Embrace The Suck Blog

Here's Why Your Restaurant is Killing You Slowly

goal setting leadership Feb 16, 2018

It’s the same story. Next week (next month) things are going to be different! You are going to make those changes you have been endlessly talking about. You make a declaration to the world that you are going to really do it and now you mean it. Again.

Here’s the question: why wait?

Maybe it’s not the right time? Truth is that time doesn’t wait to be convenient, it just keeps ticking away.

You need to pull a few things together first?


Like what?

This stalling excuse is just a fancy version of the “I’ll do it tomorrow” classic. The only thing is that then tomorrow gets busy (because that’s life) and you pull that classic back out and say “tomorrow”... again.

Let’s look at some of those changes many want to make and are holding back to implement:

Market More

The longer you wait to up your marketing game the harder it is to play the game. More and more new restaurants open every day and that is competition. They...

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The Number One Element Missing in Restaurant Leadership

leadership Feb 16, 2018

Wow! 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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Have You Heard This Joke?

core values leadership Feb 15, 2018

So, a core value walks into a bar. There should be a witty joke here. There isn't. The real joke is the number of restaurants and bars that don't know what their core values are. Not knowing your core values is so wrong that it should actually be criminal. Maybe, your restaurant or bar is in the same predicament of struggling with why you need to know something that seems so trivial. Sit down, we need to have a heart to heart.

Core Values Are A Beacon

If you don't have a sense of who you are as a brand, why would anyone want to work for you? If you said, "for a job". Okay, you might have that one. How about this question instead, "why would they stay with your brand?" Now, we have a topic of conversation.

Yes, most people need to work. Most people like getting a paycheck. Most also like to be around people who are like themselves. Like attracts like and your core values send that message out to the world. When you know them it is like a powerful light cutting through the night. When...

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The Real Reason Your Time Management Sucks

If you are not driving a car or have a chef knife in your hand at this very moment, then do this: look at either your watch or a clock near you. Notice the time. Now, stop time. You can't. See that is the thing about time, it never stops.

The key to understanding time management is that you don't manage time, you manage attention. You probably hear this statement quote often: Time is money.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, however, it's not. Money is money. You can always make more money. You can't create more time. Your attention is the real currency. What you focus on is where your energy goes. Energy and attention is the how the most successful people in the world get stuff done. We all have the same number of hours each day. The difference between those that get want they want in their life and their business is how they use their 24.

Secret of an Italian Economist

Vilfredo Pareto was a man that recognized a very unusual pattern in his garden. 80% of the peas were produced by...

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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...

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Results! That is What You Are Paid For!

As a restaurant coach and consultant, I get paid to produce results. Nothing is more frustrating for me then to waste valuable resources. Trust me, when you are on a week long survival exercise in Iceland and you only have food for 4 days, you appreciate the resources you have......big time.

I did a consulting project recently and the so called "director of operations" was not schooled in resource allocation. For a few hours I went along with his time wasting requests and then I reminded myself what a consultant's job is: to protect the owner's investment. Sometimes we also need to protect people from themselves. In this case the owner had no background in the foodservice industry. Let's just say he had a more medical background.

Now, I'm a big believer in "support the team you play for or play for another team". Owners also need to subscribe to the belief that "if you don't trust the people you hired to do their job, hire people you do". So I had the what I call the "consultant's...

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The Trouble with Creating Culture

culture leadership Feb 01, 2018

Look at any well landscaped garden and you will see careful planning, care, and maintenance. Those are the same elements you need to create a restaurant culture that surpasses the average.

Culture is that secret sauce that separates the good from the outstanding. Restaurants can have the same ingredients and even the same menu items. What separates them often is that one thing that is hard to copycat and that is their culture. Even famous rock bands that break up and go on to form other bands often do not find the same success they had from before. Culture is something more organic and alive. Just like that immaculate looking garden, you need to understand the planning and work that occurred to create such a masterpiece.

There are 3 key elements to cultivating culture: 


You can’t just pick plants and flowers for a garden without thinking how they are going to grow together. Some have different growth cycles. Some require more attention. Some flourish in the heat...

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Why You Need To Worry About Culture


Culture. You've heard that word before. Contrary to what some believe it's not an urban myth. Culture is the lifeblood of your restaurant and bar. It's a beacon that sends a vibe to those that like the message your culture sends out. It's like your own personal bat signal for your brand. So yes, it's a big deal.

Describe Your Culture 

Here's where we run into the problem. Culture is hard to describe because it's more of a feeling. Even now as you think about how to describe your culture, you probably struggled or searched for the right words. The part of your brain (the limbic system) that handles those messy emotions has a hard time expressing them. That part is taken over by the Neocortex, which has an easier time rationalizing what you are feeling into language.

So don't feel bad if you have a hard time describing your culture. It's common. Look at those feelings and tap into those emotions. The key to culture can be summed up in two words: core values (are you having...

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This is How to Stop Your Restaurant From Being Stuck

leadership mindset Jan 06, 2018

We tend to think of restaurants as brick and mortar objects. Restaurants are actually a living thing. Born from an idea and given life by people. Just like any living thing there is a cycle of growth and development. Your restaurant is a reflection of you. Your actions and attitude have a profound impact on your restaurant.

When things are good, you’re on top of the world. When things go bad, they tend to pull us down into the pit of despair. As human beings, we tend to let our successes define us. It’s actually in our challenges that we find our strengths. All restaurants will experience a challenge. It’s a natural ebb and flow in business. You cannot have all sunny days. It’s during the rainy days that things tend to grow.

When you find your restaurant is stuck there are a few key steps you must take:

1.    Own it. You must be aware of your current situation and honest with yourself about it. Don’t sugarcoat it or use a softener like,...

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6 Powerful Ways to Embrace Change

mindset peak performance Jan 02, 2018

Want to be at the top of your game all of the time? Then you really need to learn to embrace change. Most people are averse to change. They like to keep things the way they are; they like to stay in their comfort zone. Remember this:

Restaurant Coach Tip: If you are operating from a comfort zone, you are in the wrong business.

Great people ask questions like, “What’s next?” and “What am I getting better at?”

Here are three ideas to embrace change in your life and career, and three ways to apply those ideas…

Over my years as a chef, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of great people, both inside my company and at many other companies around the world. More than any other, one single attribute separates people in the workplace. That’s attitude.

Attitude is critical when it comes to embracing change. Great people are always looking for ways to change; to grow. As I always say, you are either getting better or getting worse: If...

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