What if I told you there were five things you needed to focus on as the visionary of your restaurant? Only five things for a lifetime of restaurant success!
Actually, “focus” is not fair, it’s not the right word. While there are only five so they are so crucially important that “master” is a better word. The contents below might be thought of as common sense, but knowledge without action does not equal results.
All success leaves clues, and so does struggle and failure. Over the past 20 years of working in, operating, consulting and coaching restaurants around the world, I would have to be a real dummy to have not picked up on factors that have made certain restaurants wildly successful and the factors that have contributed to the struggle or eventual demise of others.
I will refer to them as Mandates because these are not optional or areas that one should dabble in. These are the written in stone commandments that will help you reach your goals or if ignored, turn your dreams into a nightmare.
While there is no particular order and I must stress the importance of mastering each of these areas, I place leadership first because without true leadership, no restaurant can survive the bumps. To understand what I mean by Visionary, I want to share a few definitions with you…
A leader is a person who has a vision with the drive, commitment, and resolution to achieve that vision, in addition to the necessary skills! Whereas a manager is a person who is responsible for controlling or administering, all or part of a company, persons, event, department or project day-to-day, task-by-task.
If you are the owner of a restaurant, chances are you’re NOT spending enough time with the Visionary or Leadership Hat on. I understand that you can feel stuck in management, if that you then get in touch with people who can help you get that stuff under control so you can spend more time in Leadership…it’s a MUST.
I LOVE systems because like a train on a track that does not get to decide where it goes, when systems are in place, your restaurant will follow the tracks to your destination.
Systems are black and white, right or wrong, there is no ambiguity with systems. Your staff will love them (trust me they want systems, you think they don’t, they think they don’t, but they do). Plus, I don’t believe people can be managed. I believe there are many different forms of management theory and frame works to “manage your employees” but in actuality every person is different, and if you are trying to manage them, then you will never have time to lead them. So let the systems manage your staff, hire managers to manage the systems, so you can work on the business instead of working in it.
Excellence has nothing to do with price point or what you are serving. Excellence is simply a commitment to being the best at everything you do. If you are a fast casual restaurant with a budget conscience customer, then be committed to giving them the best food you can afford, for what they are paying. Offer them the friendliest service in the cleanest environment.
Excellence is about trying to get their food out 5 seconds faster every day, while maintaining or even improving the quality. Please do not confuse excellence with a specific measure of quality against anything other than yourself and your direct competition.
If you are interested in watching a video that goes into much more detail on these 5 mandates, then please click here.
Service needs to come from the heart. It is not something you fake; you have to want to serve. But service doesn’t just mean delivering food to your guest, service is so much more.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Gandhi
Service is about being generous with your time, with your heart and wanting to help. Help your young employees grow into responsible adults or developing your veterans into better positions. Its about giving when you don’t always want to, but your family, customers, and co-workers need you to. Service is a mindset that you can never turn off.
Without distinction, you will never pull away from the pack in a meaningful enough way to make the living you deserve. Distinction can be demonstrated not only in the food served or how it is prepared, but in the ambiance of the restaurant, price points, location, advertising, marketing, branding, décor or about a 1,000 other ways. But, many of you just don’t do a good enough job letting your community know how distinct you actually are. You allow yourself to become a commodity, instantly devaluing your efforts.
Do you really care what brand of potatoes you use or what gas station you visit when your tank is empty? Those are examples of commodities; they have no value other than price.
I work with restaurants all the time that tell me they can’t raise prices or they coupon and even consider lowering prices to attract more business. Stop valuing your restaurant on price alone and spend time educating your customer about what makes you different and what makes you better.
There are lots of coaches, experts, and authors who will teach you theories or strategies and make claims about easy to implement strategies that will get you overnight results. If that is what you are looking for, these five mandates are NOT for you, these are for people looking to dig in deep and do the work in each category to achieve a Lifetime of Restaurant Success.
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- The 5 Mandates for a Lifetime of Restaurant Success - December 29, 2015