Protect Your Investment by Taking Control of Restaurant Culture

Last week, a manager who had worked with me — back when I was operating — asked me for advice.

A 250-unit restaurant group was recruiting him to leave his current GM job with another well-known company — where, by the way, I am proud to say he has been selected GM of the year…twice.

So I assembled some good information to use to help him make his decision.

I emailed to ask him how the company had explained their culture to him. “I wasn’t very impressed,” he responded.

That’s a shame. To be successful in our industry, you cannot afford be less than impressive — whether to employees or guests.

That makes culture your most valuable asset.

Why 100% of Profit Derives from Culture

One of the successful growing independent multi-unit restaurant companies I work with was growing fast — maybe too fast.

Ownership was worried that, in their haste, they would lose their culture. Their nightmare was that they might get off a plane, go into one of their units, and not recognize the vibe, feel, and ethos that had made them successful.

They knew we had to work together to define the culture and measure its effectiveness.

Because I am committed to tying everything I do with my clients to results, I challenged them to tell me what percentage of their revenue was connected to their culture.

They responded with 30%.

Do the math. In their estimation culture was responsible for ALL of their profit. It was responsible for them being in business. The same is true for you.

Five Best Ways to Succeed Through a Strong Culture

All my research points to five components  that combine to be the most effective way to have a rich and rewarding restaurant culture and live it every day:

  1. Identify. Look around. See how your people are behaving and whether that behavior is what you want your company and brand to stand for.
  2. Aspire. Become very clear about what kind of behavior is supporting your brand — and what kind you would like to eliminate.
  3. Document.  Explain your culture in a single, short, easy-to-repeat statement. If it is too long or drawn out — or it’s an acronym with 15 characters — no one will ever be able to understand it.
  4. Roll out. Go on a campaign of education and participation to encourage the chosen behavior.
  5. Measure. Be relentless in evaluating whether your culture is being adhered to, every shift, every day, in every unit, and every time people sit down to talk to you about your business.

In today’s competitive environment your culture is a determining factor of success.  Top restaurateurs want their successes to continue and build. They pay attention to culture.