Restaurants go downhill all too easily.  Sometimes they go out of style, sometimes environmental changes lead to turbulence, but most often it is the restaurant’s performance that leads to decline…and that decline leads to cost cutting, short staffing and even more decline…and it happens slowly and often times unnoticeably in the moment. Over time, it is very evident.  In combatting this, the search for continual improvement is imperative to maintaining success.    

Never Stop Learning

  • The most successful operators we come in contact with have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge
    • Applying that knowledge is what separates good from great

Your Point of View Is:

  • Subjective
  • Singular
  • Limited
  • Do you have a board to bounce ideas off of? 
    • Your leadership team, your staff, friends, colleagues, etc.
    • How much thought can one person invest vs. five people?

Stay Ahead

  • If you wait until the business levels tell you that you need to improve, you’re late to the party
  • Recovery is incredibly more difficult than improvement
  • Even at the peak of your success, something could be better or could be done better 

Rock the Boat Gently

  • Making too many changes too quickly shocks the culture
    • Leads to confusion; dissent
    • Too hard to manage
    • Not sustainable
    • One change at a time
      • When it becomes habit, move on
  • Complex changes shock the culture
    • Lead to confusion; dissent
    • Too hard to manage
    • Not sustainable

Data is Your Friend

  • Track the impact of your changes
    • POS + Excel = Just Fine
  • If you don’t use it, it’s just numbers
  • Validates feelings/concerns/ideas
  • Let’s you know to keep pushing or scrap it

Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency…but keep the soul

  • Increase speed
  • Increase ease of execution
  • Increase ease of consistency
  • Decrease guest friction
  • Never lose the soul of a process that yielded great results
    • It’s easy to lose sight of quality in the quest for efficiency – DO NOT SACRIFICE QUALITY FOR ANYTHING

Can This Stand Up to Scrutiny?

  • Is what you’re doing keeping you busy or making an impact?
  • Is the juice worth the squeeze?
  • What would your mentor say about what you are doing?
  • How does this impact your stakeholders?  Staff?  Guests? 


  • Incremental growth is just that
  • It comes in small doses, but then becomes a snowball. 
  • Shocking the culture is no good. 
  • Having to pull things back is no good. 
    • If you over-step you may have to pull back 
      • Measure twice, cut once


  • If you are not open for lunch, open on Friday and Saturday.  Add Thursday when business tells you that you need to. 
  • Or, if you are continually busy up until close, push your hours to an hour later on busy nights.


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