Quit Repeating Mistakes

Last summer I wrote a piece on LinkedIn about the problems we often see in bars/full scale restaurants.  Over the past couple of months we have seen the same problems coming up over and over regardless of size, location or experience.  When looking into owning a restaurant, of if you currently do and you are trying to figure out where the issues are, start with these four items.

  1. Lack of Inventory Control
  2. Not tracking Tabs for Owner or Friends
  3. Under paying staff (Low labor rarely reaps rewards)
  4. Lack of systematic Operations (written down procedures)

For today’s exercise we will focus on the simple items above and how they can be fixed at an affordable cost.  When it comes to Lack of Inventory Control, it can be as simple as weighing bottles every night/shift of premiums and all inventory weekly and tracking food items.  Many times I see restaurants not following simple inventory control because they feel they can “trust” their employees or they don’t realize how much they can be losing.  Another big issue we see with smaller businesses (even franchises) is not following recipes, or even having them.


How many ounces of cheese goes on a salad, how many ounce of chicken?  Often times they’ll say 1 breast or a half; the problem lies in the lack of consistency in the product used and cooked.  Yes it takes time to work through these items the first time around, but they can save a company thousands of dollars a year (sometimes a month depending on the volume).

Not tracking tabs for owners/friends is an easy one that we see everywhere.  The reason this is important is to understand what you are taking out of the business and what its costing you to do so.  If you think your bartender is over pouring because of inventory issues but your allowing your friends to drink for free it sends the wrong message.  Not to mention, you wouldn’t allow them to come into your kitchen every day and eat for free, so why is it ok at your business?


Very rarely when we enact these simple tracking items do owners not slow down on their own intake as well as what they give away.  We teach them to exchange services with their friends.  If they want that free beer, have them bring in a work meeting or friends for dinner to help grow your sales.  If your friend gets mad they can’t stay on the free ride train, they aren’t your real friend anyways.

One of the largest and most common issue I see is underpaying staff (even wait staff).  If you want to keep your best servers we have programs that we implement to ensure the best stay working for you and happy (reach out to us).  Remember a happy staff is a motivated staff (this doesn’t mean we don’t coach, write up and fire).  If you are supporting your staff and creating incentives for them they are tied to the business and your success; this drives sales and bottom line profit.


“If doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, then how do you expect to succeed doing the same items everyone else is doing – With minimal to Zero success.”

No real System in place is seen everywhere I look, even some of the best franchises lack in a complete system to hold staff, managers and owners accountable.  This is one of our specialties; if you’re looking for the edge to maximize your success it’s time to reach out!  If you don’t have a schedule for cleaning your equipment, auditing your paperwork or a handbook to hold staff accountable you are adding work and losing time to your day.  When you have to come up with things on the fly, fix problems because there is no guideline you waste energy, time and ultimately money.  When you lack systemized operations you ultimately diminish the profits your ability to be successful.

Don’t let these four things limit your ability to succeed.  Though they may take time and energy to put in place long term they will save you time, energy and money. When a manager has to make and enforce decisions without the backing of rules and system in personalizes the decision to the employees they are managing. This leads to issues that add to a manager’s ability to operate properly; the company should set up its leaders to succeed by removing obstacles, not adding them to the daily routine.


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