Ruwandi and Jagath, her husband, own a restaurant business, “The Family Treat”. They make a cool 100k rupees a month in profits.
She’s the face of the business. Her clients love what she’s done with the place. They love her husband’s food.
For Ruwandi and Jagath, the restaurant is their baby. They’ve spent nearly 4 years growing it and developing a loyal customer base.
They’ve got a good team to help too. Ruwandi is the manager of sorts, and Jagath is the head chef. Then, there’s Joshua who works as the accounts person. Shalindi is in charge of procurement, and Shane does the marketing and social media work.
The first year was a struggle. It was just her and Jagath running things. They invested all they had on this business. And Jagath was so supportive. They had a passion for food, and that’s what mattered.
And once the hurdle was passed, and the 2nd year came around, they started to break even in the business. Getting good reviews and referrals from loyal customers surely helped.
They actually started making a profit last year, after they introduced catering services. Running a restaurant wasn’t what people made it out to be.
But all Ruwandi and Jagath have to show for the 4 years of commitment to the business is the small profit they’ve been making since last year. Business is business, but Ruwandi feels like this isn’t what they signed up for.
Worst of all, Ruwandi and Jagath can’t remember why they started the business in the first place. Before, they used to go abroad on vacation, at least once a year. Now, they only left the business if it was for a funeral or someone’s wedding. Even then, it was only for very close family and friends.
The baby they both lovingly grew is starting to strangle the both of them.
They open the restaurant at 9 in the morning. 6 am if there’s a catering order to prepare for. They close up and get home around 11.30 in the night. Ruwandi has to be there during the peak times. She’s the face of the business. Jagath can’t trust anyone else to make the food the way he does.
They are swamped, and that’s an understatement. They are stuck. Ruwandi feels suffocated most days. Jagath feels numb.
The thought of selling the business crossed their minds several times during the years. But who’d buy it? There’s no restaurant to speak of without these 2. They are the glue that’s holding things together.
On the strong suggestion of a family friend, they decided to hire a consultant to systemize and document the business. Maybe they could stand a chance of selling it for the price they wanted.
Not that they really wanted to. But the option allowed some much needed breathing space.
Either this or spend the rest of their lives like this. Stuck in limbo.
Enter Michael. A Process consultant.
Michael was brought in as a last ditch effort to salvage their lives and that of the business. He was their hope.
He helped them structure the business and create an Operations Manual. Until now, Ruwandi and Jagath had a person-dependent business. Michael made it systems-dependent.
He mapped the entire operation. Every title and task had an accountability, responsibility, and an outcome. The people were merely there to run the system.
Ruwandi used to be the face of the business. Now, the face of the business was the brand. A family run restaurant where staff and customers were treated like family.
Jagath now could begin to delegate some of his work in the kitchen. Thanks to the systems. He hired a sous chef, and began to train him using the manual. And it was easy, since the manual was, basically, a list of Jagath’s routine in the kitchen.
Like Ruwandi and Jagath, the rest of the staff had accountabilities, responsibilities, and outcomes for their roles. If one person wasn’t able to show up, another could easily handle the extra work. It was all there in the manual.
All of a sudden, Ruwandi and Jagath could take a few days off from running the business. The system could run it for them. When they came back, it was with new energy.
Then they started taking longer vacations. They went abroad for the first time in 4 years. It felt great. Free at last.
Now, their restaurant didn’t feel suffocating or numbing. Their passion for the business was rekindled.
All thoughts of selling the business was gone, though the option was there. As a last resort.
They hired a manager to run things full time. Ruwandi and Jagath were able to dine in their restaurant for the first time – as guests. It was a new experience. Like looking at the business from the outside.
In time, they opened another restaurant in another location. Running a restaurant, now, was as easy as ‘copy-paste’. They had the brand, and the systems.