OK Xers, OK Millennials – Let’s Build the Strongest Restaurant Companies

Compared to where restaurateurs from my generation were when they were in their 30s and 40s, today’s restaurateurs at that age are crushing it!

When I work with them, I convince them to move with higher velocity and take advantage of all their ideas, experiences, information, and possibilities.

That contrasts with my general advice when I work with the wise veterans – where I convince them to update, adapt, innovate, and keep up.

Younger restaurateurs are able to build brands and companies because they build on the fact that, during my career, our industry became professionalized.

Instead of thinking about their next dream restaurant deal, they think about what they stand for.

They work on strategies to differentiate themselves from the competition because they know that leads to employee retention, guest frequency, growth and wealth.

How I Help Younger Restaurateurs Succeed

I don’t have to convince my Generation X and millennial restaurant clients about the need for constant improvement and looking forward.

They already understand the value of constant improvement – something I am known for talking about.

But I do help them focus because, with all the options available to them, “shiny object syndrome” often distracts them.

Many options we examine look worthwhile, but we have to be careful those shiny objects don’t lead us to a lack of follow-through and consistency.

And I do have to coach younger restaurateurs to focus on the guest, because they may get caught up on all these big ideas, all these bells and whistles, and lose track of the fact that our businesses must please people in their dining rooms.

We Proved It in a Workshop

This proved evident to me in my recently conducted Restaurant Initiative Rollout workshop.

There, I taught how to identify the most important initiative upon which everything else depends – what I always identify with a new client – to a room full of restaurant owners ranging from the relatively new to people who opened their first unit in the 1970s.

If I had conducted a scientifically validated study of different age groups with tenured professors and a research staff at a renowned university, it would not have been any clearer.

Everyone over a certain age in this group had the same key observation about the younger restaurateurs:

Generation X and millennial restaurateurs keep their high level of energy, insight, and activity on display, making everyone better.

That excites me like living in the digital age excites me – with all the possibilities, power, and tools we live with every day that did not even exist when I started.

My best clients take advantage of all that, whether millennial, Generation X, or baby boomer!

Over to you. How do you balance the natural tendencies of your generation to give your restaurants the greatest success?