Embrace The Suck Blog

Does Your Leadership Suck or is it Just Stuck?

leadership mindset Sep 17, 2018

Here you are running your restaurant. A leader. Just living the dream...right? Maybe it’s not the dream you had. Perhaps some days it seems like a real nightmare that you can’t wake up from. What happened? How did you come to this?

It’s quite simple. You hit an obstacle you didn’t know how to navigate, you tried using the skills you had, then when it didn’t work...you stopped. You threw up your hand in the air and gave the universal signal that you had enough by saying these two fate sealing words, “Screw this.” (or something graphic along that line). It tough being a leader and if anyone said it was easy they probably tried to get you into their multi level marketing scam too.

Leadership is not easy. In fact, it’s downright a bitch!

Getting people to do things that most of the time they don’t want to do. You try to motivate them. You encourage them. You say things like “nice job” or “way to go”. Still...

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Stop It! 6 Things You Need to Quit Doing in Your Restaurant Today

Uncategorized Aug 09, 2018

The restaurant industry can at times be like a boat in the middle of the ocean. You're in clear calm waters with blue skies and then 30 minutes later the ocean turns and your boat is being tossed about by 30 foot waves and gale force winds. In the restaurant industry, some people call that the dinner rush. While there are a multitude of minute details that contribute to a successful restaurant there are also quite a few things a lot of restaurant owners need to stop doing as well. Let’s look at 6 of them.

 1. Playing the martyr.

Oh, woe is me! I work all the time! I'm so busy!

STOP IT! Hey, you're busy, I'm busy, were all busy. Human beings tend to be busy. The truth is we really should change the name from human beings to humans doing. As your restaurant and career swings into high gear, you're going to get busier. Now you can work hard or you can work smart, the choice truly is yours. 

Who you let on your team is probably one of the most import decisions you...

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The Formula for the Perfect Guest Experience

operations service Aug 07, 2018

If you were dropped off in the middle of the woods without a map and compass, your chance of making it back to civilization are pretty slim (especially if you have never been out in the wilderness). Having an accurate map and a way to know if you are going the right direction (the compass) are critical. The same goes for your restaurant. Having standards (your map) and a way to know if you are off course (feedback) are required if you want to stay in business year after year.

The best place to start you path to long term success is to have a solid Cycle of Service Plan. Here’s the thing each step is just as important as the next so don’t skip ahead to just the things you like to focus on. Remember that there are no shortcuts to success, however there is a fast track to failure.

Energy is Everything

When asked what does your restaurant sell? The majority would answer food and beverage. Not really. If it was just about food and drink people would stay home enjoy those...

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Make a Menu That Makes Money

menu design operations Aug 02, 2018

You look at your menu over and over until you feel like your stare could burn a hole in it. Hey, it looks good. Maybe even great. You decide it’s ready to be rolled out and you decide to launch. Sales jump and you get excited. Then....they seem to level off. What happened?

A fresh menu design is like buying a new car. At first, it’s the greatest thing in the world to you. After a few months, a lot of that newness has worn off. Your menu can be a similar roller coaster of emotions. Time to get your menu mojo back!

First Things First

You must know the cost of every item on your menu (that means both food and beverages—no shortcuts here). Not knowing your costs is really not knowing your business. I asked a recent audience (about 150 people) that I was speaking for what I thought was a straightforward question: “How many people in the room know the cost of the items on your menu?” I was shocked to see only 10 hands in the room rise. [Insert shaking head...

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How To Build a Badass Team in Just 90-Days

hiring leadership Jul 31, 2018

Here you are. Middle of the year and things are in either one of two conditions:

A. You are rocking it beyond your wildest expectations!

B. You are already looking forward to next year, you just need to survive until then. 

If you are in category A, congratulations—you may stop reading here because the rest isn’t going to apply to you. Now, if you are in category B, sit down because we need to have a talk.

Your successes and failures are due to your ability to gather and build a high-performance team around you. Sorry to break the bad news to you, but it’s hard to build a brand alone. You might think you can, yet here you are just spinning your wheels and hoping that next week (month, quarter, etc.) will be better. You have to catch a break, right? Well, hope is not a strategy for running a restaurant or bar. Hope is for suckers who play the lottery as a retirement plan.

So, what can you do? Allow me to bring out my soap box and give you a sermon on how to...

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How to Brainwash Your Staff

leadership mindset teamwork Jul 24, 2018

I get hundreds of email each week from frustrated restaurant owners and leaders (I hate the word manager because I feel it leads to just managing the shift and not leading the vision...sorry, I digress) asking for a way to get their team to follow directions.

My reply is always the same....you haven’t brainwashed them to your culture. Okay, maybe brainwashing is an extreme word. How about mental conditioning? Just like going to the gym, you don’t go a few times a week and then you are in world class shape. It take constant and consistent training to get to elite levels. The problem is twofold in the majority of restaurants:

1. You are not training enough.

2. You do not hold your team accountable to the standards. 

Not Training Enough

Chances are you are doing some training. Probably when a new team member starts and it last anywhere from 2-14 days depending on your training program. You train them and set them loose within your brand. Kinda like a catch and release...

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The Truth to Why Your Staff is Leaving You

leadership turnover Jul 21, 2018

The restaurant industry has never been a low turnover kind of business. In 2017 the industry turnover rate was 73%! Some fast food restaurants are even higher at around 150%! Holy crap!  Now back in 2007, the turnover rate was a whopping 80.7! So, as an industry 2017 was better. It’s just that most restaurant still suck at controlling the turnover machine.

You’ll hear catch phrases like, “the war for talent” being used quite often and the problem is that mindset. Maybe the correct phrase should be, “the war with talent”? It seems that as an industry we push people out of our business more than we do to pull them in. Here are 5 truths to why your staff is leaving you.

1. You’re not a nice person to work for.

If you describe yourself as tough, business minded, direct, no-nonsense, or a hard ass manager, let’s face it…you’re probably a jerk. You might dilute it with other words, however that’s what you are. Issue...

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3 Things Never To Say As a Restaurant Manager

We all get frustrated from time to time working in restaurants and bars. Emotions can run rampant and things can escalate fairly quickly. If you’ve been in the industry for any amount of time (a veteran) you have surely heard a few things that would make some people do a double take. I know I have.

Words have power. They can build a team or tear one apart. The sad things is that sometimes it happens so quickly that it can have a ripple effect on your brand. Once those words leave your mouth and are spoken aloud they tend to become a self fulfilling prophecy. So watch what you say to your team because it tends to become a karma boomerang!

Here are three things you should never say to your team:

1. I have to do it all myself.

Really? You have to do it all? People tend to make big claims that border on extremes. You’ve probably used a few other ones as well that fit into this category. You “always” are late or you “never” clean up your station. When...

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Do Things Suck? Fall Back in Love with Your Restaurant Now

The relationship you have with your restaurant is like all the other relationships you’ve had in your life. They all have their ups and downs. When things are good, you are walking on sunshine. No clouds in the sky. The birds are singing and there is a rainbow in every direction.

When things are bad. They can really suck. People aggravate you for breathing to loudly. You sneer at others that cross your path. Everyone seems to be out to get you and the universe is conspiring against your restaurant's survival. The clouds have moved in and constantly circle your life.

When the restaurant blues come to visit you (and if you own or run a restaurant they will), you need a plan to get out of the rut and back on track.

Just remember that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. Awareness is critical. When you see yourself in a proverbial hole...stop digging! Awareness precedes choice and choice precedes change.

Here are some of the warming signs you...

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Are You Running Your Restaurant or Is It Running You?

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...

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