Embrace The Suck Blog

The Top 10 Things Learned from Working with 1000+ Restaurants

leadership Feb 13, 2020
I keep detailed coaching notes from every client I have had over the past 11 years as The Restaurant Coach™. Some of those stories make it into my books, speaking gigs, podcasts, or just as a solid warning to new clients about what not to do! Never fear, the names have been changed to protect those that have a restaurant that sucks. 
 
Sidenote: If you just asked yourself the question, "Does my restaurant suck?"...chances are it might. Don't worry, read the rest of this post for ways to not have your restaurant suck! 
 

Working with so many diverse clients is an incredible opportunity for me to share the lessons and challenges I see in restaurants around the world. Oh, and if you think your problems are special to just apply to your restaurant, they are not. All business problems are either people problems or math problems. Get the right people to solve math problems. 

You see, it’s not that our problems are that different. It’s the...

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The 5 Things Food Vendors Don't Want You to Know

Having worked as a consultant for a large foodservice distributor for 4 years, I learned a lot about their business. A lot of stuff they don’t want you to know! My mission is to you the independent restaurant that is trying to thrive and not just survives in today’s ultra-competitive restaurant industry. It’s my duty to give you an edge that can help you run a more profitable business.

You have a major food distributor in your market that you are probably buying from. It could be Sysco, US Foods, Performance Food Group, Ben E. Keith, Shamrock Foods, Gordon FoodService or another regional brand. One thing you have to know up front is that their business is a lot like yours: uber-competitive!

They make their money as you do. Where you are one guest at a time, they make money one case at a time. Just like you, they have overhead that kicks their ass. In restaurants, it’s usually the culinary team that eats up most of your labor budget. In foodservice,...

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The Formula For a Badass Brand!

branding operations Aug 12, 2019

I recently gave an interview for Foodable TV about how to build a brand. You can create a brand that competes or one that dominates the market. The choice is yours. Follow this formula if you want to make your brand stand out in the market!

Here are the questions and my answers from that interview:

Q: Can you explain the difference between competing and dominating the market?

A: In the restaurant market today, you probably see that the waters have changed. Easy pickings of yesterday have been replaced with a steady stream of more restaurants and bars opening in your market and taking your staff and your guest. In business strategy, there is a common theory referred to as Red Ocean and Blue Ocean strategy. In the Red Ocean, the water is saturated with intense competition in the market cannibalizes itself. You’re in a category called average. And that’s the same as being referred to as a commodity. Now, out on the horizon, water is calm, clear, and blue. There is very...

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The Best Kept Secret of Restaurant Success

 

The secret can be summed up in just four words: Join a Mastermind Group!

What is a Mastermind Group?

Napoleon Hill is often credited with being the originator of Mastermind Groups, but the truth is Mastermind Groups have been around much longer.

Hill had a straightforward definition:

The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.

Ben Franklin is also famous for a Mastermind Group. In 1726, despite working from early morning to late at night in his print shop, Ben Franklin organized a meeting group called The Junto. This group met every Friday evening to debate questions of morals, politics, and natural philosophy, and to exchange knowledge of business affairs.

Two questions Franklin asked the group each week were:

“Who is thriving & why?”

and

“How might they be emulated?”

Wow! These are brilliant questions, even for today!

Look at what is working in another restaurant...

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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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