Your Boring, Generic Mission Statement Stinks: Here’s Why
You know mission statements are important. You’ve read business books that have touted the development of a mission statement as a North Star, a compass, a drum major’s baton. This important business effort, done right, will be used as a guide for employees and insight for your customers. Now, you’ve finally taken the plunge and have inked out a new restaurant mission statement. <cue the yawn>
In a 2007 New York Times article “In Mission Statements, Bizspeak, and Bromides,” reporter Kelley Holland cited a professor of strategy and governance at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario about the topic. There, she estimated that only 10 percent of mission statements say something meaningful.
Many employees consider their company’s mission statements to be downright boring, and anything but meaningful or memorable. While these mission statements are commonplace, it’s the ones that do strike a chord with employees that are remembered long after they exit the company. Why? Because those rare, but expertly crafted mission statements, embody an organization’s values and purpose, imbuing insight about why the company exists.
Crafting Strong Mission Statements
Operating a restaurant without a guiding mission statement is like sending your 17-year-old delivery drivers on the open road without Google Maps or a Smartphone; making it from restaurant door to customer doorstep without the right directions is a serious challenge. In terms of poor directions, you also don’t want one set of employees moving one way, while another set moves in the opposite direction. That misalignment can quickly derail a restaurant’s success. So the time spent planning and creating a restaurant mission statement is absolutely worthwhile.
Let’s first look at the three components of a quality mission statement. Those are understanding and knowing:
- Know your target audience
- What do you contribute to the world around you? Is it a product or a service?
- Your organization’s distinction – this can be determined by asking yourself and others two questions:
- What makes my restaurant unique?
- What do my customers dine here versus my competitors?
- What makes my restaurant unique?
Without consideration of these three components, you’ll get bogged down in your effort and may craft meaningless phrases and sentences that “sound” like what you think a mission statement is, instead of crafting the essence of your restaurant’s values and the impact you have on your community.
To start, look at why you do what you do. What gets you out of bed at 4 am to drive to your place of business? What keeps you getting up at 4 am month after month? When you’ve nailed that down, your mission statement will hopefully provide inspiration that concisely imparts the shared set of values that your employees can rally around.
Look no further than one coffee giant’s mission statement for an example of one of the strongest in the industry. Starbuck’s goals encapsulate more than just selling good coffee. Their aim embodies the company’s core in bringing people together within their neighborhood over a shared cup of coffee.
Starbucks mission statement reads: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Sharing the Mission
Once you have developed your restaurants’ mission statement, share it everywhere. By living the mission, in your business and employee dealings and giving it light, your planted seed is more likely to grow. Visibility increases the chance that it becomes infused in your employees’ psyche.
Here are a few ways to increase that visibility:
- Post your restaurant mission statement in your restaurant staff hiring posts and job descriptions
- Make it prominent in your onboarding and employee handbook
- Include your mission in internal emails to staff (all-hands meetings, newsletters, etc.)
- Incorporate all or pieces of your mission whenever your staff welcomes a customer in your restaurant or at the table
- Reiterate your mission when praising employees and during reviews
- Post your mission on your wall
- Post it on your website
Ensuring the success of your Restaurant Mission Statement
It’s easy to post a mission statement on a prominent wall or include in your website. Still, remember to use it during the toughest times in business. When important issues come up, you should always look to your mission statement as a guide, weighing each possible decision against your core objectives. The one that aligns closest to your goals is the right decision to make. Your restaurant’s mission should steer the conversation when difficult employee feedback must be given.
A short and concise mission statement, crafted with simple language, will help you and your employees remember and use it. Only then will this powerful North Star guide your decisions during the worst of times, and your employees’ actions for the best of times.
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About the Author
Amber Mullaney provides and guides all things marketing for QSR. A proud Texan native, she graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Public Relations and spent her career in the healthcare industry before making the switch to QSR, saying she loves a good challenge. Amber has a long list of things she loves, including tacos (especially tacos), sweet tea, Texas, the outdoors, and traveling with her husband and two daughters.