Embrace The Suck Blog

One, Two, Four: Opening Multiple Locations

Congratulations—Your bar or restaurant is doing so well that opportunities to expand the business are coming at you fast.

But before you get too far ahead of yourself and sign that new lease, there are several things to take into consideration.

Running one bar or restaurant can be a challenge. When you move to two locations, you start to juggle your time, focus and tasks between the two “siblings.” Moving on to more than two can be tricky.

You need to have a few key elements in place before signing the lease on location three, four and five. Let’s take a look.

The Bench

Firstly, you’re going to need a great recruiting plan in place to fill your bench of talent. Having a successful company culture will help you attract talent, and a great training program will help your team continue to grow and engage (funny how they all work in synergy).

When businesses expand without a strong bench of talent to expand with them, they quickly realize their mistake....

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The 7 Habits of Successful Restaurants

leadership mindset Nov 11, 2018

There is inspiration all around if you choose to open your eyes and take it in.

Becoming a better leader, owner, or chef is not bestowed upon a few chosen few. There really is no such thing as a born leader. Everyone can lead if they have the deep desire to step up and take control of the wheel of their restaurant and their life. Most would rather sit in the back seat and just be a spectator but life is not a spectator sport.

Success and failure leave clues behind. If you are wise enough to take the lessons from the failures and the blessings of the successes, you have a great chance to not only reach the top but you can also stay there.

When you study restaurant success (and failure) like I do you start to see what the puzzle pieces are that make a success restaurateur. Carefully put the pieces together and you have a winning recipe to get exactly what you want in life (both professionally and personally).

There is a better way and it does not involve beating your head against...

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Stop Running Your Restaurant in the Past Lane

leadership mindset Oct 21, 2018

When you look at your venue and your life, is your attention on the right things? Are you focusing on what's in front of you instead of looking behind you at all times?

Your mind does an incredible job of playing tricks on you. Even when you know your attention should be on the present so you can achieve in the future, your mind can draw you into replaying your past on a loop.

The mistakes you’ve made can become restless spirits that haunt you day after day. They make you question everything and turn your once confident behavior into a game of second guessing.

Would have.

Could have.

Should have. 

Living your life and running your restaurant by looking back constantly is never a good strategy. When the past pulls you backwards, you lose your focus on the present and moving forward. You’re stuck in a mental time warp where you replay scenarios and try to rethink what you should have done. The problem is that staying in the past makes you a prisoner. It...

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Build a Team That Rocks!

leadership teamwork Oct 17, 2018

You have a problem that we need to address. It’s your service team. Okay—that’s not exactly accurate. The problem is you for not training your service team to dominate.

Sure, you trained them…maybe once, maybe twice. But half-ass effort yields half-ass results. Oh, and please, for the love of all that is sacred, don’t throw out the excuse that you don’t have time. You never had time to begin with.

Things get done when you make a decision and develop the self-discipline to get what you want. If your service is so-so, the effort you placed into training them was at that same energy level. Water truly does seek its own level; mediocrity is attracted to mediocrity.

Don’t think so?

How many powerful or successful people do you know who seem to be friends? Do they run in the same circles? Successful people like to associate with other successful people.

How do you get there? How can you create a service team that just dominates your market? I...

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Are You Just Burned Out or Extra Crispy?

leadership mindset Oct 07, 2018
Have you ever felt burned out? Maybe even one step beyond called extra crispy? 
 
 
I have in my past. I haven't felt it in the last 8 years even though I work harder, have more brands, and more going on than ever in my life. 
 
This next statement will cause a lot of mixed emotions. I am here to tell you that burnout is bullshit. You just have lost sight of your your burning desire. Think about what burnout really is. Your fire inside has died. Your passion has left the building. You are going to work and not becoming the work. You have accepted the reality around you as a confinement. You are focused on the negative energy around you and you have allowed that to enter your life and it has put out the fire inside you. 
 
 
Are you a victim of circumstances or do you make the circumstances? Yes, you are probably working hard. Maybe too hard. Throwing more work at a problem is often the problem. I can get more done in 5 hours than most people...
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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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