Welcome to the Surrender News/Blog.  Get the latest news, trends, tips and information to help you succeed and thrive in the workplace.

Meet Me in Houston and Learn Secrets to Make Your Culture Boost Profits

In the past I have proven why culture provides 100% of your profits. That’s a lot. I constantly work with my clients – successful owners of independent restaurant companies – to define their culture in a permanent way. This lets them direct the behavior of their people (i.e., everybody) who serve guests and the people … Continued

When (and When Not to) Grow Your Restaurant Group

Proof of concept. Knowing your restaurant brand has legs – that its single-unit economics can be repeated and repeated and repeated – is like that can’t-fail feeling Hillary Clinton felt the night before the election.   In the end, proof of concept doesn’t prove that success will follow, because no concept has permanent proof. That’s … Continued

How Top Restaurants Increase Revenue in Any Market Condition

Many restaurateurs sleepwalk through writing their budget every year – forecasting menu price growth, inflation, or market growth as a revenue target. The best ones choose to wake up, and do a lot better than that. Revenue can always go up – faster than you expect. Recently, a well-respected restaurant group came to me with … Continued

Why Top Restaurateurs Know There is No Shame in Getting Better

You already know about the missing pieces in your organization. You experience nagging discomfort like a pebble in your running shoe or worse, a self-critical voice that hounds you about addressing them. This will impact you especially if you have a lot of pride in what you have accomplished. Before working with me, some of … Continued

Smart Restaurateurs’ Guide to Hiring Your First Operations Director

Most of my clients guide teams in their multi-unit organizations through their next stage of growth, management development, concept development, branding, or culture. However, a few still are hands-on operators of their own restaurants. When that changes – when we improve everything by hiring the right director of operations  and I educate this new owner/operator … Continued

Top 10 Ways Restaurants Retain Managers

In over 30 years in this business I have never seen anything like it. Restaurant managers. The shortage. Last week I heard about a new restaurant that opened two months late: Everything was ready to go—but there were no managers. You Can’t Order the GM Robot on Amazon…Yet The hamburger-flipping robot may be here, but … Continued

Top 10 Actions That Make People Love Your Restaurant Brand

The smartest restaurateurs know that they are not in the restaurant business—they are in the branding business. According to the Forbes 2018 World’s Most Valuable Brands list, the top five brands are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon. However, these brands all experience a red-faced love/hate relationship with the general public. The same people swing wildly … Continued

How Restaurateurs Use Time in Their Dining Rooms to Stay Unbeatable

What do your experienced eyes see when you walk through your dining rooms? The staff fastidiously on task? Dreaded empty tables when you’re on a wait? Your trusted long-time expeditor making sure food does not sit in the window too long? Craving data and KPIs, do you jump on your phone to see how revenue … Continued

Proven Techniques for Growing and Retaining Restaurant Managers

A very talented general manager in one of my client companies looked like the frustration emoji when telling me, “Our weekly operations meetings, it is the same thing every week—it feels like Groundhog Day.” The issue? Getting together yielded no process to develop the people in attendance. Want your managers to stay, and your restaurants … Continued

Strategy Stops Random Restaurant Growth from Undermining You

So you’re not an Olympic gold medalist, a musician with 20 million streams, or a Pulitzer Prize winner? Still want to leave your mark? For successful owners of independent restaurant companies growth looks like something between a hobby and an obsession that they talk about it constantly. They obsess about it because, once they find … Continued

Two Essential Ways Restaurateurs Enjoy Their Time Away

Google the term “work life balance.”  You will get two billion results. That’s fast—and a reminder of why we need work/life balance. Forty years ago, when the term “work/life balance” began to pop up in our conversations, people lived in a telex, mainframe, and WATS line world. So, when people left work, they left work. Today, what … Continued

How Restaurateurs Stay Unstuck and Take Advantage of New Thinking

Most successful people are comfortable with at least some degree of uncertainty. They surround themselves with people who tell them things that, at first, may not even seem true. Other people, though—who have trouble keeping up with the market, the competition, and the changing desires of their guests—become stuck in their ways and fall behind. … Continued

Why Top Restaurateurs Triumph Over Fear and Run Open-Book Companies

We’re used to talking to management teams about store-level profit, restaurant profit, restaurant operation profit, or whatever term we use. You know, the number before occupancy, A&G, depreciation, and amortization. It’s what these people master, your bonus program may be based on, and something they can understand. And it is the wrong thing to do. … Continued

How Restaurants Protect Themselves from Competition by Demonstrating Value

What would happen if you asked a bunch of restaurateurs how they’d react if they consistently received feedback that menu prices were too high? First, you would see them shake their heads in frustration, roll their eyes in disbelief, and face-plant on their dining table as a gesture of heartfelt exasperation. Then you would get … Continued

Proven Methods to Protect Yourself from Gambling on Growth

My favorite time in the restaurant business is any period of growth. The future is exciting. Everything is possible. The smell of carpet glue and fresh paint is in the air. The chance to do it right from the beginning is intriguing and motivating. Common Threads of Restaurant Growth Right now I have clients growing … Continued

The Biggest Restaurant Company Mistakes I Have Ever Seen

“Can you believe my company? I bet you’ve never seen anything like it.” I hear that all the time. “We have things we have not addressed for years. We are successful, but we could be doing so much better.” After almost three decades advising owners of successful multi-unit independent restaurant companies, I don’t see much … Continued

What If An Employee Sent You This Text

What would your employees text you—the successful owner of an independent, multi-unit restaurant group—if they had the chance? Michael Lastoria, CEO and founder &pizza, gave every one of his 750 employees at his 35-units his cell number—and the open invitation to text him. You may have read about him last week in Nation’s Restaurant News … Continued

Your Dining Room: Don’t Work it Like a Car Salesman

Recently I had the pleasure of buying a new car. I did not have a choice—mine got totaled. (We are fine, by the way. No injuries.) Having no idea what I wanted, that meant interacting with lot of car dealers and a lot of car salespeople. Four strange things happened: Two salespeople I met gave … Continued

Read This – Then Change Your Entire 2019 Operating Plan

Whatever your dream is, my wish for you is that you get to live it. At work, at home, in your community. In that spirit, as we start a new year, here’s a gift from me – a free download. Fill out the box below to get my Toolkit for Creating a Dream Restaurant Business. Everyone … Continued