What does it take to win the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup, or the World Cup? It takes consistency. It takes stacking one win on top of another win, on top of another win, and so on. Whoever wins consistently usually makes it to the playoffs. Then you have to stack a championship victory on the playoff victories.
Running a restaurant isn’t any different. Over 70 percent of restaurants fail within the first five years. This is a staggering number. However, you can beat the odds by focusing on consistency. To do this, you have to stack one great day of service on top of another. You have to win the execution game every day. And, when you do drop the ball, you must make sure you don’t lose two days in a row.
So, what does it take to consistently win and to stack one great service on top of another? It takes intense focus on three things: People, Processes, and Product.
You have to attract and hire the best players in the industry. This means always looking for and bringing on top talent. When the New York Yankees had a chance to get Alex Rodriguez, they didn’t say we already have Derek Jeter. They signed A Rod as well. Like in sports, we should always recruit the best talent out there and always make room for super stars.
As a restaurateur, you also have to develop your bench. The deeper level of talent on your team, the more consistent you are no matter which employee is taking care of a guest. To win in the restaurant industry, you must commit to developing your people. You must properly invest in those players on your team. Championship teams are made up of individual champions. Commit to creating champions.
You will never stack wins on wins if you and your team don’t show up every day focused on one thing: the guest experience. And just providing great service and great food and beverage isn’t enough. You have to show up looking for ways to blow every guest’s mind. This is only done when your hospitality becomes relational. Service is transactional. Hospitality is relational. You’ve got to become fixated on creating human connection with your guests.
You have to establish processes that make executing consistently at a top level achievable. In other words, you have to be able to systematize the processes so they become a natural rhythm for your people and so that your people gain muscle memory at high level execution.
Processes can help you be consistent. These processes include product selection, ordering, receiving, hiring, training, scheduling, prepping, cooking, and serving.
High level processes allow you to consistently crush it. However, processes without people are worthless. If your people don’t use the processes you put in place, then it doesn’t matter that you put great processes in place. Your people must understand why these processes are in place and have to be trained to operate with in them. Then, they must be held accountable to follow them.
Next to People, Product is just as important as Processes. Not only does the product have to be consistent, but it also must be phenomenal. Don’t add items to your menu just to offer a larger menu. It’s better to have less items but all of them are fantastic than it is to have a bigger menu. If you have filler items that aren’t fantastic, you run the risk of someone ordering an inferior item.
Consistency is more important than quantity. Also, your processes must make your product better. If they don’t, you have the wrong process. Likewise, your product can’t be great, unless your people are great. Lastly, remember that product is more than food and drink. It is also brand, ambiance, and the experience.
If you want to be great, you have to execute consistently at a very high level. You have to stack one great experience on another, on another.
To stack wins on wins, you must show up every day focused on People, who follow Processes, to create great Product.
Editor’s note: This is the 22nd article in a new column from restaurant expert Monte Silva. More on the series can be found here. The first story, on Why Underpaying Restaurant Employees is a Recipe for Disaster, is here. The second, on Why Marketing is Not Expensive, is here. The third, on people-centric leadership, is here. The fourth, on Why Working 70-Hour Weeks in Your Restaurant is Not the Answer, is here. The fifth, on How to Provide Hospitality in a High-Tech, Low-Touch World, is here. The sixth, on ‘The Convertible Culture’ in Restaurants, is here. The seventh, on Why the Old P&L Model Has Set Restaurants Up for Failure,’ is here. The eighth, on How to Scale Your Restaurant Business When There is Only One of You, is here. The ninth article, The Secret to Finding and Keeping Great Employees is Not Difficult, is here. The 10th, What Culture Do You Really Want at Your Restaurant?, is here. The 11th, on Your Restaurant Should Serve People, Not Product, is here. The 12th, on Don’t Let Shiny New Toys Distract Your Restaurant from What’s Most Important, is here. The the 13th, on Why Restaurant Value Shouldn’t Be Based on Price, is here. The 14th, on The Case for Hyper-Focused Menus, is here. The 15th, This is How Your Restaurant Will Survive Beyond 3 Years, is here. The 16th, on The Difference Between a Restaurant Coach and Consultant, is here. The 17th, What is a Restaurant Tech Stack, and How Do You Know if You Built the Right One? is here. The 18th, You Can’t Make Someone Accountable if You Haven’t Made Them Responsible, is here. The 19th, Memo to Restaurants: Service and Hospitality are Not the Same Thing, is here. The 20th, Why a Penny Saved in a Restaurant is Not Always a Penny Earned, is here. And the 21st, on Why You’re Never Too Old for Greatness, is here.