why the restaurant exists.
- Consider the goals of the restaurant, including the potential impact on employees, customers, and the community as a whole.
- Put this information into just one or two sentences for maximum effect.
Execution Is Essential
Although creating vision, mission, and purpose statements is a step in the right direction, you’ve got to ensure that they are woven into every aspect of the restaurant — from décor to operations to hiring to behavioral standards.
If these aren’t integrated properly, there can be lots of unfortunate side effects as noted by these Gallup survey findings:
- Just one-third of employees strongly agree that their employer’s mission or purpose makes them feel that their job is important;
- Only 28 percent of hospitality employees strongly agree with the statement, “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand(s) different from our competitor.”
These are huge problems! Your culture should be so transparent and obvious that it practically speaks for itself, leaving no doubt in the minds of employees and even customers and the community about what your restaurant stands for and represents. And if your team feels disconnected from the mission and purpose, then you are likely either not be expressing these messages clearly and consistently or are hiring employees who aren’t a cultural fit. You absolutely want and need your crew to connect with and feel empowered by the values and goals that they are contributing to and working toward.
The Aimless Teenager
Let’s look at one last example of what can happen when vision, mission, and purpose statements aren’t prioritized. Think about the teenager who is just coming of age, who is still unsure of her true interests, values, or long-term plans. It’s within reason that she might bounce around between different friend groups, do a fair share of experimenting, and make plenty of mistakes — some more critical than others — in the process.
While that behavior may be expected from a teenager, it’s not looked upon fondly when an owner or manager does the same. If you try to operate a restaurant without having defined its path, intentions, and goals early on, you’re setting yourself up to become the aimless teenager, trying a little of this and a little of that, likely to no avail. Instead, let well-defined vision, mission, and purpose statements serve as your guiding light.