Restaurant Management & Operations

How Much Does it Cost to NOT Hire Top Management?

April 6, 2018

A lot! Sometimes it feels like it is easier to raise money, sign a lease, build, and open a restaurant than to find someone to run it. There is a definite shortage of talented restaurant managers — and especially general managers. If you are a … Continued

#1 Path to Restaurant Success

March 26, 2018

Listen to your guests. Last week I wrote about guests’ changing thinking on delivery and how it was out in front of many restaurateurs’ thinking. Guests accept a tradeoff — convenience vs. quality. They have realized delivered food is never as good as it is in … Continued

Four Critical Steps to Overcoming Group Think in Your Restaurant

March 9, 2018

The success of your independent restaurant company is a byproduct of your experiences and beliefs. And that’s good news, because your P&L shows above-average industry profits, your mystery shoppers give you high scores, and streams of guests come into your dining rooms every day. You … Continued

Number One Shortcut to Being an Employer of Choice

March 7, 2018

Make your restaurant brand a cause. If you are an independent restaurant company owner who wants your organization to be an “employer of choice,” raise your hand. No kidding? Everyone has their hand up! Why is that? Because “employer of choice” equals “I’m fully staffed … Continued

Most Important Characteristic of Top Management

March 5, 2018

Being a grown up. At first, that may seem obvious. You’re not hiring 14-year-olds to run operations, right? But what if the 36-, 45-, or 52-year-old you hired acts more like a 14-year-old? Or even a 5-year-old? As you read this, I bet someone is … Continued

Warning: Eliminate Sexual Harassment in Your Restaurants

February 27, 2018

We have all read about the John Besh Scandal.  Besh — famed New Orleans chef of August, Lüke, Domenica, and Shaya fame — recently stepped down from his own company after allegations were made of a culture of sexual harassment in his company. You have … Continued

4 Steps to Successfully Eradicate Sexual Harassment

February 26, 2018

Make the policies you have put in place stick. Since the national focus on this topic has intensified recently, I’ve noticed how many of my clients and friends in the industry have been talking nonstop about it. That is healthy. They are making change. Last … Continued

Don’t Waste Another Second on Hiring If You Haven’t Done This First

February 19, 2018

Onboarding. What happens after you hire a new employee is arguably more important than recruiting and training. Your people’s attitudes and behaviors are the number one reason they bond with your brand, their coworkers, and your guests. When new employees at the multi-unit independent restaurant … Continued

What Independent Restaurant Company Employees Need to Hear from Their Owners

February 13, 2018

How do you become an employer of choice? Every multi-unit independent restaurant company owner wants to be an “employer of choice.” But we all know the statistics: On paper there aren’t enough workers for the restaurant jobs we have now — much less those we … Continued

Technology One Step at a Time

September 18, 2015

I recently told a general manager at one of our client companies to get ready, “because your weekly operations meeting are going to become more data driven than ever before.” How much attention is your organization paying to data and technology these days? If yours … Continued

Accountability doesn’t happen by accident.

July 10, 2015

As an independent restaurant owner you have the luxury and power of writing your own story in a way that many people envy. To not take advantage of that looks more like a wasteful tragedy than missed opportunity. In the restaurant industry, we all know … Continued

Shoring up weak points deserves time and money.

June 18, 2015

Quick! Pop quiz! What are the weak points in your organization? Quick! Another pop quiz! What could you build to make your company stronger? It’s great to know what to do. The truth is that most people know what to do, but they don’t know … Continued

Big-Picture Thinking: Lessons learned from coaching young winners.

April 28, 2015

The next time you want to talk to your people about service levels, quality, cost management, or training, be sure to provide plenty of context. “We need to work on a friendly, caring presence at the table.” Good. ‘Because our guests are the lifeblood of … Continued

Trust, but verify.

February 20, 2015

This other day there was a meeting on my schedule, but instead of meeting with me, my colleague was meeting with the police. Our meeting had to be cancelled because the person I was going to meet was dealing with the fact that their long-time, right-hand person … Continued

Don’t just do something . . . stand there.

January 22, 2015

Management is not about doing things, it’s about growing people and leadership. If you call yourself a manager and you find yourself in the doing mode, stop. Julie Dickson, the managing director of Black Sombrero in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia recently wrote me.  That’s right … Continued

The high cost of weakness.

January 19, 2015

The best companies make strengths out of their weaknesses.   If you want to get the most from your business, you really don’t have any choice. Yesterday I was on the phone to a frankly excellent customer service department of a consumer electronics company.  The phone was … Continued

Pay Up! You can’t afford to live without ROI on compensation.

January 16, 2015

If you want to increase profits and asset value, pay your people more. We all spend a lot of time thinking about employee retention, attracting great candidates, and providing good benefits.  It’s vital to have a stable workforce that understands our culture and our systems, and … Continued

Perfect imperfection.

February 27, 2014

Our server forgot to fire our third course.  Which would normally lead to eye rolling,  dissatisfaction,  exasperation or worse. But the first two courses had been so . . . good, each plate so so well-conceived and unique to Dallas, and we had ordered so much … Continued

The best in town? Or the also-ran?

August 22, 2013

Businesses start because they’re good at something. The best businesses grow and prosper because they become good at everything.  Most business people know where their weak spots are.  The best business people do something about them. I’m reflecting on two of the restaurants I visited … Continued

From the Outside Looking In

April 18, 2013

Businesses tend to build their foundation on one thing they do really well.  The best businesses then  import  competence and develop the skills that do not come naturally to them.  Eventually they have the complete package, even though they still rely on the thing that … Continued

I’ll have the special.

October 21, 2012

People prefer to buy from people they like. We like to know a little history about a business.  We like to think we are doing business in someplace special, with special people.  The most successful businesses have great stories to tell and these stories serve … Continued

The more things change, the more things need to change.

June 27, 2012

The best operators constantly update their image, offerings and physical plant or they risk falling behind.  In a market where product changes quickly, information between customers who notice anything outdated or inferior travels even faster. Operators who fall behind eye deteriorating circumstances and think they … Continued

4 Lessons to Mistake-Proof a Restaurant Opening

May 4, 2012

I know a restaurant manager who says,“Mistakes are unacceptable. But I do offer forgiveness.” That’s certainly one way of looking at it. Not my approach. I read a book that mentioned perfection. The author said it was the denial of humanity. We are all human, but what human can afford to … Continued

Have you over-delivered today?

May 1, 2012

I had a pizza delivery at my house last week but, sadly, the Caesar salad we had ordered was missing. No big deal, we had plenty of salad in the refrigerator and were happy to have our pizza. We needed to eat quickly to get … Continued

Your Management Team: Smarter than a High Schooler?

February 9, 2012

The best management teams are balanced, cover each other’s blind spots and use their time wisely to make outstanding decisions. On February 7, I volunteered along with a group of restaurant industry professionals to staff and judge the 2012 Dallas Regional Texas ProStart Restaurant Competition.  … Continued

Speaking English at a French Bistro in Mexico.

December 23, 2011

Last week, I had the opportunity to dine at Café Des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the flagship of Chef Thierry Blouet’s empire. I didn’t realize it would also be an opportunity to witness exemplary teamwork. Chef Blouet’s award-winning restaurant offers a spirited competition for … Continued

Accentuate The Positive – How to Keep Marginal Employees From Going Bad – Restaurant Startup & Growth

November 23, 2011

How to Keep Marginal Employees From Going Bad – View Source Article (PDF Format) Restaurant Startup & Growth – November 2010 by Matthew Mabel The true test of a great manager is the number of employees they have turned around, not the terminations. You can … Continued

“Yes! It would be my pleasure to fulfill your [possibly unreasonable] request.”

November 7, 2011

The idea of building a business through great customer service is not selective. It does not discriminate, devalue customers’ opinion or take away their options. The dining survey and commentary organization, Zagat, now owned by your friends at Google, recently published “The 10 Most Controversial … Continued

One Night Only – Nightclub & Bar

September 7, 2011

One Night Only – View Source Article September 7, 2011 By: Jeffrey Yarbrough, Matthew Mabel It takes a lot of skill to be a successful professional nightclub and bar owner. It’s unlikely that you are going to be both an expert in your core profession … Continued

Pour Systems for the Real World – Nightclub & Bar

May 2, 2011

Pour Systems for the Real World – View Source Article May 2, 2011 By: Matthew Mabel – Night Club and Bar Magazine Balancing Cost Control With Staff Relations and Guest Experience Makes the Most of a Pour System You are an experienced industry professional. You … Continued

Make Your First Time Manager Read This – Restaurant Startup & Growth

April 23, 2011

Make Your First Time Manager Read This – View Source Article (PDF Format) Restaurant Startup & Growth – April, 2011 Matthew Mabel Moving into your first restaurant management position can be a daunting transition. And if it’s at one of the top restaurants in your … Continued

How to Conduct an Effective Weekly Operations Meeting –

April 23, 2010

How to Conduct an Effective Weekly Operations Meeting – View Source Article (PDF Format) By Matthew Mabel The weekly operational meeting is an absolute information and innovation machine – the most valuable time for your restaurant in the whole week. It is a time devoted … Continued