Why You Miss the Biggest Hidden Opportunities in Your Restaurants

“Don’t bother to look over there; that’s all fine!”

I’ve heard that from many clients who had brought me in to address specific issues.

When I start roaming and nosing around their restaurants to find other opportunities to address, they try to shut me down – feeling I am wasting time and effort.

That is, until the yield from opportunities I find start to eclipse the challenges they originally brought me in to handle.

People tend to gravitate toward addressing problems – ignoring that things that are going well could be even better.

Or they just don’t know how much more positive the successful aspects of their business could be.

Maybe they don’t have the knowledge internally.  Maybe they lack the ability to compare their results to others. Or maybe, after looking at it for so long, they simply don’t see it anymore.

Two Examples of Hidden Breakthroughs

One restaurant group called me in to devise a plan to save a concept that was suffering from shocking drops in revenue. (We did fix that, a story for another day.)

Traveling to their location, I asked to also look at their flagship concept. “It is going great; don’t worry about that,” was my client’s directive.

I persuaded them to let me look at the flagship, and immediately uncovered a production-focused culture where managers who had outlived their freshness date were churning through guests. When we pivoted to a guest focus and re-oriented the management team, sales increased and ensuing profit rose by 50%.

Another client, proud of their unique concept, engaged me to create a platform for growth so they could grow it nationwide.

We began to do that, then they handed me the P&L.

The first alarmed words out of my mouth came quickly: “OK, let’s stop everything now and refocus.” I had immediately identified a tragic flaw in the way they handled food costs that was leading them to underprice their menu.

We corrected that issue, and the result was profits since piling up into the millions that had originally literally been just left on the table.

You Have Not Reached the Pinnacle of Your Success

Both of these groups’ owners identify as extremely successful operators who already earned more money than they had ever dreamed about when I started working with them.

I can spend all day making something weak stronger – and many days I do. But making something strong even more vigorous is significantly easier and gives the greatest return.

What do you take for granted as a success in your organization that has a huge untapped upside?

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