Embrace The Suck Blog

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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This is How to Step Up and Be the Leader in Your Restaurant

Uncategorized May 01, 2018

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.

Self-Awareness

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...

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How To Spot The People That Are Killing Your Culture

culture leadership mindset Apr 25, 2018

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:

  • No accountability (they blame everyone except themselves)
  • Entitlement (You deserve it, right? You paid your dues?) 
  • Those people who think they are the "only positive people at work or who do any work" (The song from Stealers Wheel comes to mind: clowns to the left of me jokers to my right...) Passive aggressive remarks (I don't do...
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Think Like Your Guests to Improve Your Sales

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...

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How To Have Your Restaurant's Social Media Suck Less

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...

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This is Why You Have Problems in Your Restaurant

communication leadership Apr 04, 2018

Problems.

All restaurants have them. You probably have a few, too.

It’s okay.

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...

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Toxic Cultures Suck!

culture leadership Mar 31, 2018

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...

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Restaurant Leadership Urban Myths

leadership Mar 22, 2018

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...

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