Born in the nonprofit world, a mission statement is a guiding philosophy behind a business. It sets the tone for what the business stands for and hopes to accomplish in the world, and it can be an amazing tool in fostering company culture and making the tough, inevitable decisions that come along with owning a business.Your mission statement should be true to who you are as a business owner and indicative of what your restaurant believes in. It’s a powerful differentiator that speaks loudly to guests and staff alike. Get specific with your mission statement--what makes you unique?
As you brainstorm your mission statement, consider what pieces of the puzzle are most important to you. Is it the menu, the level of service, a commitment to community or global issues, or how you want to make people feel? Whatever the answer, this should be the jumping off point for your mission statement.
There are no rules to what makes a mission statement, but a succinct, memorable statement will have more impact, generally speaking, than one that’s too long or vague. Try to hone your statement down to two or three sentences. When you’ve shared your mission statement, the response should be, “Wow, how do you do that?” So you can continue the conversation from there with additional value statements and talking points.
Your mission statement informs your company values, which makes it very useful for helping you make tough decisions. When faced with a choice of two or more options, ask yourself, “which of these aligns with my mission statement and helps me further my goals?”
Further, the mission statement can provide guidance for hiring and training staff. You want to look for team members who are on board with your mission and can actively help you get closer to it. It should be one of the first things you share with new recruits. Make it part of the interview process, and then when you’ve brought on new staff, train them on the mission and value so that they can internalize it and share it with guests.
And speaking of guests, increasingly, consumers are voting with their wallets. Having a mission statement that speaks to your audience and inspires them will foster a sense of loyalty and community, which will help guests choose to spend their time and money with your business rather than the competition. You’re cultivating ‘your people,’ aka target demographic--the segment of the population that will be consistent customers and ambassadors for your brand, and you’re sending them a powerful message: “We’re in this together.”
When it comes to marketing spends, there is always another inquiry or opportunity, from festivals and events to internal promotions. The mission statement can come in handy here too, as you determine what is the best use of your time and marketing dollars. If an event doesn’t align with your mission, it’s important to ask, “what is the purpose of engagement?” If it’s simply for brand exposure or wanting to feel included in something, that might not really be the best use of your limited resources.
As you build your business, check in with your mission statement often to make sure your growth is in the direction that you set from the beginning. Stay true to who you are so that others can clearly see what your business stands for.