As we step into 2024, we begin to reflect on the past 6 years of business that have transpired in our brewpub down in the Historic Millwork District of Dubuque, Iowa.
We have transformed from a bloated payroll to a lean machine in terms of our operational efficiency. This isn’t to say we are perfect by any means, or that we have the answers to all the Food & Beverage industry issues that arise.
If anything, we have come to learn the hard way, through trials and tribulations, snafus and failures, and downright poor decision making moments.
We have been very close to the edge of annihilation a few times, and these scars still remind us of what can happen when we take our eye off the prize.
Find the Best Path for Success
On the flip side, we have learned to develop and invest in our systems which took blood, sweat, and tears to initiate, implement, and execute.
Many late nights and early mornings were sacrificed to build the infrastructure which has enabled us to grow at the rate we have seen these past few years.
We are not a corporate company with deep resources where you step into a more refined plug and play model of business. As nice as that would be, we are still a local business at the day’s end, and our commitment to service and the local community is what keeps us aligned with our evolution within this industry.
In a polarized world, we aim to remain in the middle to keep from getting crushed.
We started with 4 very creative founders and have since migrated to more refined managerial administration whose main focus is to drive efficiency and productivity within a reasonable level of meritocracy.
Always being relaxed and chill typically doesn't fare well with profits; and contrary, being only driven by profits can lead to a pretty toxic culture devoid of personal feelings. I tend to observe that corporate America leans into one side and small business the other.
It was our goal to find the harmony of both of these perspectives, and ultimately what we have seen to be the driving force in our success.
How We Are Growing as a Business
One goal we have come to achieve, one that we are very proud of, is that of being well-rounded. I have seen many sharp businesses who lack diversification and rely solely on their golden goose, albeit a certain beer style, or iconic food item, or perhaps their entertainment offerings.
We have put forth a lot of effort to diversify our food and beverage selections to optimize variety without sacrificing quality. This requires constant re-evaluation of menu items, costing, recipe creation, menu engineering, etc.
There is a lot of backend work required to remain consistent in this approach, which is why most restaurants don’t do it and guess. It is also why a lot of places struggle to remain profitable and continue to feel like a hamster spinning a wheel, expending so much energy but not really moving the financial needle to stay healthy in this game of labor.
Keeping our Identity
In retrospect, we have truly advanced our operations to the next level that outside of determining what is marketable within a controversial economy, we feel confident stepping into other avenues of food and beverage.
We keep an open mind to what opportunities we may find on the road ahead, while never forgetting the grit and pain of obstacles overcome in our past. It is the balance of the past and future that keeps our minds sharp in the present moment as we step into the next phase of our journey: 7 Hills 2.0