Resetting your mind for 2021

Foodservice operators and businesses must recharge and reframe rather than simply remaining in survival mode.

By Doug Radkey

Another year has passed us by. It’s at these times that you usually hear clichéd statements like “it’s time to reflect” and “list three goals for yourself this upcoming year”.

But let’s be brutally honest for a moment — this past year has been a shitshow. For the majority of people reading this, whatever goals were set last December for foodservice operators or businesses were likely altered or never happened at all. Instead, there is a good chance you’re exhausted, you’re tired of pivoting, and you’re perhaps feeling stuck in survival mode.

That’s OK,  because you’re not alone.

Survival mode

The current scenario that many are in within this industry is obviously difficult to look at. According to Restaurants Canada, more than eight out of 10 independent operators have said they’re either barely staying afloat or are operating at a loss.

When you’re in survival mode within this industry — or any industry, for that matter — you’re just trying to get through the day. Right now, that means confronting the fact there’s no long-term or even medium-term plan. A recurring theme is that it’s all about getting through the next 24 to 48 hours. Never mind the end of the pandemic; even the end of the week feels like a long way off and when you’re stuck in survival mode, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never dig yourself out of the current scenario.

What’s happening right now in the industry is certainly not sustainable.

Recognition is key

If you’re one of those who are stuck in survival mode, you need to recognize it, own it, and pay attention to the small details. The situation this industry is currently in won’t resolve overnight, or by next week, or even for most of 2021. Nor is a vaccine being distributed going to provide immediate results. It is going to take extreme levels of action over time to get this industry back on track to where it was before March 2020.

We need to recognize and own the fact there is no quick fix to this. Whether you believe in developing resolutions or not, your mindset for the upcoming year needs to be about “preparation” and “execution”. These are two things that will help you dig out of survival mode.

Manifesting a mindset

Moving forward, you need to have a growth-based mindset that will position you to think bigger, identify solutions, and shift your awareness to a higher state of mind. Imagine being in a position where you know that what is yours will come your way in 2021 and that the competition and challenges thrown your way are merely an illusion.

When you can become aware of your thinking and how it is perhaps holding you, your team, and your business back —  that is when you can truly embrace change,when you truly understand the reality, and when you can anticipate, prepare, and execute at a level you never thought possible.

Remember, your mind is a powerful thing. The stories you tell yourself and the things you believe about your business and the current state of this industry can prevent change from happening. You can achieve positive results as we navigate these challenging months. You can achieve those margins needed to win in this industry. It has been proven achievable even during the most difficult of times. It is not impossible.

Bringing new opportunities

If you possess a growth mindset, you will believe that you can get the results you want (and need) by dedicating time, effort, and energy into the areas that need the most attention. You can develop strategic clarity to remain sustainable. You can develop a roadmap to financial recovery. And you can develop a contingency plan that will prepare you for a variety of scenarios while positioning you to execute to the best of your ability.

This goes well beyond the word “‘pivoting”, too.

This growth-based mindset helps create flexibility for you, your team, your brand, and your customers. As an operator in the new year, you need to ease your guests’ level of fear and anxiety while driving sustainable revenue. That’s the goal.

A path forward

To prepare for and execute that, you need to provide flexible options rather than not singular pivots, as well as a multitude of revenue channels –an “omnichannel” approach that caters to the new emphasis on health, safety, convenience, and also memorable on-premise and off-premise experiences.

The truth is, however, you are only going to do that with the right set of plans and the right frame of mind.

It’s no secret that personal or business-type ”resolutions” such as this often fall apart. That’s why gym memberships, for example, soar in January but facilities are emptier again come March. Most people don’t have the strength, habits, and mindset to keep it going.

But if you work as a cohesive unit and communicate this approach to your team, you can then hold each other accountable to deliver the results you want this upcoming year – creating a successful benchmark for the recovery of your business and ultimately, the recovery of this industry.

First, though, it starts with resetting your mind.

Doug Radkey is the president of KRG Hospitality Inc., the author of the book Bar Hacks, and an international keynote speaker on all things restaurants, bars, and boutique hotels. For more information, visit

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