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

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 better?

Essentially, both suffer from the same problem: They don’t know what to do next.

“It Should Be Better”—but How?

Owner 1 has a great business most would really want to own, started over a decade ago, now with nine locations and a popular niche.

The more Owner 1 and I talked about it, the more often they remarked, “But it could be better,” or, “It should be better.”

All this in our first-ever conversation. Never met before.

Maybe, I thought, I was experiencing a display of their personality – the “everything has room for improvement” disease that I also suffer from.

Or maybe they had identified real opportunity.  

To find out, I asked what they thought could be better and, instantly, Owner 1 rattled off a top-of-mind, comprehensive list.

“We could have better service, a higher PPA, better management, a better-looking P&L, and higher AUVs.”

”My life? So good now.  But that would open up a lot more opportunity for us.”

“I don’t know how to get there.”

So we started planning that.

Happy and Not Paying Attention

And then, on my next call, I met their polar opposite. 

Owner 2 – another admired business, with almost 20 locations, a great following, and a great achievement.

“Everything looks great,” they told me. “We don’t really have any issues. I’m happy.”

“I don’t really have to spend much time running my restaurant company.”

Another first conversation.

Once again, I thought, maybe this is Owner 2’s personality on display – someone who is completely satisfied with life.

That’s someone we can all admire. Someone who identifies that they do not have any problems.

Imagine what that would feel like!

Except I had recently been in their restaurants and saw a huge opportunity for better service, manager presence, sanitation, and clarity of brand message that would open up a lot more opportunity for this group.

They opened up and we began identifying steps to make improvements.

Taking Action as Owner 1 or 2

The work I do with my clients – making successful restaurants even more successful – often involves opening the eyes of owners.

And that’s true whether they focus on what has to happen or they feel like they don’t have a care in the world.

Solutions can be as involved as culture, talent, and process improvement or as bold as leadership change.

With almost three decades of consulting experience, the choice of which opportunities to take may be obvious to me that aren’t visible to owners toiling in their day-to-day.  

Over to you. Feeling stuck or can’t see how to improve? Commit to focus on what needs to change. Or click reply, email me, and we can talk about it.