Saturday, May 31, 2008

Handling Adversity:

Bruce Weinstein has an interesting article about handling adversity.

“The best way to succeed next time, or to learn how to handle defeat better, is to find the lesson from our loss and take it to heart.

Keep on the Sunny Side of Life. How many successful people do you know who are burdened by the weight of their past failures? If you let losing get the best of you, it will be all but impossible to go forward. Allow yourself to feel angry, but accept reality, learn from the experience, don't be too hard on yourself, and move on”.

Every project does not work out. Let go however take a lesson from the experience

Friday, May 30, 2008

Burgers everywhere:

Eric Newman chronicles the rise of the burger

“A recent study by NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y., in conjunction with Datassential, Chicago, found that 7% more restaurants—across all categories—are offering burgers on the menu, compared to figures from 2006.

The study also found that burgers made up 14% of all restaurant orders in 2007. Representing about 8.5 billion burgers, per NPD, more and more Americans are bellying up to order beef.

"The burger is an American classic, right up there with mom and apple pie," Michele Schmal, vp-food service product management at NPD, said in a statement. "More restaurants are offering burgers because of the food's wide appeal. There is less risk because burgers consistently rank among the top foods ordered."

It not your fathers burger, however the humble burger is back in a big way.

Work / Life balance requires leadership:

There is an excellent interview with Stewart Friedman at Knowledge@Wharton. I urge you to read the whole interview. The following is a snippet quoting Professor Friedman:

“There's a couple of ways in which I think this approach is different. First, it starts with the notion that you can find ways of creating value, improving performance in all four domains -- what I call a four-way win: work, home, community and self -- by making intelligent choices about how you use your time and attention that don't necessarily require a trade-off.

With most of the work/life balance approaches, the conversation that is current comes from the point of view of the employee making demands on his or her employer for more freedom and more available time to do things outside of work. And that's the wrong approach.

What leaders do when they try to create change, when they aim to make sustainable change that lasts, is enlist the people around them in whatever it is they're trying to get done that's new by having those people see the benefits for them.

So in the total leadership approach, what you do is first spend some time on what I call "being real." What's most important to you? You write about that. You think about your core values, your vision of the kind of leader you want to become, the world you want to create and the legacy you want to leave. Talk about that with others to get clearer about what really matters to you.

The second piece is what I call "being whole." There you identify the performance expectations of the most important people in your life at work, at home and in the community. You list the most four or five most important people or groups. What do they expect of you? What do you expect of them?

Then you talk to those people. You prepare for, and engage in, what I call "stakeholder dialogs." Imagine having these conversations over a concentrated period of time with the most important people. This is the peak anxiety point in this process because everyone is like, "Do I really have to talk to these people about this stuff?"

In nine out of 10 occasions, what happens is that people come through that process with really new insights about how all the pieces fit together and what other people actually expect of them, because most business professionals probably have the following problem: What they believe others expect of them is actually greater than what those people really expect of them. You discover that gap when you have a good conversation.

What's the implication of that, of getting a clearer and realistic picture of what other people expect of you? And if it's true -- and believe me, it is true -- that people expect less of you than you think, you can then reallocate your time and attention more intelligently. That's what people do in the experiments, which is the third phase, the "innovative," where people take on small steps intended to produce a four-way win.

Now, to finally answer your question about what's different here in the leadership piece: When you engage in these stakeholder dialogs, you find out a lot more about what other people are interested in, what their real interests are in terms of what they need from you and what you need from them.

On the basis of knowing more about what's really important to you and what's really important to them, you can then design smart experiments that really do satisfy their interests. That makes it much more likely that when you create an experiment to produce value for them and for you, that it actually does. And it's entirely customized to you.

The last point I'll make about the work/life balance movement and its failure is the problem of "one size fits all"-ism, which is a not uncommon problem in many HR areas where, for the sake of equality, there's a standard policy that is implemented in a way that's universally applicable -- [even though] everyone's life is different and everyone needs different things in terms of how to integrate the different pieces. It's got to be customized.

So this approach is built on your assessment of what matters, who the most important people are in your life and the experiments that fit your situation”.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grilled Pizza:

Pizza is nature’s most perfect food, here is an idea from The Washington Post on how to grill it.

“The real trick is, not surprisingly, the grilling itself. Once you start a baked pie cooking, the task is all but complete, but with a grilled pizza, that's when your real work commences. I sort my technique into three parts: sear, top and cook (covered).

The initial sear of the bare dough ensures that both sides of the crust get fine grill marks. You can't just throw a topped pizza onto the grill; the top would never cook through before the bottom started to burn. So you sear one side over a hot fire: a gas grill set to high, or a charcoal grill loaded with a two-zone system of glowing embers. Once the dough starts to bubble and puff and get good grill marks, it's time to flip and top.”

Where is thy Sting?

The NY Times article about the miracle fruit that makes all things sweet.

‘You pop it in your mouth and scrape the pulp off the seed, swirl it around and hold it in your mouth for about a minute,” he said. “Then you’re ready to go.” He ushered his guests to a table piled with citrus wedges, cheeses, Brussels sprouts, mustard, vinegars, pickles, dark beers, strawberries and cheap tequila, which Mr. Aliquo promised would now taste like top-shelf Patrón.

The miracle fruit, Synsepalum dulcificum, is native to West Africa and has been known to Westerners since the 18th century. The cause of the reaction is a protein called miraculin, which binds with the taste buds and acts as a sweetness inducer when it comes in contact with acids, according to a scientist who has studied the fruit”

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coffee Tasting Parties:

Wine tasting is so 20th Century, the avante grade of the new millennium is coffee tasting. NY Times article by Hannah Wallace offers:

“Recently, Starbucks retrained baristas and introduced one-cup-at-a-time Clover brewing machines in select stores to boost quality. Still, some discerning New Yorkers would rather frequent so-called “third wave” cafes, where tattooed baristas not only know which far-flung farm grew their coffee, but also steer regulars to new arrivals in the same way a sommelier suggests a Bordeaux.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Manage your fear:

Fred LeFranc’s article in this month’s Chain Leader offers solid advice.
  • Take a good hard look at your personal, psychological, emotional and intellectual state. Don't operate out of fear. Leaders who exhibit fear are punching holes in the bottom of their boat. Your team will follow you if you provide a clear vision of where you want to steer your business.
  • Take the time to articulate your vision and plans in a brief paragraph. Memorize it and practice saying it so you can repeat it without thinking. Then go to your team and repeat it incessantly. Say it with passion and a smile, and watch them follow you.

Traffic counts are way down, you’re starting to question everything about your restaurant for the wrong reasons. Don’t operate or do anything out of fear, nothing.

Write the order down:

Clever servers will by themselves or with the urging of management attempt to take your order without writing it down. Perhaps they believe that it will be perceived as magic and they will earn a higher gratuity. If the order is delivered correctly the guest will think it is fortune not talent that prevented a mishap, if the order is delivered incorrectly the guest will be unhappy because the order would have been understood correctly if it had been written down. The situation is further exacerbated when the incorrect order arrives as the entrée. The guest whose order was incorrect has to sit and wait while others in the party are eating. The practice of not writing down the guest order and trying to remember is a policy fraught with disaster and in no way adds to the guest experience. Write the order down

Monday, May 26, 2008

I love a parade:

Today is Memorial Day, a time to remember those who gave their full measure of devotion and also to remember all who Stand Watch and keep us free! It is also a time for a parade. Today in the parade was a float for an upcoming restaurant opening. Now many restaurants support parades with in kind donations etc., however this is the first time I had ever seen a new restaurant announce its opening by participating in a parade. Great idea, builds instant rapport with your target audience, costs nothing as local parades are always looking for people to march in them and they got great exposure.

I love a parade, does your restaurant?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Trading down from restaurants:

John Mackey of Whole Foods is quoted as saying in Fast Company,

“Our extensive selection of high quality prepared foods attracts customers trading down from restaurants

If you have not visited a Whole Foods recently then please visit. When you return to your restaurant ask yourself “why should a customer not replace my offerings with those available at Whole Foods?” If you can not define any differences then close today. Save your self the agony. Whole Foods may have created the category on a large scale however there are others out there as well, Fox and Obel in Chicago comes to mind. Large supermarket chains are refocusing their selections to include more prepared foods for home consumption.

Restaurateurs need to expand the points of differentiation to survive and grow. Clearly food is not the only consideration, customer service , circus, entertainment and the fact that food always tastes better surround by others are all factors, however there is a clear challenge that restaurateurs need to answer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


The rite of passage is upon us. The air is warmer, the grass is greener, the beaches are sandier, the lake is bluer, the nights are starrier and lemonade tastes better. First light is at 5:00am. Start early, stay late, its Summer!

Trigger Events:

James Chartland’s post explains why we notice things.

“Selective perception is what makes consumers process stimuli most relevant to their needs and evaluation. And we each do this continually in a process called perceptual vigilance.

In short, we watch out for what matters most to us.

We use perception vigilance continually. We see what we want to see – usually the stimuli that relates to our lives or that reinforces our beliefs. We filter out the rest; we already have enough to deal with.

Then we experience an event that triggers a change.

Wow, Where’d All These Come From?

We never noticed these similarities before. Now we do.

They were always there. We just didn’t see them, because our selective perception filtered them out. A trigger event woke us up, changing our perception and we suddenly notice what we never saw before.

The Awakening and Your Marketing

Trigger events are important to marketing because they are opportunity. Salespeople, copywriters and marketing pros can all tap into the power of triggers.

Focus marketing on a target group who has recently experienced a trigger event, and watch what happens.

Right now, just after a trigger event, the group’s selective perception is noticing similarities. People are realizing, “Hey! That’s just like me!”

They’re paying attention. Don’t miss your chance.

Use words, images or concepts that directly relate to the trigger event of this group. It makes everything pop. If the stimuli relates to their lives just after a trigger event, these people are more likely to become customers, too.

So capture their attention while you have it. Shout out the similarities. Address their newfound perception and tap into the window of opportunity you have.

Eventually, of course, people move on.”

Triggers will get people to notice your restaurant. You have a small window of time to get noticed, get remembered and create customer advocacy because as James reminds us “people move on”.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Innovation is the key to differentiation:

Lisa Bertagnoli’s article in Chain Leader discusses the need for innovation as a survival skill:

“And that, in a nutshell, is the future of innovation: letting customers have a say in how they're marketed to, what they buy, and how they experience a brand and its menu.

“Innovating is not an option,” Wahl says. “If we're going to survive, we need to be innovative. If we're not thinking of the next thing, we won't be that unique brand.”

Differentiation is necessary for growth because value conscious customers abound. Remember though Value = Price + Quantity + Quality + Service. Value is all about how the customers feel! Before you cut your menu prices and offer so called value options, ask yourself how are you making your customers feel? How they feel has a great deal more to do with your business than the price you charge.

Sharpen those Listening Skills:

Marci Alboher’s post offers tips to sharpen those neglected listening skills.

“Do not interrupt, even if you think you’re going to forget what you want to say. If you fear you will lose a thought, carry a pad and paper and make a note so that you can come back to it. Interruption is not only rude, it can undermine everything you are trying to accomplish.”

“Do not interrupt”, that skill alone makes you a much better listener.

Operations v Innovation:

Idris Mootee's post offers a great job description for
 “maintain the balance between winning today (operations)
and winning tomorrow (innovation) plus developing talents
and building capabilities for the future.”
Pretty much sums up the gale force winds entrepreneurs sail
into constantly!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Happiness Business:

Andy Sernovitz’s session “Word of Mouth Marketing for Restaurants”
begins with Andy asking the audience to lower their expectations
and then he exceeds them by ending with Happiness.

"Restaurateur’s are in the happiness business.
There are five steps that Andy espouses to create Word of Mouth

1) Find people who will talk, amazingly these people may not be your best customers.

2) Give people a reason to talk.

3) Help spread the message.

4) Join the conversation yourself.

5) Measure and Listen"

Andy was very successful at creating happiness in his
educational session.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Limited Time Offers:

Michael Ochs of International Diary Queen commented on the success that Diary Queen has with Limited Time Offers (LTO’s). He was specifically speaking to the supply chain management and how to source the promotion without leaving huge quantities of unused products at the promotions end.

Let’s consider what attracts people to LTO’s. Scarcity is very seductive. People want something that is unique and in limited supply. They further enjoy the surprise nature of a LTO.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happenings at NRA 2008 Day 2:

A cool sunny morning in Chicago brought out the caffeine lovers. The lines at Starbucks were thirty deep at 10:00am on Level 3. Mind you there is free caffeine at several coffee, espresso and tea purveyors on the show floor. Walking by the Nayer Kazemi booth provided a Zen moment between educational sessions.

Vendor Collaboration:

Bill Yaglou moderated a session on “Protecting margins in the face of staggering food cost inflation.” The panelist all outlined how their respective organizations have drilled down information along the supply chain and shared that information with vendors. Dairy Queen inventory levels are monitored real time so that both operator and manufacturer are aware of usage and reorder needs.
Paraphrasing Bill’s closing remarks “the time of withholding information from vendors is past. The old adage of squeezing the last cent out of a vendor or customer is over. The industry is moving beyond win/lose relationship between vendor and customer, and more into a collaborative environment where survival of both is calculated into the equation.”

Happenings at NRA 2008 Day 1:

A bright sunny gorgeous May morning greeted attendees and exhibitors as the NRA 2008 opened. The best part of going to the show is getting new ideas from unexpected sources. Ask the Design Experts where reviewing blueprints. Eco friendly is the theme this year as carbon footprints are making a huge showing. Mario Batali had people standing in a long winding fast moving line to get an autograph and picture. The education sessions got show goers thinking and reassessing. The Technology Pavilion was situated at the far corner of a dizzying area of tools to open, operate and expand your enterprise. The Culinary Scene at the other end of the exhibit floor demonstrated the incredible artistry of creative individuals such as Craig Priebe making the ordinary look spectacular.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

NRA 2008 Chicago going worldwide:

The NRA 2008 is gearing up right now in Chicago. The show opens May 17.

Check out the NRA website!

Also, check out the new NRA blog

If you are at the show on Sunday 5/18/8 at 10:00am, be sure to stop by Andy Sernovitz’s session.

“Word of Mouth Marketing for Restaurants: Fill the Room Without Spending Money
Sunday, May 18, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Give your customers something to talk about! Andy Sernovitz, popular author and speaker will share 5 easy steps to get the right people talking about your business that will get you customers in the door the very next day. Create buzz for your operation that will drive sales; all without a major investment!”

Here is the link to the whole list.

See you at the show!

Chicago is no longer Foie Gras Free:

The Chicago Tribune reports, the City Council in its infinite wisdom has repealed the ban they enacted on sales of Foie Gras. There were unconfirmed discussions however that a ban on inhumane harvesting of wheat and corn has been sent to committee. It is a valuable civics lesson to known that the elected representatives are conducting the people businesses.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stormy Seas:

Every organization must be prepared to abandon everything it does to survive in the future." ~ Peter Drucker

Bob Prosen’s post emphasizes the skill set of leadership during turbulent times.

“it's particularly important during times of uncertainty to simplify your plan and focus on execution. This means having a small set of quantifiable objectives and timelines to facilitate accountability throughout the organization. But that alone is not enough. You must also lead knowing that people are your most important asset and to that end, you want to always be certain employees know you are committed to their success and will do what it takes to help them win.”

Kipling’s words about steadfastness in the face of adversity:

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you”

Execution is the primal variable in success. Many restaurateurs have eloquent executive summaries and business plans, yet few are able to execute those plans and strategies under any economic condition. When the economic winds turn fierce everyone looks to the leader for direction. Follow Bob’s advice, keep it simple and focus on executing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The elemental magic of surprise:

Why do some establishments succeed while others flounder? Why are some operators seemly gifted while others need to make new career choices? Why are some restaurants fun while others are void of energy?

The common denominator is surprise. The establishments that resonates energy are the ones where the guest is continually surprised. Whether the surprise is an acknowledgment of appreciation, the opportunity to add their thought to the discussion or a little unexpected trinket, the surprise is the thing.

If you want magic in your restaurant, surprise your guest.

Why are you open for Business 2?

Knowing is not enough; we must apply.

Willing is not enough; we must do. –Goethe

There is a new Indian restaurant that has opened in my neighborhood. There are several totally unimaginative 8.5x11 signs (white copy paper produced on the home computer printer advertising the hours and the availability of the buffet), scotch taped to the glass windows of the establishment. The signs are now curling from the onslaught of the sun. I have just completed a through eye exam and I was able to clearly make out the hours on Saturday were 5:00pm - 10:00pm.

Mary Ellen and I arrived at 5:01pm(CDST) because we were in the mood for an early dinner. The place look closed, however the sign clearly said Fri – Sat Hours 5:00pm – 10:00pm. We cautiously walked in and were greeted by the proprietor who gruffly told us that he opens at 5:30. He was clearly annoyed that we had the audacity to walk in. Perhaps you might want to change the sign I thought. I remembered Dale Carnegie and did not criticize, condemn or complain, as it would benefit no one. We retreated from this bastion of customer disservice and went down the street to the pizza emporium and had a fine meal.

Perhaps the new Indian restaurant is unaware that the economic stimulus went out recently and paying customers are out and about trying to get the economy moving again. If the hours posted on your restaurant says that you open at 5:00pm, Open at 5:00pm. A lie is a horrible way to begin a relationship with a customer.

Knowledge management:

“hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now” Steven Wright

The concept of knowledge management is defined as “a range of practices used by organizations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge.” Currently in your restaurant everyone should understand their function. If an employee vacated that position for whatever reason would you be able to replicate their function. All businesses grapple with this issue. Knowledge management addresses this issue by codifying as much as possible everyone’s job. Every function can be broken down into component parts and those parts can further be reduced to their simplest level. You do not need to drill down to a Higgs Boson particle however as much as possible reduce the task, write it down and have it available for easy retrieval.

The process is laborious, redundant and very time consuming. There are several advantages for instituting this process: 1) as you review processes, you discover a better more productive way, 2) the learning curve for new employees is substantially reduced, 3) the Return On Investment for instituting this process is phenomenal.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Work like a Champion Today:

The 11x17 red lettering over a white placard above the door from the kitchen to the dining room read: “Work like a Champion Today!” If you know that your performance in the arena will result in you being crowned Champion, how would you treat your customers? How would you treat your coworkers? How would you treat the tools you use in your quest?

Challenge your talent to work like a Champion Today!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why are you open for Business?

The largest hospital network in Chicago had a large gala in a brand spanking new swank hotel on the river. This was no doubt one of the first large events held at the venue. The quantity of food was not sufficient for the volume of guests. Guests commented that they could not get enough food and drinks. The event reflected badly on the hotel and the event coordinators for the hospital network.

The event planners contacted the hot shot celebrity led New York real estate / hotel group to express their displeasure and ask for a concession. Their efforts were rebuff and answered with “Your guests ate way too much food.” My question to this hotel group would be “why are you open for business?” I can not believe that this organization’s philosophy is to insult clients. Given that there was an underestimation in the quantity that was consumed, the hotel's response to blame the client’s guest is idiotic. Actually any response where the restaurateur blames the client is idiotic. There is no better way to alienate a guest than to blame them.

Someday businesses will understand that it is a ongoing relationship, not a one shot deal, did I mention that the client was the largest hospital network in the Chicago. Build out for this hotel/condo project was in the billions. The representative of this hotel has just wasted a gazillion dollars in advertising. Leaders understand that one tiny moment of truth, impacts the story the enterprise tells. Leaders need to communicate that philosophy and insure that it resonates everywhere within the organization.

An idiotic confrontation by an unimaginative member of the organization trumped any possible service recovery.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Smiles require muscles:

Take the spot the fake smile test:

“Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don't always know what others are really feeling.

Although fake smiles often look very similar to genuine smiles, they are actually slightly different, because they are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain.

Fake smiles can be performed at will, because the brain signals that create them come from the conscious part of the brain and prompt the zygomaticus major muscles in the cheeks to contract. These are the muscles that pull the corners of the mouth outwards.

Genuine smiles, on the other hand, are generated by the unconscious brain, so are automatic. When people feel pleasure, signals pass through the part of the brain that processes emotion. As well as making the mouth muscles move, the muscles that raise the cheeks – the orbicularis oculi and the pars orbitalis – also contract, making the eyes crease up, and the eyebrows dip slightly.

Lines around the eyes do sometimes appear in intense fake smiles, and the cheeks may bunch up, making it look as if the eyes are contracting and the smile is genuine. But there are a few key signs that distinguish these smiles from real ones. For example, when a smile is genuine, the eye cover fold - the fleshy part of the eye between the eyebrow and the eyelid - moves downwards and the end of the eyebrows dip slightly.”

When your guests walk into your restaurant do not fake it, the phony smile may work once however over time your guest will recognize the fake smile.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Feel their pain:

A post warns that feeling the other's pain is bad for the deal.

“At root is the concept of the "win–win" strategy, the idea that any deal can be structured in such a way where both parties walk away thinking they profited.

Crucial for a win–win is access to the other party's motivations, intentions, fears, etcetera. And the talent to know another's perspective is thought of as the ability to empathize—to stand in their shoes and feel what they feel.

But research published in the April issue of Psychological Science tells a cautionary tale. Researchers found that empathizing with your opponent can wreck the deal.

152 business students had to negotiate the purchase of an impossibly high-priced gas station. One group was asked to imagine what the seller was thinking, and the other had to get in touch with what the seller was feeling.

The scientists found that whereas the empathetic group achieved the highest level of seller satisfaction, the more calculating group secured the greatest number of deals.

So take heed: get inside the other's head, but don't get so close that you start feeling their pain, lest you appease them to make them happy, then leave the table having lost not only the deal, but emotional energy, too.”

Perhaps it is time to relearn the concepts of “The Prince” by Machiavelli and let go of all this touchy feely nonsense when negotiating? I don’t think so.

Rebirth from shuttered dreams:

The most fascinating aspect of the restaurant business is the continual rebirth from shuttered dreams. One finds the perfect location, the other realizes their miscalculation. One concept springs forth while another withers. One identifies an under-served niche, the other realizes their niche was insufficient for the viability of the enterprise. One hopes to minimize expenditure on furniture and equipment, the other hopes to maximize proceeds from the sale of their furniture and equipment. One begins to weave the tapestry of their enterprise, the other continues the unraveling of their holdings and liabilities. One is flushed with energy that builds to a crescendo, the other’s energy slowly dissipates. One finds infrastructure already in place, the other laments the burdensome cost of building out a space.

Same space, vastly different perspectives, such is the life of a restaurateur. The ceaseless cycle of birth, continuation, transformation and birth yet again.

Piece of the pie:

Barry Ritholtz points us to Amanda Cox’s NY Times interactive graph of consumer spending.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Precise pricing:

Roger Dooley's post offers more insight into the ever expanding psychology of pricing.

“So, it seems, I might have done as well selling a $499 product at $502.50 - they key thing is to avoid the dreaded round number of $500, which implies a lack of precision in pricing.

I still think there might be a slight bias toward the slightly lower number than the slightly higher number when it comes to buyer decision-making, but the researchers didn’t explore that directly.

This work should give marketers the ammunition they need to fend off requests for “simplified” pricing, though. In pre-neuromarketing days, I recall frequent admonitions that, “Nobody is fooled by a price that’s a penny cheaper - let’s keep it simple and just charge an even number.” People may not be “fooled” by the more precise price, but they may impute a higher value to the product itself.”

Pricing is an imperfect science, the perception of higher value based on a higher price is very strong.

No hidden agenda!

Spike at Brains on Fire posted marketing lessons garnered from Mud.

always be happy to see your customers. Whenever I come home, there he is – tail wagging, tongue hanging out, tap-dancing with excitement. He doesn’t know what kind of day I’ve had or if I’m in a good mood or bad. But there’s no hidden agenda. He’s ready to hang out. To listen. To just let me know that he’s there.

Restaurants need to make customers feel welcomed when they walk in.

Outlier events determines much! Richard King’s post offers this quote:

Leaders' careers will usually be determined by their handling of one or two critical events that no one could possibly anticipate or plan for.

Are you talking to me?

The first question a restaurateur should ask is “who is my customer?” After you have determined that then and only then can you design a restaurant to meet the needs of that customer.

James Chartrand’s post offer broad generalizations about generational differences.

So what values should you aim for? Here’s a look:

Silent Generation: respect for authority; conformity and adherence to the rules; law, order and duty; dedication, hard work and sacrifice.

Baby Boomers: personal gratification; personal growth, health and wellness; optimism and positive attitude; teamwork and being involved.

Generation X: diversity and global thinking; self-reliance and independence; life balance; fun and informal attitude; technologically literate.

Generation Y: confidence and achievement; sociability and collective action; diversity and morality; street-smart; optimistic and savvy.

These days, it’s not enough to slap up a nice design and some well-written content. You have to get into the heads of your buyers and learn how they think – and why they think that way. Targeting your market means intimately knowing who’s going to feel good about your business…

And who isn’t.

Knowing who is going to feel good about your restaurant is a critical element in the recipe of success.