Embrace The Suck Blog

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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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.


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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