Too Much Right Brain Running Your Restaurant?

leadership mindset Feb 12, 2018

If you ask bartender or chef what part of the job they love the most, and 9 out of 10 times it's creating new menu items. That artist side that many say is related to the right side of the brain. The right brain and left brain debate has been around for sometime.

Pop culture plays it up with quizzes on social media that will tell you which side of your brain is dominant that you can share with you friends. It's all fun and games until cries out, bullshit.

The Myth

Yes, it's fun to say you are creative or analytical and use that as an excuse why you don't excel at those other things you don't like doing. All very convenient and also it's what's holding you back.

The brain is divided into two hemispheres the right and the left. Certain parts of the brain do handle certain tasks. However, your brain flips back and forth so fast between hemispheres that you would never notice.

It's easy to place blame on external circumstances. Easy to say, "That's just the way I am." Easy is for losers. It's not that you are that way, it's that you choose to act that way. Remember that talent and natural skill might get you to the top. It's behavior and character that keep you there.

So, let's stop this I'm just too creative to get down to business and know the numbers.

The Problem

There are a lot of very creative bartenders and chefs in the industry. Finding people who can dream up beverage and culinary masterpieces are plentiful. The problem is there are very few that can do the others skills needed along with that.

Skills like:

- Building a team

- Training standards

- Understanding a P&L

- Running labor to a budget

- Managing food and beverage cost to budget

- Costing a recipe

- Understanding branding

These are the skills that owners really need. Sure that guest appearance on TV was awesome (the camera loves you by the way). It also might get some PR for your business and drive traffic to your establishment. If you run off all the other people who work there because you have no people skills. If you are buying ultra premium products that is used only in one drink or dish on the menu, then owners will soon see that you are costing them more than you are bring in. That's called a negative cash flow situation and eventually owners wake up. That usually results in the bartender or chef leaving due to irreconcilable artist difference.

The Solution

You are a variety of behavioral traits. Some are your strength and some, well not so much. The thing you want to do is take into consideration what Mark Cuban says, "You gotta know what you’re good at, you gotta know what you’re marginal at, and you gotta know what you suck at. You gotta find people that compliment your skills.” 

If you don't like sitting down at a computer and costing recipes, don't. Find someone on your team or hire someone to collaborate with. Just because you are not skilled at it doesn't take the accountability off of you. Knowing you cost for every recipe is a nonnegotiable in the business world. Blaming that it cuts into creativity is such a lame excuse. If you don't know how to do it, just cowboy up and admit it.

While your modern interpretation of a Manhattan truly is a taste revolution. If the business cannot make money selling it, there is a long line of up and coming "talent" waiting to take your place. Here's the thing, some of them will know how to make the numbers work to make heavenly creations and a profit.

Become More Valuable

Those at the top of their game know that learning is never out for the professional. You will need to invest time and (sometimes) money into education. Knowledge itself is not power, it is just potential. You have to apply that knowledge to yourself. Many people know what to do. The real question is do they do what they know? Don't be one of those people who walk around say, "Oh, I know that." If you cannot apply that knowledge and turn it into tangible results...it just cheap talk. 

Take a class to deepen your knowledge on bourbon, tequila, or wine. Network with people who are a level above where you are now. You don't get better playing with people at you same skill level. You get better when your skill sets are pushed beyond your current limit. That is where the growth is!

There is so much information available on the internet today that not taking time to learn is another one of those lame excuses you are clinging to. Remember that you never have time, you make time for those things that matter. Education makes you more valuable to a brand. Take an online course to improve communication skills. Buy a book. Get a mentor. Take an improv class. You are only limited by the limitation you set for yourself. Unleash your potential by dropping the bullshit excuses why you can't.

Oh, and drop the "I'm a sensitive artist" identity.  Profit is not a dirty word. With more and more restaurants and bars opening, discovering the pathway to profits is the only real solution to surviving in today's market.

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