Restaurant Rockstars Episode 387

Shifting to a Leadership Mindset in Hospitality​


I want to change your world. What I mean is, I want every restaurant to change the way they think about managing their people.

From now on I want you to stop using the word manage and manager in your restaurant and replace it with “leader” and “leadership”.  There’s a huge difference.

In this episode of the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast, I’m speaking with Jason Brooks, a leadership guru, industry speaker, author and coach.

Listen as Jason speaks about leadership inlcuding:

  • Achieving a balance between restaurant guest expectations and operator execution
  • The true definition of leadership and how it can up-level your restaurant
  • Creating an organic but authentic “company culture”
  • An effective framework for onboarding and training your restaurant team
  • Mistakes that “managers” make and how to shift to a leader approach and style
  • The keys to inspiring and motivating your restaurant team

And of course, Jason’s newly released book: “Every Leader Needs Followers”.

This topic is truly a game-changer for your restaurant, so don’t miss this episode!

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Connect with our guest:Every Leader Needs Followers - Leadership

Twitter: @2LeadNSucceed

Instagram: @2LeadNSucceed



Website Book Link:

​Welcome back to the podcast. I’m so excited to have Mr. Jason Brooks on the show. Jason and I met months ago in Orlando at the food and restaurant and pizza expo, and it was so awesome. He came up to me and we’re such like minded thinkers, and we both have a huge passion, not only for this business, but also about leadership And you’ve heard me talk about leadership quite a bit lately on the podcast, and Jason has so much to share on how to get the most from your team, how to instill accountability, and how to really just give amazing dining experiences through your team, which are the foundation of your business.

I could go on and on, but it’s all going to come out in this conversation. Also, Jason is launching a new book this month. , “Every Leader Needs Followers”, which is a really strong title, it says it all. So stay tuned to this episode. You’re not going to want to miss it.

Thank you to our sponsors and don’t miss the show notes to this week’s episode. There is a link there for the Profit Maximizer.

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So check that out. The link is in the show notes. Thanks for tuning in. Now on with the episode.

You’re tuned in to the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast. Powerful ideas to rock your restaurant. Here’s your host, Roger Beaudoin.

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Welcome back to the Restaurant Rockstars podcast. Thanks so much, audience, for tuning in. Jason, welcome to the show. Good to see you again.

Thank you, Roger. It’s been some time since we last saw each other at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show, but it is great to see you again.

Absolutely. I love speaking to crowds as do you.

I love these food shows. They’re so full of energy. Operators are out there looking to improve their business. And I believe it’s a passion of both of ours to deliver a message and to somehow transform lives, change businesses, up level thinking. And we’re going to talk a little bit about that. So yeah, it was great to meet you in Orlando and I really appreciate it.

We appreciate your kind words. You came up to me afterwards. You appreciated the presentation. We had a chat and here you are because we’re like minded. So thanks so much. Tell us where hospitality all began for you. Obviously, leadership is a big part of what you do and your message today, but hospitality is the foundation for both of us.

So tell us your career story or how far back you want to go is good with us.

Really, hospitality for me started at a very young age, and I think that is a lot of the origin stories that people tend to hear when it comes to restaurant influencers that are in this industry. But, I started cooking dinner for my family probably at around 13 or 14 years old.

And I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that I actually snuck off at the age of 15 to get my first job. Didn’t even tell my mother. Just I was working for three weeks and then one day she went to work, came back home, and there were more groceries in the kitchen than when she left. Now, we have food, okay?

But when she left and when she came back home, there was more food. She’s Jason, Where’d you get all this food from? And I’m like, Mom, I didn’t do anything crazy. I went and got a job. But that’s where actually, that it really started for me. And then from there, I’ve been a restaurant lifer. And just like yourself, I consider myself a hospitalitarian, someone that believes that no matter the industry, Hospitality is at the core of who we are and what we do.

Absolutely. Everyone has their own definition of what that word means. And it is very foundational to guest experiences, to building teams within restaurants and hospitality endeavors. What is that definition? Do you have your own definition of hospitality?

Hospitality in the many. forms that we’ve both heard it.

The one that resonates the most with me is whenever customers can come into your building and be able to keep contact with each other without that contact being broken, meaning two friends haven’t seen each other in years. They walk into the parking lot, they both pull up, they get out the cars, shake hands, hug, long time no see.

They walk into the front door, they walk up to the host stand, they are already having conversation. They pause for a brief moment because they are hosted, they are greeted by the host. They’re walking to their table, they’re still holding that conversation. They have a seat. It’s like they haven’t broken one day, but they haven’t seen each other in years.

They’re able to order their food, keep the conversation going, pay their check, walk out, and they have caught up on so much. To me, that’s hospitality. Where we fail is when those same two people pull up, they look at the parking lot, and there’s trash. And instead of a greet, They’re talking about, man, this place looks pretty dirty.

They get to the host stand, they start their conversation. There’s no one waiting there. So they keep talking, but then they have to pause. Is there anyone working at the whole stand? Then they finally get greeted by the host yada, yada. But there’s so many breaks in between what should be happening.



me is the lack

of hospitality.

Wow. You’re absolutely right. And now we’re talking about impressions and every. Restaurant Literally every business delivers hundreds of impressions while you’re on the premises. And it’s up to every member of the team that interacts with the guests. And even those in the back of house are creating impressions through the food.

But right now we’re talking about what people see and experience when they walk through the door, even in the parking lot, like you said. And it’s often so important to take a step back, train your staff to see what the guest sees and fix things, empower them to fix things before the guest sees what’s broken.

And now we’re talking about, a very foundational element of hospitality. It’s more than just the interaction with the host at the counter, which is very important. But when the host isn’t there, that’s a pet peeve for guests. It’s a, Instantly noticeable thing like, is this restaurant dialed or is this restaurant chaos?

And we can see it now. And unfortunately, we’re going to talk about, labor challenges right now, which often lead to this situation, but we’re talking about whether guests will return again. Are we leaving positive impressions the minute they pull into the parking lot or instantly are we turning them off, setting the stage for a less than wonderful experience at your property?

So I’m really glad you shared that. Let’s talk about key learnings in your career that really made a difference, that really shaped you as a person, as a hospitalitarian, if that was the word you used. Tell me about, what really made a difference, because you had numerous experiences, we all do, in careers.

You talked about that first job that you had that was foundational. Maybe mentors had something to do with this. Maybe somebody special in your life demonstrated what hospitality was and showed you the way. I don’t know, but tell us about what you learned along the way that continues to make a difference in how you approach hospitality.

That word mentors is a very magical word because there are mentors in all of our lives, and some of them are silent mentors, they don’t even realize it. Some of them are active ones, and there is actual effort, there is scheduling, there is a plan around that mentorship. Some of my silent mentors.

And that goes back to my very first corporate management restaurant job. And that was actually at O’Charles. This was back in the I think it was 06 timeframe and for this gentleman, this general manager, Mark, he was the mayor of 4, 000 square feet. He knew every single thing about every single person on his team.

He knew what made him tick. He knew what made them go the extra mile. He knew what was going to make them slow down and slow down our throughput. He knew his numbers. He knew everyone at the corporate office. He just understood the big picture of his building, of his brand, of his customers. And I picked up so much from him, but he was my solid mentor.

But that’s where it was the positive effect. We’ve also all had the negative. Now the positive and the negative mentors help shape us because it helps us to pick out who we want to be like, who we don’t want to be like. We can have that third person view of watching that negative mentor interact with someone in a negative way and we know that’s exactly what I’m not going to be like.

That’s exactly what I’m not going to do. One of my active mentors though. Pat Peterson, Chef Pat Peterson. He is currently Senior Vice President of Restaurants for Wagamama. And Pat Peterson, we started working together back in the Ruby Tuesdays


Oh, I


Ruby Tuesdays,


He is an amazing active mentor.

He’s been with me from the beginning of writing this book. Every leader needs followers to giving me quotes, taking time out his day to give me quotes, give me feedback. I’ve even talked with him about some of my breakout sessions and my approach to the crowd, to the industry, to my branding. Those mentors like that.

For them to do what they do to take time out their day out of their own personal development to help us in our growth. It’s just amazing.

I was going to ask you next to define leadership because we just talked about your definition of hospitality, but I don’t need to ask that question because you just defined it.

Those two people embody. What everyone should do if they’re in a leadership position, whether you’re an owner or you’re a GM today, you’re an aspiring, manager. And I hate the word manager or management, Jason, and I know you and I share that philosophy and I’m sure your book dives into it.

We’re going to talk all about that, but I want to emphasize, and I say this in many podcasts, because I’m on a personal mission to eliminate the word manager from . From our business our industry. Only because just because people are promoted to manager or they hold that title does not mean that they are competent, experienced to lead, that they inspire others, that they motivate others to optimum performance.

And I think that’s the definition of leadership and what you just described. Those people in your life are the embodiment of what I hope everyone in this position, whether owner or leader. Aspires to and becomes, and it’s a journey. It’s not a destination. It’s what we learn along the way. But that embodies exactly what we’re going to talk about.

Talk about your particular leadership style. Tell me what shaped you and now how you approach, leading others. And even in your coaching practice, because you are a. A coach, and obviously you work with clients and this is a big topic, I’m guessing, in your coaching practice. So what is your style that you hope to impart to your clients so that they shift their thinking?

You do want to go back to all three terms. So we have three terms. One has a very negative rap. You are correct. Manager management. Has the most negative rap out of all three terms for managing, leading, and coaching. I’m going to tell you why. Haven’t you ever watched Despicable Me?


With the minions, with the little yellow guys.



With the two eyes with the overalls. Now there’s also evil Kevin. On one of the movies, evil Kevin was half evil, half good. He was half purple, crazy spiked hair, and then half good. Managers get a bad rap because they are the evil Kevin. There are days Kevin comes in, Kevin the manager comes in, he’s happy, he’s cheery, he’s high fiving, he’s woo, he’s on top of things, he’s helping people, he’s creating this great environment.

And then there’s days that the evil Kevin comes in, that literally has that dang syringe still stuck into his arm and he’s flipping out, the crew doesn’t know how to act, they don’t know what to do, they’re the same, but Kevin’s different. Part of the reason why Kevin is inconsistent is because there’s times we get into this management role as a manager with that title, but we never get formally trained for it.

We get promoted because of how well we were within our current role. And we get into a new role and we think that because we were so successful at what we did, we can make others be exactly like we were. But managing others in a highly stressed environment isn’t natural. It’s something that’s learned.

And that’s the biggest mistake that managers get the bad rap. Now, managing is a process. You do have to do it for a business, but then you have a leadership mindset. And you are correct. The leadership mindset is the one that truly affects the people versus the processes. The leadership mindset is when, whenever you’re coming on board as a leader, you are looking at who makes decisions within these four walls.

How can I understand every department? How can I know my team? How can I know their hobbies, what makes them tick, what makes them stop, what their anniversaries are, all the things to build a strong connection. How can I understand my customers direct feedback and the way my customers like to give feedback so I can truly get to the core of how they view my business.

There are several things that encompasses. An efficient leader. Some of those also is when a group of people can’t see what the next step should be or could be. But that leader, that visionary leader, is able to paint a picture so vividly that the whole team’s I can’t believe I didn’t see the answer.

It was right before my eyes the whole time. But the visionary leader. Has that overarching view of the business, of the community, of the industry, and is able to paint the picture, say the words within a way that now everyone is going to jump on that plane, even though they know it’s still being built, and get them there.

Managing, yes. When we do it right, it can be good. We have leadership, and then we have coaching. Managing and leading is the mastery of large groups. Coaching is the mastery of small groups. of one on ones and small groups. It’s the intense training of individuals to help them get on their personal goals, professional goals, their organizational goals, of where they want to get to next.

And when we can really master all three and know when to wear all three, We can not have the evil Kevin’s, we can paint the pictures that are very vivid, and we can be able to get into it with the individuals on our team by setting aside time for them to let us know what their goals are. And be that mentor in order to coach them up for the next role.

That’s an excellent answer, because I think my next thought that you brought out in me is the complaints that we hear from owners or even GMs about why can’t I get my people to show up on time? Why can’t I get them to do what I expect them to do? And I think shifting this mindset from being the boss that delegates to someone who recognizes talent and inspires and empowers people with additional responsibility, but then holds them accountable.

I think accountability is the missing piece. And what does that word mean? That means me as an, a leader or an owner of a business. has a certain set of high standards or expectations, but that comes from knowing the business from the 30, 000 foot view like you just described. I know the building. I know each and every person.

I know what their jobs are. I could do that job myself because I’ve immersed myself in this business. Therefore, I have a very clear expectation of each individual person’s job, what their performance should be, how that impacts the team, and how the overall experience impacts the guest. And that is where accountability is necessary to hold people to those expectations.

And I see a lot of owners missing that piece. A lot of I’m going to use the word leader. But they need to develop that leadership mindset, that leadership skill. And I think the missing piece that I see so often, I ask questions when I coach people is, do you have accurate job descriptions that give you a template to that job?

And when when your team understand what those responsibilities are, what they need to bring to the table to be successful, whenever that deviates sideways, therein lies the critique, not the criticism. And I’ve always been successful. Let’s go back to that boss. equation really quickly, because a boss is going to delegate, tell people what to do, and then when the performance falls short, they wonder why.

It’s because they didn’t lead. They didn’t make someone accountable, understand the expectation, and immediately rectify it, and not tell somebody, get back out there and do it right. A critique is, what can you do to get your performance back on track? I noticed that you agreed you could do this, but you’re doing that.

And therein lies the missing accountability. Have you seen that in your coaching practice?

Yes, because what happens is the owner and the manager end up using the term accountability wrong. If you ask most people, almost in any industry, what is a accountability, they use it at the very last D minus before the fail of that person of that’s me firing someone because.

They didn’t do XYZ. That is incorrect. Accountability is what you just described. How consistent were you from the interview, to the training, to the delegation, to the daily interaction of what the job role is, and what success looks like, and what it doesn’t? How consistent were you? Because that is accountability.

Accountability. It is waiting till the very end of, now they called out for the third time, their sales are down, they have 15, 000 recooks on a Friday night, so now I gotta hold them accountable. No, that’s called failing them. Yes, because we, just because we did not be consistent of holding them accountable from day zero, not just day one.

You’re absolutely correct. We failed them. They did not fail us. And, not everyone fits in every organization. And if you build the company culture that people believe in and that they understand and that they feel comfortable in, that’s a key too. So I think this is a perfect segue to how do you suggest or advise your clients on company culture?

Thank you. Because again, if we were to think of ourselves as the boss, there might be a mission statement hanging on the wall that nobody pays attention to and no one practices and no one cares, but a culture is organic and it’s authentic. And if you were to query like a handful of people on your team, front and back of house, and ask them, what do you think the culture is?

I think you’d get a common thread of an answer of how people feel about working in this business and how they enjoy working together. That’s really culture. And that’s something that needs to be nurtured and developed, not necessarily rammed down people’s throats, but organically created. Tell us your thoughts on how do you achieve company culture in any organization, but restaurant specifically?

You and I have a very close friend that we’ve both had the pleasure of interacting with and his seven words about culture resonates with me quite profoundly. That person is Chip Close. Chip Close said the best definition of culture that he heard was seven words, people like us do things like this.

That’s what culture is. People like us do things like this. On Sundays at 8am, people like us do things like this. Whenever it’s a, we are about to go into a rush, people like us do things like this. Whenever you look at whether it’s weekly, daily, whether it deals with finances, it deals with the interaction, it deals with speed, with throughput, people like us do things like this.

That is what culture truly is. It’s borders on the line of religion, of doing something in a set way, every single time, no matter what happens. There may be things that tends to deviate us. There may be fires. We all know about those fires. But, in this situation, we do things like this, and that has to resonate within everyone.

And that’s what helps drive that culture.

Oh, I love that answer. That’s absolutely spot on for sure. Let’s move into onboarding. The importance of how we onboard new people and then how we train them to deliver hospitality and to, to work together cohesively as a team with respect and teamwork.

Because when that happens, a guest walks through the door, they immediately feel this is working. This, these people enjoy what they’re doing. They’re delivering amazing dining experiences. They’re using their personalities, but that takes teamwork. It takes camaraderie. It takes chemistry, but. First of all, it takes onboarding the culture, onboarding the expectations, creating the framework of what we just talked about with accountability.

Let’s talk about what’s the best practice for a brand new hire walking through the door. It’s like, where do we begin?

 Listen, from one restaurateur to another, and I hope you GMs out there listening as well are paying attention, , marketing should never be an experiment, oh, I tried this or I tried that, no, any of your valuable dollars that you spend on marketing should absolutely be trackable, you should know exactly what you’re doing.

where the business is coming from, and that it’s driving return on your investment. You spend a certain amount of money, you want to make far more money in return from that marketing, if you can track it. So pay attention. My friend Dyson runs a business called The Birthday Club, and his program is done for you.

Because we know that everybody dines out on their birthday. It’s a tradition. It’s a celebration. But not only do they not come in by themselves, they bring many friends with them. They usually have free spending and large check averages. It’s very profitable business. So why leave it to chance? Why let your competitors get all the birthday business?

So again, the birthday club is a done for you program. All you have to do is check out It’s a great program. If I still owned and operated restaurants today, after decades, it’s something I would definitely be doing, but it’s worth checking out.

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Roger, you hit my sweet spot. So I’m going to give you a long answer. Please do. First, the book, Every Leader Needs Followers. There are 10 keys in the book. The first five keys are very intentional because the first five keys create the acronym model.

M for master your KPIs.


I love that.

O for owner like orientation, D for delegate by creating mini GMs, E engaged through one on ones. And L, leading with the right mindset, managing versus leading versus coaching. Those five first keys are a repeatable process in order to help managers never lead alone again and help transform them into hospitality leaders.

So you hit on key number two, owner like orientation. The onboarding process One of the, one of the candies about the onboarding process that everyone can do right now, everyone listening can do right now is first we suck at onboarding. The reason why is whenever we bring someone in, we maybe get that table ready.

We may put on two shirts, a hat, a apron name tag, a stack of papers, and a pen. We meet. That new hire at the front door, shake their hand. Would you like something to drink? Bring them on over, have a seat, go through our 10 commandments, go till the pen runs hot. That’s the first wrong thing there is because we are training them to own that table.

Have you ever noticed that the table we do orientation at ends up being their new break table? Because that’s what we introduced them to. So then after the table, we take them to the back, put them on a laptop. We then go through some computer based training. The second thing now that they only own is the table and that laptop.

And then we put them on one position and we train them on that position. And for the next six weeks, this new hire comes in. The only thing that they’re focused on is their new break table, the laptop, and one position. That’s how we do things. Let’s talk through how we can do things right. The easiest thing for us to get a better return on investment on our new hire, set up the same table.

Hat, apron, t shirts, name tag, papers, pen. Walk them in, shake their hand. Are they thirsty? Have the table set up and then say, let’s go outside. And you walk back out the front doors with the new hire. You take them all the way to the curb. To the actual road where the cars are driving by and you say, this is our restaurant.

Our customers see our restaurant driving down this road and they look at it from the curb on in. So every single day, we pick up the trash all the way from this curb all the way in, because whether they choose to dine with us, Today, tomorrow, or next week. This is how they always view our business and It’s a easy read. It’s a easy read.

And I say that because it was written in a sense for. Managers that need to shift into leaders. They have less time these days. We know this. They, the more technology at DoorDash and Uber and iPads and geomarketing, geofencing, the more things we build onto our business because we have to. Because we can’t be the last industry to implement things, the more our managers have to do.

So how can, I thought, how can I create a book that’s a short read for them to be able to get the info that they need? So when you look through the book, each key, not chapter, each key has three sections. First section. Main course. The main course, pun intended, is the meat of that topic. It’s written short, but it still goes right to the tactile of what you have to do.

The second part of each key is called the takeaway. The takeaway is three to five chapters. An even shorter read, if you already read the main course, it’s Six weeks later, you want to go back and get a high level view, just read the takeaway, three to five chapters. And then the third piece of every key is called the angle.

The angle is quotes from people that I’ve had the blessing to work beside. That’s giving different angles about that topic.

Best practices from people who’ve made a difference in other people’s lives. Wow, you’ve tied it all together there. How do our audience get the book when it launches on the 18th?

Where can they find it?

They will find it on, on, on Amazon. Right now it is the Kindle version, but on the 18th, paperback hardcover will be available, but it’s more than just a book launch. On the 18th, what I also wanted to do was not just make it a memoir about Jason, not just want it, not just want it to be a tactile book.

I wanted to also give back. This industry that you and I both love has given me 30 amazing years within this industry. I found and did research on a non profit that your readers, that your listeners probably know of called Giving Kitchen. Giving Kitchen helps food service workers in crisis and their story of how they started in 2012.

Jen and Ryan Heidinger, and Ryan had terminal cancer, and their community in Atlanta rallied so hard. They only wanted to raise 15, 000 to 20, 000. They raised 300, 000 in one night. One night. In order to in, in order to give back to someone that’s given so much, that started Giving Kitchen, for Giving Kitchen to now help food service workers that may not have insurance, that may have sick kids, that may be late on their mortgage, that may just need mental health help because our industry also has mental health challenges.


this book, every book sold for the first 30 days, including pre orders, helps to donate 30, 000 to Giving Kitchen. My goal is to get this book into the hands of 10, 000 food service workers, because Giving Kitchen helps food service workers in crisis. This book helps food service workers transform into hospitality leaders.

That’s so beautiful and so noble, and what an inspiring story that you just shared with us. Thanks so much. That means so much. And our audience, of course, when this book launches, it’s going to be amazing. Jason Brooks, it’s on Amazon. Check it out. And not only is it going to be an inspired read that, that sets out a roadmap to shifting to that leadership mindset, but also there’s a give back and a beautiful piece.

Thanks for what you’re doing for this industry. That’s fantastic. This is a great segue, Jason, to pandemic. And we hate to talk about it because obviously it devastated this industry. But even though we’re out of the pandemic now, there are long lasting challenges that continue and pain points.

Are you seeing, operators that, Just have lost the passion that we’re speaking of here and that they can’t really shift their mindset to leading and to improving their operations because they’re still shell shocked and people were still struggling with labor, in many cases, and inflation and all these things that just seem like an endless challenge that we need to overcome in order to rediscover that passion?

What’s your best advice to people that might be feeling that? And I’m not even going as deep as mental illness because you did touch on it. And yes, there’s a lot of mental illness here, but I think some of these problems have contributed greatly to that challenge. What would you say to people that really have no choice?

It’s we own these restaurants. We have our life savings just totally involved in this and we can’t afford to lose, yet we can’t seem to get past these hurdles. I know it’s just such a problem and a pain point right now with many operators and I’d really like to, get your best advice on how do you inspire these people to just keep on going and move forward because the best is still ahead.

I’d say first that it’s us admitting to the fact that we have put to the side processes and culture that made us successful in the past. It goes back to the term culture. One of the things that happened during COVID was first the industry of hospitality was known as our true second family it was truly that we could leave our personal baggage at the door and the person that we worked beside had our back.

The person we knew that team was going to help us get to that next level. And during COVID, we had to make hard choices. We actually had to cut people from our work families, something that we thought would never happen and had never happened in centuries. We had to cut people that were dedicated to us from our work families.

Some of that damage. changed that industry. And during that time, many managers and owners had to start doing things several levels down. Yes, we can do everything that’s in the business, but when we’re doing everything, we’re good at nothing. So whenever that happened, some of our soft skills that had us truly focused on the experience, that truly focused on the details, we pushed that to the and finding that way.

To recognize that is what happened is the first step. We have to realize that we actually put aside these soft skills to make our people better. Now I’m not saying that it’s all doom and gloom because we both know excellent restaurateurs and hotelors and hotelers that are and are focused on not only raising back the hospitality and the standard, But raising it to a level that was pre COVID days.

The bar is really low right now, but we have to be very careful for a few reasons. One, because of inflation. Inflation has caused us to have to make changes within prices in order to not go under. Everyone understands that. From vehicles, to gas, to homes, to food, to restaurants. But if our experience for the customer isn’t at the same level of the price that we’re asking for, and we keep raising it, Then that’s when we get in trouble, and you and I are not the only ones having this conversation.

This conversation is being had everywhere, so if we’re not prepared, overnight the bar is right back up and all of a sudden our business is well behind and we are really in the thick of things. So that’s why we have to understand that soft skill That delegation, that systematic process that once made us successful in the past, we have to figure that out.

Coaching does help that. I’m a firm believer every hospitality manager should receive six months of coaching. I know it sounds strange. I know it sounds like that can’t happen. But how we deal with people’s emotion when it’s connected to food, the coaching aspect helps those managers understand how it affects their team, the brand, and the customers, and can help us rebuild that excellence.

Wow, I wholeheartedly agree with that. And now you’re touching on, in my practice, in all the restaurants that I’ve come across in my long career, there is that mindset still of this is a cost. How could I afford to do that versus this is an investment that’s going to pay dividends down the road.

And training is so important, and onboarding, and mentoring, and shadowing, and all these things that, yes, they do have a cost up front, but they return exponentially, not only in terms of revenue, but in terms of guest satisfaction, guest experience, and repeat business. There’s the lifetime value of a customer.

If we deliver amazing experiences to our guests, then we suddenly become their loyal place that they go to over and over again, and they share our praises on social media and online reviews, and they tell their friends. And you can’t see that, and you can’t necessarily measure that, but you have to know that if you can deliver these type of experiences, you’re going to reap the rewards.

But that takes that upfront investment in training, onboarding, even cross training people. And when we’re, in the thick of this labor shortage, it’s if you can take the time now to cross train people so that they can do multiple jobs when someone isn’t there or you lose somebody, now somebody is more versatile and they can jump in and that’ll save your bacon more times than not.

So I love that you, you talked about, investment versus cost and that’s a great approach. That’s tremendous. Wow. We’ve covered so much today, Jason. Are we missing anything? Anything else you want to share?

I’m sure your listeners want the lucky lottery number, but we’re going to keep that to ourselves for right now.

We won’t share that maybe on a different podcast,

oh, we all want to know that, right? We all want to know that. Lucky lottery number. If you got the crystal ball good for you. That’s fantastic. Jason, I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed having you on the show and reconnecting with you since Orlando.

And I know our paths are going to cross again and we’ll probably see each other at that show and perhaps others. That was the Restaurant Rockstars podcast. Thank you so much audience for tuning in. We had so much to share today that I know that you’re going to execute in your businesses. I wish you the best of success.

Stay well and please stay tuned to our next episode. Thanks also to the sponsors this week. See you again.

I gotta tell you, it really pains me to see restaurants fail, and it pains me just as much to see restaurants with shrinking margins, with rising costs, and being tied to their business 24 7 because they can’t afford to pay what I call a leader, or someone to help them run their business. And that is so important today, you know, working on your business versus in the business.

I travel the country, I’ve coached lots of restaurants, I speak, I speak to lots of different restaurant people, and I hear the same thing. Why don’t my staff respond to what I expect them to do? Why do they not show up for shifts? Why am I not making any money even though I have a busy restaurant? What can I do about marketing?

It’s like, what’s proven? Now, these are all very logical questions, but the answer really is having a system or a series of systems where all of these things are dialed. I’ve spent 23 years starting restaurants and operating them to success. I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and the Academy is everything I’ve learned about it.

These systems and running a business, not running a restaurant. What are these foundational systems? Cost controls and maximizing profit, knowing your prime costs, knowing what your sweet spot for inventory, food, beverage, and labor costs. These are really, really important things. More importantly, It’s about costing out your menu so that you know exactly how much it costs you to serve every dish to every guest.

That’s the finance piece of the Academy. We have something called Sales Stars, which trains everyone, whether you’ve got a full serve sit down restaurant, or you’ve got a fast casual, quick serve, or food truck, it trains anyone who interacts with a guest every day. Two, recognize opportunity, to have product and restaurant knowledge, to make friends with your customers, and to make suggestions that we all know the guest will enjoy and appreciate.

That doubles and triples check averages. That’s a system in the Academy. There’s a marketing section that is not about an experiment. It’s not about throwing thousands of dollars out the window hoping something will work. These are proven ideas that I used in all of my restaurants that cost very little money But they proved to have ROI.

Best of all, they were trackable. I knew exactly where this business was coming from. And it delivered ROI or return on investment. Even if you’re starting a very first restaurant, this is everything you need to know to literally start your business, open the doors to that business, put the systems in place and run it profitably and successfully.

So now the Academy also includes 25 free memberships for anyone on your team so that you can say, Hey, go to the finance section and learn this, put this in place and I’ll give you. An incentive for doing so. Help you run your business. It’s about creating a real brand and running a business. And everything I’m talking about is in the Academy.

So check it out at Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to the Restaurant Rockstars podcast. For lots of great resources, head over to restaurantrockstars. com. See you next time.

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