The hospitality world is an ever-changing and progressive place.
Chefs, bartenders and servers create and re-recreate experiences each day.
The modern patron has come to expect change…change with the seasons, change with the “times”, and even changes with the latest Food Network programming.
The real conundrum for hospitality has always been that the consumer loves new and exciting things but craves for consistency. It is a balancing beam of change and replication on any given day.
Arguably the worlds most successful chef, Gordon Ramsey, has carved out a whole night of television on the very idea of “change” in the restaurant industry.
“What about the “regulars” and the already “loyal” patrons?”
“What about the standards & consistency?”
“What about Joe & Mary who come back every week for this dish?!”
The whole thing is a tight rope act, and it is rarely the same twice.
So the questions were asked of me; When is the “right” time for change? When is the “right” time to update?
Let’s take reference from Gordon Ramsey and the “Kitchen Nightmares” methods, along with a little hospitable opinion. Here are;
6 simple guidelines for change;
- Never do anything without a PLAN; There is no right or wrong timing for change, there are planned and unplanned changes. A plan is tangibly written, has someone holding you accountable to it, and has a basis in METRICS and MEASURES, along with ideas and desires.
- Know your market well; Know your city, your district, your locals, your ideal patron, your amenities, your parking..etc. This is the information age and it has never been easier to use the census data.
- Know your competitors better; Too often, we get bogged down in the “day-to-day” and forget that the restaurant industry is a competitive place and you need to keep your eye on your direct competitors. I recommend revisiting your “Top 5” each quarter.
- Understand the FEAR; We all have something inside us that fears change, even the most bold of entrepreneurs need to put this feeling in check. Your not alone here but find the most comfort in the fact that everything you have ever learned started with being a little uncomfortable. Find a mechanism that works for you to overcome the fear. I always look for a collaborator, having a sounding board for the plan is always a good idea.
- Get a PHD in your own business; This does not take a decade of schooling. The PHD I am talking about here is from Chet Holmes, Pig Headed Determination. We all have our ways but an unrelenting goal to execute is an absolute need for success.
- Transparency is your guide! Your regulars, and the newest patrons alike return for the people (the service). Always take an honest, transparent approach to your changes and guide your “regulars” through them. No “hard sale” in hospitality as long as it is an honest sale.
Get to doing!