How to Use Your Superpowers to Solve Recurring Restaurant Problems 

Part of our DNA can also become a dilemma. 

In the dining room, we have the superpower of peripheral vision: a hyper-awareness when a guest is in peril. 

At Brinker International, they call it “GWAP” (guest with a problem).

Over time, we learn how to correct the problem without that guest – or the team members who remain responsible for making that guest happy – interpreting our sense of urgency as punitive or panicked. 

But when restaurant company owners and their senior management teams don’t have the same proactive sense of urgency about correcting the systems, policies, procedures, or attitudes that cause GWAP in the first place, that’s a bigger issue. 

Have you ever gone on a business trip and foolishly forgotten your laptop at home? If so, which do you think is the better solution – constantly calling your partner to ask them to look something up or just arranging to get your laptop delivered to you? 

How to Increase Results

What’s missing is getting the best results for guests, employees, owners, and the communities they serve. 

Teaching this, and selecting and designing those initiatives, defines a lot of what I do to make successful companies more successful.

We use my system of strategy , planning, coaching, teaching, and accountability.  

All of a sudden, owners and multi-unit supervisors start building capability because they understand how to act and be organized.

They know what to focus on, which levers to pull, and how to make their people stronger.

They look back and become amazed how much they have changed – for the better – and how much improvement they see in their dining rooms, their P&Ls, and their own reduced stress levels. 

Proper Urgency Is Soothing, Not Painful

Urgency does not have to equate to stress. If you know me well, you know I like to operate in a low-stress environment.

Urgency looks more like the comfort of setting an aggressive but attainable plan and moving forward through implementation.

The result?  Increased revenue, profit, guest count, employee and ownership happiness.

  • Training and education improves, employee retention increases. 
  • Managers understand how to spend time to create results.
  • Gaps start to be filled.
  • Guest experience improves.
  • That new P&L becomes something to be proud of.
  • Generally, people smile more.

So, when you are in your dining room and you see that guest with the plaintive look in their eyes, sure, solve that problem, but reflect on what allowed that tragedy to happen in the first place. 

Can you point to a sense of urgency in your organization and action on the major initiatives being  undertaken? Are you launching the right initiatives? Are results coming in on time? 

This method makes restaurant companies increase profits and unit growth and lives right in my wheelhouse.

Freedom and flexibility guide for restaurateurs.

What’s the point of owning a successful restaurant business if you don’t have freedom?

Download Matthew Mabel's Freedom and Flexibility Guide for Restaurateurs to learn how to...

  • Step away for extended periods of time
  • Contribute to your community in a unique way
  • Spend more time with friends and family
  • Travel for weeks at a time
  • Split your residence at a vacation home for several months a year