Keep it simple . . .

Rube Goldberg DrawingThe best businesses control themselves, keep things simple, stay on track, and do not allow themselves to be overwhelmed, overloaded, or confused.  Their guests and customers are exposed to an ever-increasing daily barrage of messages daily from a million different points in the world.  In order to engage people, it’s smart to understand that there is beauty in simplicity.

That’s not to say that complexity does not sometimes work, as I was reminded when I spoke recently with the Dallas Business Journal’s Ghianda Becerril for her article Boston’s Restaurant & Sport Bar is for families, sport fans alike.

The interesting thing about Boston’s is that they operate two concepts under one roof: a family restaurant and a sports bar. They are a powerhouse in their native Canada and they are working to gain a foothold here.  Their calculation is that a better average unit volume (AUV) can be built with two concepts under one roof.  But let’s face it,  there is certainly a family dining customer who does not want their kids around a sports bar — even if it’s on the other side of a wall.  And I guarantee you there are sport bar fans who may feel a little intimidated about displaying their love of sports and alcohol in a building with kids. If Boston’s could generate the same AUV with one concept,  I’ll bet they would.

A week after I was interviewed for this article I talked about this with a high school team at the Texas State Pro Start Finals where I judged Critical Thinking in the management competition.  One of the teams had invented a concept with a restaurant downstairs, and a live music venue upstairs.  I suggested they read the article, and visit Boston’s to learn how much extra work there is in multi concept.  (Note:  My suggestion was not for them to visit the sports bar side.  We are dealing with high school students here.)

Every time you add complexity to your business it is important to understand and consider what the true benefits are. The lesson  is not to avoid complexity completely, but to recognize it for what it is, and that it’s only worthwhile when it’s paying off.  I love a complex model as much as the next guy — people who know me may say even more so.  Some people even remember when I was part of the first multi-concept nightclub in Texas back in the 80s. It had three concepts under one roof!  But these days  experience has taught me. I am wary of making things more and more complicated in pursuit of a simple goal.