Embrace The Suck Blog

One, Two, Four: Opening Multiple Locations

Congratulations—Your bar or restaurant is doing so well that opportunities to expand the business are coming at you fast.

But before you get too far ahead of yourself and sign that new lease, there are several things to take into consideration.

Running one bar or restaurant can be a challenge. When you move to two locations, you start to juggle your time, focus and tasks between the two “siblings.” Moving on to more than two can be tricky.

You need to have a few key elements in place before signing the lease on location three, four and five. Let’s take a look.

The Bench

Firstly, you’re going to need a great recruiting plan in place to fill your bench of talent. Having a successful company culture will help you attract talent, and a great training program will help your team continue to grow and engage (funny how they all work in synergy).

When businesses expand without a strong bench of talent to expand with them, they quickly realize their mistake....

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The 7 Habits of Successful Restaurants

leadership mindset Nov 11, 2018

There is inspiration all around if you choose to open your eyes and take it in.

Becoming a better leader, owner, or chef is not bestowed upon a few chosen few. There really is no such thing as a born leader. Everyone can lead if they have the deep desire to step up and take control of the wheel of their restaurant and their life. Most would rather sit in the back seat and just be a spectator but life is not a spectator sport.

Success and failure leave clues behind. If you are wise enough to take the lessons from the failures and the blessings of the successes, you have a great chance to not only reach the top but you can also stay there.

When you study restaurant success (and failure) like I do you start to see what the puzzle pieces are that make a success restaurateur. Carefully put the pieces together and you have a winning recipe to get exactly what you want in life (both professionally and personally).

There is a better way and it does not involve beating your head against...

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Stop Running Your Restaurant in the Past Lane

leadership mindset Oct 21, 2018

When you look at your venue and your life, is your attention on the right things? Are you focusing on what's in front of you instead of looking behind you at all times?

Your mind does an incredible job of playing tricks on you. Even when you know your attention should be on the present so you can achieve in the future, your mind can draw you into replaying your past on a loop.

The mistakes you’ve made can become restless spirits that haunt you day after day. They make you question everything and turn your once confident behavior into a game of second guessing.

Would have.

Could have.

Should have. 

Living your life and running your restaurant by looking back constantly is never a good strategy. When the past pulls you backwards, you lose your focus on the present and moving forward. You’re stuck in a mental time warp where you replay scenarios and try to rethink what you should have done. The problem is that staying in the past makes you a prisoner. It...

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Burnout is Just Bullsh*t!

leadership mindset Oct 07, 2018
Have you ever felt burned out? Maybe even one step beyond called extra crispy? 
 
 
I have in my past. I haven't felt it in the last 8 years even though I work harder, have more brands, and more going on than ever in my life. 
 
This next statement will cause a lot of mixed emotions. I am here to tell you that burnout is bullshit. You just have lost sight of your your burning desire. Think about what burnout really is. Your fire inside has died. Your passion has left the building. You are going to work and not becoming the work. You have accepted the reality around you as a confinement. You are focused on the negative energy around you and you have allowed that to enter your life and it has put out the fire inside you. 
 
 
Are you a victim of circumstances or do you make the circumstances? Yes, you are probably working hard. Maybe too hard. Throwing more work at a problem is often the problem. I can get more done in 5 hours than most people...
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Does Your Leadership Suck or is it Just Stuck?

leadership mindset Sep 17, 2018

Here you are running your restaurant. A leader. Just living the dream...right? Maybe it’s not the dream you had. Perhaps some days it seems like a real nightmare that you can’t wake up from. What happened? How did you come to this?

It’s quite simple. You hit an obstacle you didn’t know how to navigate, you tried using the skills you had, then when it didn’t work...you stopped. You threw up your hand in the air and gave the universal signal that you had enough by saying these two fate sealing words, “Screw this.” (or something graphic along that line). It tough being a leader and if anyone said it was easy they probably tried to get you into their multi level marketing scam too.

Leadership is not easy. In fact, it’s downright a bitch!

Getting people to do things that most of the time they don’t want to do. You try to motivate them. You encourage them. You say things like “nice job” or “way to go”. Still...

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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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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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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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