Embrace The Suck Blog

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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7 Things Your Service Team Might Be Screwing Up

There are some things you just never forget. Your first kiss, your first car, an amazing movie and horrible service. Great service can sometimes be an elusive creature, much like Bigfoot. Incredible service not only is comprised of the mechanical aspects like serving from the left and clearing from the right, it also contains the human element. That's called hospitality. When you combine the mechanical and human together it creates that synergy that today's guests have come to expect.

Here's the real secret to amazing service… It has to be constantly managed and monitored. I'm a big believer that incredible service teams are orchestrated and guided like a well-choreographed ballet.

I eat out to restaurants around 260 times a year. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly. When you dine out that much you tend to see patterns in behavior. At this point, I can read the team dynamics much like Neo can read the matrix.

Here's my short list of the 7 things your service team...

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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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The Price of Fear in Your Restaurant

mindset peak performance Dec 24, 2017

“I am running out of fuel. I’m not going to make it.”, the pilot of a small single engine aircraft said over the radio.

My first duty station as a Pararescuemen was with the 67th ARRS (Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Service) in Woodbridge RAF in the United Kingdom. We routinely flew up to Keflavik, Iceland to support our unit stationed there. Normally the flight up is pretty quiet and uneventful. Not this time.

A small plane was en route to Iceland and the pilot flying alone had run short on fuel. He was going to have to ditch the plane and land in the North Atlantic Ocean. Landing in rough open waters is a challenge in itself. Landing in water that is so cold that hypothermia will set in within minutes is the real threat.  When you first go into extremely cold water you go into what is called cold shock response. People start to hyperventilate immediately. For one to three minutes you breathe very fast and deep, uncontrollably. If you can’t swim or...

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What's Your Kryptonite? The 3 Biggest Elements Holding You Back

Anyone familiar with comic books knows that Superman’s weakness was kryptonite. Throughout history, mankind has faced great adversaries that test who we are. It’s when we face those demons and take the challenge to tackle them head on that we find our true strength.

This industry is bittersweet at times. It can be extremely rewarding and it can just as quickly chew you up and spit you out. Some might think that working in the industry is a roller coaster love affair. You really do have to love it to get through the low days. In the end, it truly is a reflection of the phrase "what you sow you’ll reap."

Entry into management is a special passage all to itself. For some it is an honor to become a manager. For others, it’s a curse. 81% of new managers say they did not receive the proper training before making the jump over to management. That is truly a sad fact. To think that people are put into a position of influence and receive very little training is...

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The 80/20 Restaurant

I've received quite a few emails from managers asking about the Pareto Principle, and the ways that it can be applied to their restaurant. I’ve touched on it before with regards to where profits come from on your menu, but I’ll give a quick refresher. Here we go….

THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

The Pareto principle is named after an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto. Way back in 1906, he discovered that 80% of Italy’s land was only owned by 20% of the population. Soon after, he observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden were producing 80% of his peas. After conducting surveys of several other countries, he found that his 80/20 observation actually held up.

This concept has since gone on to show itself applicable to all manner of situations (and was named after Pareto after the fact).

Wikipedia defines it like this: for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Which works well enough for me. Another name for this idea is...

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Will the Real Leader PLEASE Stand Up

Manager.

Leader.

These are words thrown around our industry as if they are one and the same. Let's be clear that they are not. Actually not even close. One works on push and the other pull.

Don't misunderstand, there are times you need to push people to get things done, and for that being in the role of manager would be appropriate. However, if you want to break free from the cult of average and really take your restaurant to the highest level, then the real leader must stand up. Leaders pull people forward by being the example. By being a positive example. You can't sit on the sidelines and bark orders; leadership requires being out front. At its basic level, leaders lead the vision, while managers manage the shift.

How do you step up to be the leader? Here are five steps you can take to get you going in the right direction.

1.     Your Emotions Induce Emotions in Others.

You must understand that your restaurant is a reflection of you as the leader. You know...

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5 Things That Are Killing Your Restaurant From Growing

There is a strange duality of restaurants. The restaurant industry can be extremely fulfilling and rewarding. There are times when you will be over the top and never question why you choose this path.

The restaurant industry can also be relentless and merciless at times. There are times when you will feel like the weight of it all is crushing down upon you and you might even want to quit…don’t. When the weight of it seems heavy, then it’s time to examine the five keys areas that could be causing this pressure and how to break free from it.

1.    Your Social Media Marketing

Social media is here to stay and you’ll need to embrace that and use it to keep your brand top of mind. The problem with most restaurants social media is that they use it to sell. They post the same boring stuff, usually their specials. The problem is that every other restaurant in your market is posting the same thing, their specials. If you don't dare to stand out in your...

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3 Dangerous Restaurant Management Traps to Avoid

There was a post the other day on the Internet about a famous chef who is ordered by a judge to pay back over $5 million in tips they skimmed from their staff. What drives people to cheat their own staff out of money? Two simple answers. One is greed. The other is that it was easy path.

Restaurant owners and operators tend to focus on things that they know, understand, or feel they have control over. Let’s clarify for the record that control is only an illusion. And we all know that the restaurant industry is a very fluid and ever changing enigma.

Think of your restaurant like a world champion team. You recruit the best players you can. You put people in positions that play to their strengths and talent. You practice and practice for as many scenarios as possible. Then you go out every game and play all in.

Restaurants get in trouble when they go down the easy path.

Again, let’s clarify…”There is no easy path in the restaurant industry!”

Taking easy...

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