Embrace The Suck Blog

What the Heck is a KPI and Why You Should Give a Sh*t

kpis leadership operations Apr 27, 2020

As competition gets tougher and profits seem to slip slowly away, you need to analyze your data more than ever.

In fact, the bars and restaurants that fail to capitalize on their data will find themselves in hot water. It’s been happening for a while—you just haven’t felt the heat yet.

It’s like the story of the frog placed in a stockpot in room temperature water—it doesn’t notice the danger it’s in. The heat is slowly turned up and it doesn’t do anything until it’s too late and he becomes frog soup.

That’s happening to your bar or restaurant right now. Profits are sliding away a small percent at a time until you wake up one day in panic mode. All this could’ve been avoided if you had your finger constantly on the financial pulse of your business.

That’s where tracking and adjusting to certain key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical to the modern restauranteur who wants to win the ever-changing...

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The Coronavirus Isn’t Your Fault, But How You Ran Your Restaurant Before Is!

The Coronavirus Pandemic is unlike anything we have ever experienced. Times like these bring out the best in some people and the worst in others (a shout out to all the toilet paper hoarders out there). Now, it’s easy to blame your restaurant closing down due to the Coronavirus. Don’t get all upset (not quite yet), because in many states it is mandatory that they shut down dine-in service and are only allowed takeout, delivery, or curbside options.

But how was your restaurant running before this crisis hit? Be honest.

  • Perhaps, not as well as it should have been?
  • Perhaps, you let a few standards slide?
  • Perhaps, you were not the leader you know deep down you could have been?

Okay, here’s the million-dollar question: Are you going to keep running your restaurant that way or are you willing to make the changes you know you must make to ensure that your restaurant thrives and not just survives?

If you said you’re ready to make the changes you know you must...

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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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RC Leadership Conference Interview with Tony Chapman

leadership operations Mar 12, 2019

I was very honored to be interviewed by Tony Chapman at the recent Restaurants Canada Leadership Conference in Toronto.

Tony is a super dynamic speaker and host across mainstream media. His knapsack is filled with thirty years of experience, as an entrepreneur whose agencies developed award winning go to market and branding strategies across all industry sectors. This combined with his curious mind to stay current, and a work ethic to create customized talks packed with actionable insights and strategies for each audience is what earns him the recommendations and reputation you will find on the internet.

Tony: With me is Donald Burns, The Restaurant Coach™, named one of The Top 50 Restaurant Experts to Follow and one of 23 Inspiring Hospitality Experts to Follow on Twitter. You have worked across the restaurant industry - including as an Executive Chef with Wolfgang Puck, a restauranteur, a consultant today to multibillion dollar company, and if that...

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Using Science to Get a Better Restaurant

My girlfriend is a badass scientist (I mean a real badass).

What lights her up is when she is talking about her passion. If you listen to passionate people talk about what they love, it’s contagious and inspiring. Great conversations get that one pound piece of grey matter sitting on top of your head fired up with ideas. Then it hit me: Newton! No, not fig newtons you food freak, Newton the scientist.

Way back in 1686, Sir Isaac Newton developed three laws of motion. The first law is often referred to as the Law of Inertia. The law states that every object will remain at rest or continue in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.

In other words, things stay the way they are unless something comes along to disrupt them. This law has the power to make us or break us. And it is at work in your restaurant (and life) all day, every day whether you are conscious of it or not.

When we kick a ball down the field, it heads in a specific...

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Your Restaurant is NOT Special

Let me share with you what I know for a fact from working with restaurants around the globe. Business problems are people problems no matter where you are in the world! On a recent trip to Bogota, Colombia where I was speaking at a conference called Expo La Barra, I had the great opportunity to meet with three different restaurant owners.

The outcomes of each one of these restaurants can be seen in restaurants everywhere. Human behavior is pretty predictable. All humans have the same range of emotions (happiness, sadness, pleasure, pain, confidence, fear, etc.). It’s those emotions that dictate how people run their business.

Let’s call this A Tale of Three Restaurants

Restaurant One - The Local Legend

This is a family owned restaurant that has been in business over 40 years. They have multiple concepts and are well known in the market. Lately their upscale Asian Sushi concept that marries together the flavors of Japan and Colombia is suffering from declining sales.

...

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Are You the One Killing Your Restaurant?

We’re all looking for the things we should be doing but what about the things you need to stop doing that are truly hurting your business?

Sabotage is subversive. It’s under the radar. It can come from your unconscious mind.

Restaurant, nightclub and bar success and failure comes down to the habits we have...both good and bad. The trick is being aware of the bad habits that aren’t serving you and taking radical action to change them.

You might think some of these are part of your personality. You know the line: It’s just who I am!”

That’s bullshit—it’s who you choose to be. Now, if these bad habits are working for you then by all means, lace up those shoes and wear ‘em.

However, if you seem to be stuck, if you don’t seem to be reaching your goals, if you seem to drive people away more than you attract them, then take note and make a commitment to make some changes.

1. Talking Smack about Others

You might say that...

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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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