Embrace The Suck Blog

The One Thing All Restaurant Owners Want

Day in and day out you are dedicated to the grind. You breathe in stress and breathe out hospitality. You get knocked down one day and get back up the next. Welcome to the world of restaurants and bars. It can be a brutal lifestyle if (and it’s a very big if) you allow it to control you.

You probably can fondly remember your first job in the industry. Looking back on all that you have been through, would you offer your younger self the same path that you are on now or would you talk them into going to medical school as your parents suggested years ago?

Well, you can’t go back in time, so stop the whining and make a resolution to step up! It’s time to kiss Toto goodbye and let’s get down to business.

First off, if you are a restaurant owner, operator, or chef, you most likely want one thing: more time.

It’s understandable. When you started your restaurant, you had this dream of being the boss. You were getting away from the rat race and declared you...

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Top 5 Reasons To Attend The Restaurant Success Summit

I have spoken at and attended hundreds of conferences, expos, and seminars. While each one had some great things, none had all three elements for success. The biggest thing lacking was a strategic plan with an accountability structure.

So, I decided to create a conference that had all three: education + strategy + accountability.

Say hello to The Restaurant Success Summit™!

Why should you attend?

Here are the Top 5 Reasons you want to be there!

1. You’re tired of not getting results. Sure, you have had some breakthroughs and made some changes. It just seems like nothing sticks and your team resists and fights against changes that could make the restaurant better and make them more money. You need a support process to implement change long term. This is the first conference to incorporate education with a strategy with a mastermind group support structure.

2. You want to get off the Profit & Loss Roller Coaster. All businesses go through cycles of high and lows. You...

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Forget Rules, Develop a Code!

Rules, rules, and more rules. Do this. Don’t do that. Does it seem like you spend most of your day like a babysitter at work telling the team more of what not to do? Welcome to management by numbers.

You’ve probably seen that list of rules in your restaurant, and each one has a number next to it.

Rule number one: be here 15 ministers before your shift.

Rule number two: be dressed and ready for your shift.

And so on down the list, they go — each one just a declaration of the proper etiquette we want from the team. No explanation, just the expectation. Well, a very vague explanation and expectation.

Rules tell people the minimum standard for what you tolerate. They lack empathy and motivation. Getting people to follow the rules is a lot like herding cats, and if you have been in leadership for any time (or read my previous post), you know that is one tough job. Motivating other with rules doesn’t work. Sure, a few will comply out of fear. Which leads us to...

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Being Obsessed is the Way!

leadership mindset Mar 29, 2019

“You’re obsessed!”

If someone said that to you right now, how would you feel?

Uneasy? Pissed? Shocked? Relatively pleased?

The word obsession gets a bad rap. Granted that obsession can be destructive if taken to extremes like anything. However, when it is focused like a laser it will give your brand an edge that few can touch. Obsession is the cure for mediocrity. Obsession is the path that few will travel down. Obsession is the only way to break out of the red ocean of competition and sail into the blue ocean of market domination!

You want some obsession in your life starting today!

People will say that you need to be more focused. They will say you need to take more action. They say you need to be more consistent. Well, when you adopt the obsession mindset, all of those traits get rolled into one! Obsession is your way out of a town called Averageville (population 90% of the world). Let’s plot you a map to get you out of this Godforsaken place once and...

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5 Delusions Managers Have About Leaders

leadership mindset Mar 23, 2019

So, what is your title? Are you a manager or a leader?

Before you jump on the “I’m a leader bandwagon”, we should have a talk. You might be suffering from Leadership Delusion. It’s fairly common in this industry. We have a lot of preconceived notions about what a leader really is.

Look up the definition of what leadership is and it’s a little vague:

The action of leading a group of people or an organization.

The state or position of being a leader.

synonyms:

guidance, direction, control, management, superintendence, supervision

That being said it seems that leadership is classified as a noun, when in reality it should be a verb.

Leadership is an act.

It’s action.

It’s responsibility.

It’s accountability.

True leadership is not what you do, it’s who you are.

Let’s take a few to look at some of the common misconceptions that most managers have about leadership:

 1. Saying You’re a Leader Makes You a...

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7 Ways to Creatively Staff Your Restaurant

hiring leadership Mar 23, 2019

How has this year treated you and your restaurant? How has your quest to find staff been?

If you are like the majority of restaurants, it’s been a big challenge. Here’s the bad news, it’ll probably will not get much better in the coming year.

But don’t get all sad about it just yet. There are some innovative and creative ways to get new staff to come to your restaurant.

You’re going to need to have an open mind and a commitment to taking action to see these ideas through. That’s the keyword to finding staff...action. Most talk a good game about attracting staff, but only a few actually follow through.

This is good news for the restaurant that is willing to make recruiting a priority. While others sit back and accept the labor market as being a challenge, innovative restaurants see this as a time to stand out. As Shakespeare so eloquently put it, “nothing is neither good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” There is as much of a labor...

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Time to Get Some! Core Values That Is...

What is going on with you? Seriously. Why haven’t you started taking action on those big goals for this year yet?

  • Still waiting for a couple of key elements to fall into place?
  • The position of the moon not favorable for this grand venture?
  • You need to hire that one person who will allow you the time? 

Here are four words to write down: bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit

You say you want a lot of new and big changes to happen and then there you are stuck on the big hamster wheel of life running as fast as you can every single day...and getting nowhere.

Would you like to stop that? Since I can’t see your face, I’m going to go out on a limb and imagine you’re nodding your head yes.

To get this journey started, you’ll need to go back to a step many forget in their quest for a budding restaurant and bar empire...you gotta know what you stand for. Oh yes, we’re talking about that main ingredient to all culture recipes: Core Values.

...

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RC Leadership Conference Interview with Tony Chapman

leadership operations Mar 12, 2019

I was very honored to be interviewed by Tony Chapman at the recent Restaurants Canada Leadership Conference in Toronto.

Tony is a super dynamic speaker and host across mainstream media. His knapsack is filled with thirty years of experience, as an entrepreneur whose agencies developed award winning go to market and branding strategies across all industry sectors. This combined with his curious mind to stay current, and a work ethic to create customized talks packed with actionable insights and strategies for each audience is what earns him the recommendations and reputation you will find on the internet.

Tony: With me is Donald Burns, The Restaurant Coach™, named one of The Top 50 Restaurant Experts to Follow and one of 23 Inspiring Hospitality Experts to Follow on Twitter. You have worked across the restaurant industry - including as an Executive Chef with Wolfgang Puck, a restauranteur, a consultant today to multibillion dollar company, and if that...

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Using Science to Get a Better Restaurant

My girlfriend is a badass scientist (I mean a real badass). What lights her up is when she is talking about her passion. If you listen to passionate people talk about what they love, it’s contagious and inspiring. Great conversations get that one pound piece of grey matter sitting on top of your head fired up with ideas. Then it hit me: Newton! No, not fig newtons you food freak, Newton the scientist.

Way back in 1686, Sir Isaac Newton developed three laws of motion. The first law is often referred to as the Law of Inertia. The law states that every object will remain at rest or continue in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.

In other words, things stay the way they are unless something comes along to disrupt them. This law has the power to make us or break us. And it is at work in your restaurant (and life) all day, every day whether you are conscious of it or not.

When we kick a ball down the field, it heads in a specific...

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Reignite the Fire Inside You

leadership mindset Feb 07, 2019
We have all had times when we question ourselves. Especially if you work in the restaurant industry. Some call it burnout. Some call it a sign to get out. Actually, it’s more like you have been disconnected with your driving force that sustains you. That force is still there, it’s just taking a nap. 

This rant is not to talk you out of being in the restaurant business. What we’re going to talk about is why you love this business so much and how to awaken that fire deep down inside. 
 


Quitting is easy. It’s easy to say, “I’m just not right for the industry.” That’s the coward’s way out. Chances are if you are reading this, you truly love the chaos and intensity of this roller coaster business and now you just have to realize why once again. 

You Are Fueled by People

We are drawn to the restaurant industry because we get energy around other people. You probably have this magnetic...
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