How to Get Rich in Foodservice (In One Easy Blog)
I was being interviewed on a radio station recently about my new bookFundamentals: 9 Ways to Be Brilliant at the Basics of Foodservice. The host of the program asked me to list three secrets to getting rich in the foodservice industry. I told him: “One, make more money than you spend, and two, never reveal all you know.”
The truth is, there are more ways to lose money than make money in this business, and there truly are no “secrets.” You either execute or you don’t. But what we often overlook is that applying the fundamentals and exerting constant daily pressure on the team to improve daily are the two most important pathways to profitability. Here are six other ways to generate wealth in your restaurant:
Teach Why Before How. The first page—yes, the first—page of your employee manual should feature a picture of a one dollar bill on it. And that dollar bill should be divided up into the costs that must be paid first in any restaurant before the owner makes a penny. If you want your team to pay attention to service or value suggestive selling they must first see why it’s important. Ifyou don’t want to make your own, visit our online store at Sullivision.com to get a “Profit on the Dollar” poster for your restaurant.
Remove the real obstacles to better service. 80% of all “service problems” are the result of a broken system, not indifferent people. If our customers routinely have inconsistent experiences in our restaurants, you most likely have a process problem, not a “service” problem. Check your hiring process, training process, or throughput process first. Most service challenges originate when a process is not followed, or breaks down, or the team is not held accountable for applying the process.
Those who plan the battle don’t battle the plan. When developing a new process, policies or procedure, always solicit team member input and ideas. Get them involved in decision-making. None of us is as smart as all of us.
Beware the Flea Dip Solution.When a dog gets fleas and you take it to the vet, you know what they do? They dip your dog into a flea bath that kills the critters. Mission accomplished? No. If your house still has fleas in the carpet, on the furniture, in the drapes–if you don’t modify the environment they return to–the dog’s just going to pick up fleas again. The same thing holds true for restaurants. Sending managers to “leadership” workshops chockablock-full of creative insight is a waste of time if they come back to a culture inundated with sarcasm and spite. Good ideas from the outside get compromised and re-infected by the “fleas” of entrenched bad attitudes. This is why so many potentially effective management ideas get reduced to sloganeering. Take a hard look at your entire KFC team. Are they open to and supportive of change? Do they continuously improve? Is there “deadwood’ that needs to be pruned? Focus on building an outstanding culture first, and that culture will build your business.
Market to your Internal Customers too. You’ve probably built a clear, compelling, and strong business case over the years for why customers should do business with them: quality, value, taste. Now it’s time for you to put similar thought and resources into why talented managers and team members should join and stay with them, too. Address talent acquisition and maintenance with the same focus and vigor you bring to customer acquisition. If caring for the customer is critical to your business plan, remember that how you treat your team members determines how they’ll treat your guests. Preach what you practice.
Meetings, books and seminars don’t change things. People change things.CFOs love to explain the foodservice industry in terms like purchase cycles, marginalism, quantitative tools, usage yield versus functionality, shareholder linkage, and vertical integration. And if that’s all you focus on day in/day out in an office, it becomes both tempting and easy to relegate the customer or employee to a line item on a P&L. But when the meetings are over and the financial reports are in, a simple fact remains: it’s still a people business. Focus more on quality, value and service and you won’t have to spend so much time worrying about the bottom line.
So are you richer now? Only with advice, but remember that “being rich” is always relative. Because the true measure of wealth is how many things you have for which you would not take money
Jim Sullivan is a popular speaker and the CEO of Sullivision.com. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivision and get his product catalog and free monthly e-newsletter and product catalog at www.sullivision.com