13 Sure-Fire, Guaranteed Ways to Go Out of Business
Experience is the worst teacher. It gives the test before presenting the lesson. –Vernon Law
- Unsafe food, unsanitary conditions. Job One, every single shift, is storing, prepping and serving food safely. You can’t serve or sell anything in a closed restaurant.
- Serve hot food cold and cold foot hot. Get the food right and don’t get the basics backwards.
- Hire people dumber than you. That way you look smarter, right? Sure. Until those people start interacting with your guests.
- Inappropriate décor. I’ve been in establishments that remind me of a restaurant on the moon: great food, no atmosphere. And I’ve been in other places with interior design more over done than a hamburger patty cooked with a Saturn 5 rocket. Match the food to the feel and the milieu to the menu.
- The Customer is Always Right. Every single person on your customer-facing team knows from experience that this rule is wrong. Try this one instead: The Customer Should Always Feel Right.
- High turnover. Pay people poorly, treat them even worse, and then let ‘em loose on your customers. “The best business strategy on earth”…said no one, ever. Your crew either delivers on the brand promise or they don’t. And customers will always judge the brand based on the experiences they have with your managers and crew. Internal measure? If you need employees badly, you probably have bad employees.
- Habitual inconsistency. Subject your customers to maddening swings in quality, supervision, energy and execution every time they visit and you’ll fall quicker than a bad facelift.
- Stand for everything. If you’re the type of operator who’s so frightened of the customer “veto vote” that your menu incorporates every possible cuisine and appeals to everyone, then what do you focus being “best” at? Everything?
- Sacrifice quality for savings. Your customers will never know the difference, right? Oh, but they will. Customers will forgive us for a higher price, but never for lower quality. Cut costs, don’t cut corners.
- No focus. The devil is, indeed, in the details, and details need direction. To realize long-term goals you must manage the short term well. You can’t “lead” a P&L statement, but you can lead a shift. That happens via shared goals and energy between manager and kitchen/server teams, a topic I routinely address in these pages. Every goal has to be communicated to the people who execute on those goals, or the goals are irrelevant.
- Don’t make mistakes. The truth is that mistakes well-handled can pave the road to success. Normalize error, don’t make the same mistake twice, and make better mistakes tomorrow.
- Wait for change to stop happening. Good luck on that, but in the meantime consider this: doing things well is more important than doing new things. So continuously improve everything you do. “If you’re not getting more, better, faster than they’re getting more better, faster,” says management guru Tom Peters, “then you’re getting less better or more worse.” Cut out or email this column to your managers and determine where you could communally improve. Ideas go nowhere if they stay in your head.
Jim Sullivan is a popular speaker at foodservice conferences worldwide. His new book Fundamentals is available at Amazon or bookstores. You can get his apps, enewsletters and all of his training resources here at Sullivision.com