When your restaurant is running like a world championship team everything is amazing. All the training, all the hard work, all the time fine tuning your team and brand are paying off. You’re communicating, working together for a shared vision and mission. It’s a thing of pure beauty to see a restaurant running at their potential and reaching for more. A recipe for success.
Unfortunately, most restaurants are operating on the other side of this equation. There is not a shared vision or mission. The team has formed small teams within the team and they are constantly bickering with each other. The standards have dropped, the guest now gets inconsistent food and your online reviews are hot and cold. A recipe for failure.
The common thread in this bad recipe is lack of vision and poor leadership. When things are going great it is easy to be motivated and be in love with your restaurant. Then the honeymoon phase is over and the real work begins. Sadly, most cannot deal...
You made it. You’re a leader in your restaurant. Well, that might be what your business card says or how you see yourself. The truth is often quite the opposite. We tend to think that being a leader is about the title or even tenure. Nothing is further from the reality that many people are not the leader they think they are.
There are a few elements that come along with the title of being a leader. Some are well known and a few are those intangibles that make a leader truly stand out. In the restaurant industry today there is plenty of mediocrity floating around. If you want to be a leader in your restaurant, then you must aim for outstanding.
Many leaders are really great at reading and understanding others. People skills are often seen as a trait of a leader. It’s true. You do need to be able to relate to others and inspire them to take action and grow.
The other side of the coin that many miss is self-awareness. Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu once...
Have you ever seen a bucket full of crabs?
The strange thing is that they don't put a lid on top to keep them from escaping. Why? The crabs keep each other from getting out. As soon as one gets up above the rest, another crab will grab it and pull it back down into the group.
Sadly, I see this in restaurants way too often. People who are supposed to be a "team" that constantly fight each other so no one gets ahead of them. The mentality screams, “If I can't have it, neither can you".
How can you spot the signs of a Crab Culture? Here are a few:
Marketers and behavioral psychologists spend their lives trying to get inside the mind of the consumer. There are companies that spend millions of dollars annually on research to predict trends in the market. Focus groups and surveys are being used at this very minute to understand what makes restaurant guests do what they do.
I can tell you from spending more than three decades of working with restaurants and their guests, it’s actually not that complicated to understand. There are human behavior patterns that only years of observation can illuminate. At first it’s like a puzzle that you’ve never put together before; it takes time. However, the more you put the pieces of the puzzle back together, the easier it gets.
Back in the mid-’70s, John Grinder and Richard Bandler were observing the human puzzle of verbal and behavioral patterns from prominent therapists such as Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, and famed hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, and came up with a...
Take a look at your Facebook feed and you will see a world vying for your attention. The thing is you are trying to capture the attention of your current guests and even entice new guests to come for a visit too. Kind of a conundrum, huh?
Throw on top of that TV and radio commercials, then you have messages 24/7 out there. We all want to be seen. We all want your attention. If you don't want your share of the attention out there, never fear because others will gladly take your share.
So, how do you stand out?
How do you get people to look at your restaurant?
How do you make an impact in today's crowded marketing world?
Don’t fret, below are a few tips to help your brand shine in the Digital Age!
1. Stop being boring.
It happens every day on the internet. A restaurant posts their daily special with a plea to come down today and try it. Like a little bird asking for food. The problem is there are 1000 other little birds in your market all crying for the same thing. That...
All restaurants have them. You probably have a few, too.
Having problems is actually a good thing because they signal a gap from where you currently are to where you want your restaurant to be. The thing you do not want to do is ignore them. Problems can be a gift. Ignoring them is a sure way to let them grow into a monster that can consume your business. Always better to get the monster while it is small and does not require the National Guard (a.k.a. a consultant) to be called in.
So, what problems are you facing right now?
What keeps you up at night?
Now, it doesn’t matter where your restaurant is located. The industry shares the same issues globally (I have seen this first hand as an intentional restaurant coach). The struggle to find talent, the need to dominate your marketing, and the rising costs of doing business all are common problems that many restaurants face today. What is a restaurant to do?
Understand the number one problem that is...
Your restaurant's culture is the life force of your brand. It creates energy. That energy transcends and influences your staff. That trickles down to encompass the guest experience. To those on the outside looking in, it can be either a beacon or a warning sign.
A toxic culture is a symptom of a much deeper condition: the total absence of leadership. The good news is that toxic cultures can be spotted and treated. Determining how aggressive you need to be with the treatment will depend on how bad the toxicity has spread into your brand. Like cancer, toxic cultures have one mission and that is to destroy your brand one person at a time. Just like in the fight against cancer, early detection is your best chance. So, how do you spot a toxic culture? Do you have one?
Check out these warning signs and see for yourself.
1. Poor Modeling
Most restaurant managers run on principles and techniques from the 1970's. Why? Because most are just passed along from mentor to student year after year...
You made it to the top! You are a leader in your restaurant.
Before you get too comfortable, let’s see if your leadership game is on point. Being called a leader and being a leader are at times not one and the same. With more and more restaurants opening each year the strain on the labor pool is becoming an epidemic. We struggle to fill leadership positions. Maybe the reason is because we don’t have a clear understanding of what true leadership is?
Undeclared expectations and undefined roles are usually at the forefront of this dilemma. We need to do a better job talking about what true leadership is. There are a lot of urban myths out there about what people may think is leadership. To understand what leadership is, we first must take a look at what it is not.
Here are four common myths about restaurant leadership:
Myth #1: Leadership is a title.
Truth: Leadership is not about title at all. In fact, true leadership is available to anyone. Too many people like to pull...
Do you want a better restaurant? Of course you do.
You wouldn't be reading a blog post like this if you didn't. You can have a better restaurant today.
Actually, right now.
It starts with one simple decision. Just three powerful words: raise your standards.
While it sounds simple on the surface, it’s actually a little more complicated than that. Saying you want a better restaurant and actually getting a better restaurant can be the challenge. There are a few things to get out in the open before you can make that jump to the next level.
They say that what lies between desire and results is action.
Many people think that the road to success is a fairly straight line. The reality is success is more like a winding road with peaks, valleys, a few roadblocks, detours, and an occasional sinkhole thrown in. Even Ray Kroc, the ‘founder’ of McDonald’s, was quoted as saying, “I was an overnight success all right, but 30 years is a long, long night.”
How we love clichés — especially when it comes to teamwork.
“There is no I in team.”
“Teamwork makes the dream work.”
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
These sayings and so many more are seen on coffee cups and motivational posters in restaurant offices everywhere. We have preached teamwork so much that the idea of teamwork has become diluted. We have poisoned our own restaurants by talking a good game that on the surface sounds wonderful. What we end up with in reality is far from the uplifting quote floating around the employee bulletin board or mentioned during pre-shift.
We have become cynical and weary when other talk about teamwork as if it is the proverbial “boy who cried wolf.” While we want teamwork, it has become elusive and hard to find in today’s restaurants. Sure, it’s easy to blame the younger generation and say they don’t know what teamwork is all about. That is an...
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