Restaurant Ownership

Stop Restaurant Franchising Dreams from Becoming Nightmares

December 9, 2019

Restaurateurs often contact me, thrilled they have one or two promising-looking units. In their mind they have made a fantastic leap toward having a national group of franchisees that provides them incredible mailbox money with lots of zeros they no longer have to work for. … Continued

Read More

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

November 18, 2019

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, … Continued

Read More

Why Data Fails in Verifying True Restaurant Success

November 11, 2019

If the only way you prove your restaurant’s continued success and competitive advantage comes through using data, that’s perilous.    That’s because the most important things in our industry are hard to measure: Culture Morale Guest happiness Service Sure, we have spent a lot of … Continued

Read More

Leaving Your Restaurant Comfort Zone to Achieve Success

November 4, 2019

The thing about procrastinators, commitment-phobes, and last-minute people? They don’t know what they are missing. Many of my clients – successful owners of independent restaurant companies – take more than their time in making decisions. Some of them simply hate to make decisions, because making … Continued

Read More

Three Proven Accountability Rules That Raise Restaurant Performance

October 28, 2019

Your grill cook – the person who prepares that steak exactly to temperature – has a better sense of balance on the grill than you do on accountability in your restaurant. To the visionaries who start their organizations and become the successful multi-unit independent restaurateurs … Continued

Read More

Restaurateurs: Own Today Like You’re Selling Tomorrow

October 21, 2019

Always run your restaurants like you are planning to sell them. When someone sells their house, they prepare it to appeal to buyers. They touch up chipping paint, clean stains off the hardwood floors, and plant the nicest flowers in the front yard. That cracked … Continued

Read More

Three Signs Your Restaurant Is Not Unique Enough to Stand Out

October 7, 2019

“Believe me: I’m extremely aware that I compete with everyone in my segment—and most of the people in the other segments, too!” I often hear those words from people like you: successful owners of multi-unit independent restaurant companies. They live their lives as if everyone competes with … Continued

Read More

Restaurateur’s 30 Hour Work Week Challenge

September 30, 2019

If you worked a 30-hour week, what would you do with the extra 10 or 20 hours you just gave yourself?  “Oh, I have a big list – can’t wait to be there. And I’m thinking about calling Matthew so I can be there sooner.”  … Continued

Read More

10 Ways Restaurateurs Give Themselves a Raise

September 16, 2019

When was the last time you gave yourself a raise? The one you earned for increased performance. I meet a lot of well-known restaurateurs who proudly and confidently identify their businesses as “great.” They’re so great that, at first, they don’t even know why they … Continued

Read More

Restaurateurs This is the Most Important Thing to Do on Labor Day

September 2, 2019

It’s Labor Day – the holiday dedicated to the American worker. Many people don’t think about the meaning of the day (if they ever knew it in the first place). And that’s what happens to a lot of our holidays. They morph into days of … Continued

Read More

Restaurateurs: Stop Hiding and Seek Your Greatest Restaurant Success

August 26, 2019

People think that what got them started will continue to be a foundation of their future scaled success. Those people are wrong. When you add something you did not have at the beginning – when everything was new and exciting – you create phenomenal success … Continued

Read More

The Surprising Reason Overly Dissatisfied and Overly Satisfied Restaurateurs Have the Same Problem

August 5, 2019

Are you overly dissatisfied – feeling things could be better, but not quite sure how to make them better? Or are you overly satisfied – so happy with the great life you have built for yourself that you don’t pay enough attention to making your restaurants even … Continued

Read More

Restaurant Owners – Don’t Ignore the Signpost to Your Freedom

July 29, 2019

When you reach a certain level of success, it’s OK to run that victory lap and settle in to being an owner, not an operator. One multi-unit owner I know has done this so well they consider their job “playing restaurateur.”  Be more like them. … Continued

Read More

Top Things Professional Restaurateurs Refuse to Compromise On

July 15, 2019

For successful restaurateurs, there was a grueling period at the beginning when they really did have to work all the time. The most debilitating mistake people make? They don’t even notice when that time ends, so they keep running that schedule out of habit. Life … Continued

Read More

Join Industry Leaders This Weekend in Houston

July 8, 2019

If you are anybody in our business in and around Texas, your usual mid-July habit is to head to Texas Restaurant Marketplace. That is where you’ll see new products and hear a wide range of speakers (including me) present new ideas about how to operate … Continued

Read More

How Restaurateurs Avoid the Perils of Owning the Only Company They’ve Ever Known

June 17, 2019

Sitting in the dining room of one of my clients, we tried to figure out what this super-successful business leader had in common with some of my other clients. Then it hit me – he had never worked in a company he didn’t own! I’ve … Continued

Read More

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

June 11, 2019

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 … Continued

Read More

When (and When Not to) Grow Your Restaurant Group

June 3, 2019

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 … Continued

Read More

Restaurateurs: Why Your First Day Back From Vacation is the Most Important Day of the Year

May 28, 2019

Break old habits. Start new ones. That first day back from vacation offers you an incredible opportunity to do both – to adopt new behaviors and see breakthrough ideas and initiatives you definitely want to take advantage of. If you tend to rush into a … Continued

Read More

How Top Restaurants Increase Revenue in Any Market Condition

May 20, 2019

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 … Continued

Read More

Why Top Restaurateurs Know There is No Shame in Getting Better

May 14, 2019

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 … Continued

Read More

Smart Restaurateurs’ Guide to Hiring Your First Operations Director

May 6, 2019

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 … Continued

Read More

What Subway’s Problems Teach About Dominating Your Restaurant Segment

April 22, 2019

If you are in the restaurant business, you have to pay attention to the problems (and solutions) at Subway. You can learn two gigantic things from this amazing business story. First, for those of you on the top, pay attention: When there’s innovation in your … Continued

Read More

Top 10 Actions That Make People Love Your Restaurant Brand

April 15, 2019

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 … Continued

Read More

How Restaurateurs Use Time in Their Dining Rooms to Stay Unbeatable

April 8, 2019

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, … Continued

Read More

The Wonderful Return Restaurateurs Receive from Soft Costs Related to Growth

March 18, 2019

Most of my clients are in a conscious evolution phase – having realized a portion of their growth potential when I start with them. But some – high volume single units ready to start growing – are anticipating that exciting and initially mysterious time. One … Continued

Read More

Two Essential Ways Restaurateurs Enjoy Their Time Away

March 11, 2019

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. … Continued

Read More

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

February 25, 2019

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 … Continued

Read More

The Secret to Transforming Your Restaurant Company Without Increasing Your Workload

February 11, 2019

“Just how much of my time is this going to take?” the successful owner of an independent multi-unit restaurant group asked me when we started working together. This happens often when I am about to start work transforming a business. I could see the fear … Continued

Read More

Proven Methods to Protect Yourself from Gambling on Growth

February 4, 2019

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 … Continued

Read More

The Biggest Restaurant Company Mistakes I Have Ever Seen

January 28, 2019

“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 … Continued

Read More

The Five Best Things I Told You This Year… And Why

December 31, 2018

When you use one of my many suggestions to improve your business and your life, that makes it all worthwhile to me—and extremely gratifying. If you are regular reader of this newsletter, you are appreciated! Thanks for following my work, keeping in touch, and sending … Continued

Read More

How the Best Restaurateurs Go Big and Avoid the Small Decision Trap

December 10, 2018

If you really want to make progress, grow your company, preserve your free time, and build wealth and happiness for yourself and others, pay attention to the big decisions. In Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism, one graphic I really like illustrates how one big decision can … Continued

Read More

Top Restaurateurs Know There is More to Life Than “Good”

November 26, 2018

It turns out you can have your cake and eat it, too. In fact, you owe it to yourself! My clients prove that every day, when we improve their businesses and lives. After all, there is no point in being successful if you cannot enjoy … Continued

Read More

12 Disciplines for Ultimate Restaurant Success

November 12, 2018

Do you know what a “five-tool baseball player” is? It’s someone with speed, arm strength, good fielding ability, and the ability to hit for both average and power. Put all those tools together and you have a player custom built for success. To succeed as … Continued

Read More