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Ok, so your turn-over is not bad, maybe even good, but you’re still not making good money? A successful hospitality business is more than a shop that sells food and beverage.

The decision to open a hospitality business is very exciting; especially when you’re creative and talented. You come up with a great idea, you love the creative food process, and the décor, the music, the pure expression and style of your place was always clear in your mind and you know it’s cool.

However, have you looked at your entire business with the same sort of energy and diligence? I know initially the financial planning, operational procedure, strategy and marketing are not as sexy as the food and the décor … but ultimately those elements translate all the flair and creativity into actual money in your bank account.

Building a successful hospitality business should be approached through three defined phases. Do each ‘architectural phase’ well, and you’ll build an institution rather than this year’s sensation.

At the Hospitality Company, we use our own Hospitality Business Architecture (HBA) and it’s a structured approach towards the Design, Engineer and Build of a successful hospitality business.

Here’s an overview of each HBA phase:

Phase One – Design

To build a great hospitality business you must start with a great business Design. Our Design phase is about ensuring that you have a clear vision for the type of business you want to create. This is more significant than what you put together for your Bank Manager. The Design phase clearly plans who you are as a business, who you are as an employer and how you are going to make money. It involves documenting your vision, creating a clear business plan and developing your leadership. It should be documented months before you open and be detailed enough to act as the north star in your daily decision making.

Phase Two – Engineer 

The Engineer phase in your business ensures that, when you open your ‘shop’, the systems and processes of excellent business practice are already in place – and that those systems and processes are engineered to deliver your design. We all know that it’s much harder to engineer a building for safety and strength once it’s been built. Businesses, metaphorically speaking, need earthquake proofing as well. The Engineer phase delivers the turn-key processes for finance, stock practice, marketing and fulfilment, operations and people development – and they save you enormous amounts of time and release a huge amount of energy for entrepreneurial spirit. The engineer phase, like the design phase is completely missed by most business owners in our industry and the leading reason why the industry has a low level of productivity (amount of financial return for work) and such a high failure rate.

Phase Three – Build

The Build phase is seen by most as the ‘fun phase’ – hence why the first two are often missed. This is the outward creative expression happens, and where the money comes in rather than only going out. However, it remains a BUILD phase, not purely creative expression, and effective boundaries and structures need to be put in place to ensure that all the daily creative expression is turned into an effective culture for the business and for all those who work in the business.

So, if you have either an underperforming business through lack of sales, or high operating costs, or an unhappy or uninspired team – it’s time to revisit and review how you have designed, engineered and built your business. Identify the areas of your business that are underdeveloped and start working on them today.

If you need some assistance have a look at our fully supported online course called The Business of Hospitality. Develop a deeper understanding of Hospitality Business Architecture – it’s the blueprint for success in the industry.


Author James O’Connell – Co Founder The Hospitality Company