The ups and downs of hospo

At 4pm every day (2pm on weekends), my daily ritual is the same it has been for the last 5.5 years – how much cash has the café turned over for the day?  As an owner, I like to keep a close eye on this important metric.

Before our fancy new iPad based point of sale system, the main staff member working would text me the day’s takings.  Sometimes I’d be pleasantly surprised; other times bitterly disappointed; overall, I have a good idea of what to expect based on what day of the week/month/season we are currently in.

What I’ve learnt over all these years is, you can’t base your mood on that day’s takings.  If you did, you would be an emotional mess.

Some weeks, out of nowhere, I’ve seen our turnover half of what it should be.  It hurts.  That means working extra hard for the rest of the month to make up the difference.  It also means delaying much needed maintenance, or that upgrade we’ve wanted to do, for a few more weeks.

On the other side of that coin, I’ve seen us do days where the turnover is twice that of a really good day.  I’d be lying if I didn’t get a real kick out of those days.  If every day was one of these, we’d be printing cash.

What still amazes me to this day is a bad day and a good day can come one after the other.  There really is no rhyme or reason to what pattern they follow

This is the beast that is hospitality.  It’s a roller-coaster of ups and downs, a few confusing turns, exciting highs and then not so exciting lows.

If you are thinking of buying a café, this is what café ownership is really like.  Consistency and unpredictability, smashed together.