The Wonderful Return Restaurateurs Receive from Soft Costs Related to Growth

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 of these clients has committed to taking on long-anticipated growth.

They are doing things the right way.

This reminds me that, since I started out over three decades ago, the industry has professionalized—and now we know the best methods for proceeding in every case.

Back then, we didn’t even have the term “best practices.” Now we have proven best practices.

Getting Out in Front of Growth

After my client and I collaborated on a strategy for growth, he became as patient as a Buddhist monk and waited until the absolutely right expansion site turned up.

The site? It’s not even a shell yet. But now they are getting ready to open an exciting restaurant there by the end of the year or early 2020. I can already see the line of excited guests extending out the door.

The client is in one of my famous “periods of hyperactivity” that I talk about. They’ve already;

  • Hired the new location’s General Manager so there’s enough time for the GM to learn about the concept, the culture, and the logistics of operations.
  • Started updating information and accounting systems so the operations of the enlarged company can be controlled.
  • Added a veteran trainer to the team—to retrain the current staff while simultaneously preparing to train a new crew at the expansion unit.
  • Increased management head count at the existing unit so they can train for the expansion unit.

Best Practices Exist—and the Best People Practice Them

A lot of money goes out for what we affectionately call “soft” costs.

For the owner? It’s usually eye-widening, and occasionally head scratching, for them to see the strong profit stream they have developed over many years or the money they have raised diverted to soft costs.

But it’s also comforting, because it makes them ready to succeed.

Restaurateurs who don’t get it see value only in the outgoing expenses of construction, decor, and equipment – because they connect that to the guest.

Owners who do not see the value of soft costs end up with the worst of both worlds: When they cut corners on soft costs, they let themselves (and their guests) down.

Meanwhile, the amount of money they would have spent on soft costs is instead spent (i.e.; wasted) when they experience the growing pains and steep learning curve that comes with trial and error.

Ultimately, they have to go back and do the work they could have done before growing.

Over to you. How do you step up to prepare for growth? What goes on in your period of hyperactivity?