How Restaurant Company Owners Push Through Expansion Barriers, Part 2

Restaurant Company Owners Push Through Expansion Barriers Part 2If your independent restaurant company unit count has reached double digits, congratulations! You’ve reached a significant milestone.  Where do you go from here?

Maybe you’ve never owned 10 restaurants before. A whole new set of challenges and opportunities awaits. It’s imperative that you handle them — not only to continue to grow healthy new units and increase your net worth, but also to protect the performance of your current units.

Think of this as a stage of maturity. By now you ought to know who you are, you know what you like, and you know what makes your concept and organization so special.  These things are locked in.  Now you can take all the energy that used to go into wondering and exploring and refocus on action. Or to take more time enjoying life. Or both.

And, by now, like many of my clients who are self-taught operators, you have grown and imported talent that teaches you as much as you teach them.

Fortunately, all my research points towards a proven formula for handling issues that impact your multi-unit independent restaurant company’s ability to grow past this milestone.

Here are four things to focus on.

Part 2 – Four Factors to Growing Past 10 Units

  1. Branding: Your brand must be known for special and unique differentiators that make you successful. You focus on amplifying these aspects of your restaurants, marketing, recruiting, and development.
  2. Culture: Your defined culture permeates every table, every shift, every store, and every interaction between your employees. You have multiple measurement pieces in place to confirm this.
  3. Strategy: At this point you edit and fine tune your existing strategy and evaluate what works and what could be improved. Many questions that have seemingly dogged you your whole career have been answered. “Where do I locate my expansion units? What does my guest respond to? How do I retain employees? Where do I excel in my segment?”
  4. Operations: Multi-unit supervisors must have a supervisor of their own (an Operations Director or VP of Operations). So you add another layer of management — a more sophisticated, experienced, and stronger leader in whom you have tremendous faith. You also have improved accounting, marketing, and human resource systems. But you remain a restaurant company and never become an accounting, marketing, or HR company.

Even if you are aspiring to 10 or 20 units, these factors are worthy of your attention.  Next, I will be writing to you about equivalent factors for 20 units.