Every year, a particular person – we’ll call him B – and I celebrate his birthday by playing hooky from work. We call it one of our mini vacations. He only uses one sick day per year, and it’s for this day. Since he works for “the man,” it is officially called a Mental Health Day. I work for myself, so I call it what it is – hooky, a break, decompression. It’s a day to cut loose, have fun and rejuvenate the body and mind. It’s a mini vacation. Wait, that is a mental health day!
A few years back, we went to Dough Pizzeria to celebrate this special day. I’d had several business meetings there and always raved to B how incredible the food was. We arrived at 10:59 A.M. to make sure that we were able to get a table without a long wait. (They open at 11 A.M., and at that time they didn’t take reservations.) From my meetings there, I knew how crowded the place was on any day of the week at lunch or dinner. Our waiter, John, wound up taking care of us for two solid hours of gastronomical heaven during our mini vacation.
When the manager came around to check on how we were doing, I took the liberty of asking her about the acquisition of the retail space next door and the planned addition to the restaurant. We talked about how they shut down the previous December for what was supposed to be a week and turned into two weeks. At that time, they thought they might be able to get the addition done, but the closure turned into contractors planning the new combined space, plus they made necessary repairs to their Italian brick oven.
Did you catch that? They CLOSED for two whole weeks! Isn’t that suicide in the business world? How can anyone possibly close and be expected to not only survive but thrive?
Dough did it. They have built up enough of a reputation for excellent food and service that people are willing to wait. They don’t have a high turnover of staff, so you get to know the employees there and realize that they’re human and need time off like the rest of us. Who can get upset about that?
They publicize on their website when they will close and also post signs on their door. They let their employees know well ahead of time so that their employees can plan what they want to do during one of their mini vacations. They’ve got routines and systems in place so that closing and re-opening are not big deals.
But what about their lost revenue, you ask? Is it lost revenue if their hiring and training expenses are kept to a minimum because of low turnover? Is it lost revenue if their employees take fewer sick days because they get paid vacations and planned days off throughout the year? Is it lost revenue if their employees are happy – and not burned out – and therefore bring in even more business from word of mouth because of outstanding customer service? Their closures are not lost revenue; their mini vacations (closures) are investments in the future of Dough.
Dough has shown that you can run a business according to your own schedule. You can have time off to reboot.
If you run your own business, are you willing to give it a try for a few days? Or how about at least one day? When will your future mini vacations be? If you need to understand why mini vacations are vital to your well-being, check out Part 1 “Create Clarity” in my book, The Inefficiency Assassin.