Monday, August 25, 2008

The Rhythm of Things:

David Allen’s book “Ready for Anything” speaks about the rhythm of things:

“The longer your horizon, the smoother your moves”

Short term thinking, putting out fires and the squeaky wheel gets the grease, are all euphuisms for failing to anticipate. There is a rhythm to things. If you view the world through the myopic lens of today problems and deal exclusively in their realm, you will stumble badly because you will not see the opportunity that lies just ahead.

If on the other hand you view situations as opportunities than the world is yours for the asking. View the world not as a set of independent unconnected events, but rather as stream of opportunities each building on the other. When faced with a situation, do not ask what should we do to correct this, rather ask what can we learn and improve so that this situation does not reoccur. View the world from the lens of interwoven long term relationships and the moves you make will be much smoother.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Morning Shadows:

Morning is my favorite time of day. The hope of every new day permeates everything. There is promise in the flowers bloom, there is urgency in the birds flight, there is gentleness in the shadows which fall westward in the morning. The shadows begin by falling westward, then to the northwest, to the north, to the northeast and finally falling eastward as the sun sets.

The play of light and shadows changes your restaurant throughout the day. How does your restaurant feel at 7am, at 12pm, at 3pm, at 6pm, at 9pm? The feeling is influenced by nothing else than the dance of light and shadows.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Positive Business Relationships:

Jerry Acuff’s “The Relationship Edge”, explores the strategies to work on relationships:

“Good relationships help us achieve abundant success in our lives

The building blocks of strong relationships are:

Believe others are important

Focus on others

Appreciate and understand people differences and their point of view

Make people feel important

Seek common ground by learning about people

Listen because you want to hear”

Restaurants are not only about food, they are about relationships. Too often someone will simply put a menu out and believe that their work is done. All the aspects of a business are fundamentally interwoven into relationships. The relationship between you and your customer, between your employees and your customers and between you and your employees, vendors, and suppliers will determine the success of the restaurant.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Get Rid of the Dollar $ign:

Sarah Schmidt’s article explores the notion of perception:

“Restaurateurs can get diners to spend more on a meal if they drop the dollar symbol from their menus, new research shows”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Until the last breath is drawn:

Tom Peter’s really simplifies commitment with his post “World's worst advice

“If you really really really really really care ... then there ain't no time to fold 'em until your last breath is drawn—and even that's too soon if you've bothered along the way to inflame others about your presumed Quixotic cause.

In the (doubtless not) immortal words of Tom Peters: "There's a time to hold 'em and a time to keep on holdin' 'em—if you really really really care."

If you believe in something never give up!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Totally committed:

Entrepreneurs even those who have had a measure of “success”, whatever that word means will forget the number one rule of warfare. “Win or Die”. Ancient cultures from the Greeks, the Chinese and the Spaniards all having traditions of landing on the opponents shores and burning the boats. Alex Blackwell’s post:

“Remove the obstacles and the excuses. Storm the shore with the attitude you will be successful. Set fire to the boat that took you there and watch as it lists in the water and then disappears.
Turn around and look forward; look ahead. Leave your fear and regret at the bottom of the water with the boat and begin moving in the direction you want to go. Surrender to no one or nothing and fully commit. You will get to where you want to go. You will be victorious, too.”

When the only other option is death, victory takes on an urgency

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Elements of Business:

Mary Ellen reminded me that elements of a business are similar to the elements of art or design.

originality of subject matter.

originality of symbolism.

expressive power

interrelation of parts.

arrangement and balance.

color sensitivity.

appropriate use of materials

technical skill

suitability of product or intended use

What are the elements of your restaurant?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The money game:

Heck it is tough in the restaurant business, however Steve Pavlina’s post reminds us that money is only a game:

Money needn’t be a stressful or worrisome part of your life if you treat the money game as a fun growth experience. If you don’t take your financial life so seriously, you can learn to enjoy the process of shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. There’s no mandate that says you must stress yourself out about money, regardless of your current financial situation.

Even though real life may seem more serious than a game of Trouble, you can still laugh in the face of defeat and enjoy the game regardless of circumstances.

Play the money game for fun and growth, including the fun and growth of the other players. Don’t stress over whether you think you’re winning or losing. The more important question is: Are you growing?

Spicy is not so spicy:

Jonah Lehrer’s post demystifies spice:

“But here's the strange part: VR1 receptors weren't designed to detect capsaicin. They bind spicy food by accident. The real purpose of VR1 receptors is the detection of heat. They are supposed to prevent us from consuming food that is too hot, in the thermal sense. (That's why our VR1 receptors are clustered in our tongue, mouth and skin.) So when they are activated by capsaicin the sensation we experience is that of excessive heat. We start to sweat and get the urge to drink lots of water. But that pain is just an illusory side-effect of our cell receptors. There is nothing "hot" about spicy food.”

So hot is hot because our senses mistake spice for heat and react to save us from ourselves.

Brian freeze is caused because the roof of the mouth gets cold which lowers the temperature of the brain, the brain interprets the temperature drop as death, the brain sends out signals which then causes the heart to pump all available blood to the brain, which causes brain freeze. That is the hot, spicy and cold of it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Add on revenue:

The most horrific customer non centric concept on the planet is add on revenue. I do not advocate violence, however whoever came up with this concept should be drawn, quartered and summarily executed. Customers remember only the add on revenue feature of your product or service. How is that a positive? How does paying $15 for pillow on a plane enhance the experience in any fashion? How does paying $.50 for a cup of ice improve the guest experience? I have never heard some one say, “hey I did not get ice with my drink, shouldn’t I be charged less than someone who did?” I have heard billions of people complain that they were charged an add on fee for this or that.

Your business is experiencing slower revenue generation, guess what your customer is experiencing slower income generation, decreasing net wealth, and increasing energy and food prices. In addition to their escalating cost of living your business is now charging for things that you used to give the customer for free. How does that create customer advocacy?

What is up with that?

Why are Americans drinking less? Steven Reinberg’s post about drinking habits;

Americans are drinking less alcohol, with middle-aged people consuming about one-third less than 50 years ago, researchers report.

Overall, Americans are drinking less beer, but more wine, while consumption of hard liquor has remained fairly constant. Also, more people say they don't drink, and those born later in the 20th century are more moderate drinkers than their parents.

"It looks like moderate drinking has been increasing, heavy drinking is down a little bit, and total alcohol consumption is down a little bit,"

No wonder people think they have lost their mojo, they are drinking less.

Team Selling:

Keith Ferrazzi’s post about team selling offers enabling ideas to help weather the storm.

One of the best ways to keep morale high is being able to look around and know that you're dealing with the tough times as a team. You don't have to weather the storm alone.

The most successful way to weather any storm is to focus the team into urgency mode. Instead of everyone defending their particular silos (think FOH, BOH, admin) everyone pitches in for the good and the survival of the team

Friday, August 8, 2008

Coffee Contradictions:

Jane E. Brody’s NY Times article on coffee outlines the vast array of conflicting data on America’s most popular brew.

“Probably the most important effects of caffeine are its ability to enhance mood and mental and physical performance. At consumption levels up to 200 milligrams (the amount in about 16 ounces of ordinary brewed coffee), consumers report an improved sense of well-being, happiness, energy, alertness and sociability,”

Coffee is life in many ways.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bigger and More Expensive:

Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin have written Yes! One of the strategies that they discuss is “Superior product increase sales of next tier product”.

A 22oz steak on the menu actually increases the sales of the 16oz steak. Having a bottle of Dom Perignon on your wine list increases the sales of Vive Cliquot.

Business Decisions:

When a football team trades a star quarterback who has put in seventeen years as a workhorse for a team or a business decides to settle a case rather than endure the cost of a trial in which they will be victorious, those decisions are based on what will be good for the business. Business decisions are difficult because in many instances they violate what might be viewed as the current standard of morals. Some one who has been loyal to you should be expect some degree of loyalty back. If your cause is true why should you give money (x) to some one just so you minimize the net cost of legal action to the business (y). In a lawsuit even if you win, you will need to pay for your attorneys. The people suing you generally have minimal assets, you will not be able to recover the costs of litigation from them.

So the business decision is made that (y) will cost the business more than (x) so we do (x). At the end of the business day #(1) Revenue – business expenses – (x) = net profit or #(2) Revenue – business expenses – (y) = net profit. The net profit of equation #1 is higher. Net Profit fuels the growth and continual existence of the business, not winning.
A football team is trying to build for the future however the past is tugging strongly. You can respect the past and sidetrack the future or make the tough and unpopular business decisions.

These are horrific gut wrenching decisions, however they are decisions you as an entrepreneur signed up for. Quoting Mario Puzo “it is not personal, it is business”