Greetings to you all! I hope this note finds you well. It is my greatest intention that during my time as MRLA Chairman, I have the ability to serve and be a vessel of support for the thousands of Members who make up the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA). The robust network the MRLA provides is unlike any other and as I assume this new role, I realize just how much
power this community holds.
Having said that, I know that these are challenging times in an industry that is tough to staff, expensive to operate, and filled with new obstacles. In Michigan, overall sales seem to be up while profitability is down. While there is no easy solution to increase profitability across the board, there are many small things that can help which I would like to share with all of you and together, we can make a difference.
In my over 30 years of hospitality business ownership in Michigan, one thing has remained constant: relationships matter. First
and foremost are the relationships we have with our team members. They, in my eyes, are the most important relationships that we have. Teammates – or the people involved with your organization – are the foundation for your success. They are the people who make things work inside your business. I have the utmost respect for businesses that recognize the importance and value of their staff.
Relationships with our guests and customers are a close second. There are no sales to be made without a customer base, and without sales, there is nothing. The easiest sales come from regular, repeat, and happy customers. However, those relationships go beyond those who visit your establishment or make purchases regularly. I stress the importance of maintaining good relationships with your vendors and other business partners. Simply put, the interactions you have with the people who impact your business matter more than you might think.
Speaking of people who impact your business, do you have relationships with your elected officials? The mayor and council people of your community? Your state representative or senator? Please know that relationships matter here too! These are the people that make decisions and create the laws that impact our businesses, both positively and negatively. You need to know them. This year, different than any other year in the last 40, the Michigan Governor’s Office, House of Representatives and Senate are controlled by one party. Things can and will move fast. Therefore, we all must have relationships with those representatives from our communities. We need to be able to be heard, individually and collectively. I have found that most of the time your voice will, in fact, be heard. I encourage you now if you have not done so already to reach out and meet your elected officials. Most state
representatives and senators spend at least half of their time in their districts.
Here are some ways to reach out:
• Call their office in Lansing and find out where and when they will be in the district
• Attend an open house or town hall meeting in their district
• Invite them to come to your place of business (Restaurant, Hotel, or other)
• Offer to host an event or meeting for them
• Consider going to the The MRLA Capitol Day on May 10
• Send an email to introduce yourself.
Furthermore, relationships take time to build, and trust is earned, not given. So don’t wait, reach out now. Relationships matter!