The most useless thing in the world! Print
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 22:23

The most useless thing in the world!

            An attorney friend of mine once shared with me a general attitude they believe the public holds toward their profession and summed it up as, “An attorney is the most useless thing in the world, until you need one!” I was a younger then and at the time I had never heard the remark but with time have come to understand its’ general acceptance among the public.  So why discuss the benefits of legal counsel in a hospitality forum, the point to make here is about seeking professional advice and experience.

            We make the claim that if a client can conceptualize a food service idea on something as simple as a cocktail napkin we can take it from there to a brick and mortar reality.  That is the value of seeking the right type of “counsel” from an educated and experienced hospitality consultant.  We too could be the most useless beings on the planet; however, too often we are approached by operators who discover they have issues with their restaurant too late to make effective change as they may be out of time or money, both precious to small business owners.

            While the inception of a new hospitality or restaurant business is often the result of a belief that the new entrepreneur can “build a better mousetrap”, good intentions and poor execution mix about as well as oil and water.  While creating a food service business may be an extension of an owners’ ego, in order to survive, it must be able to drop revenues to the bottom line.  Creating a profitable concept is just as important as bringing a new cuisine or service format to the consuming public.

            We believe using “real world” examples are a good communication tool especially when it could speak to a challenge new or existing operators experience with their opening or financial success moving forward.  I recently had a meeting with a new client, two young men one from Eastern Europe and the other from Mexico, on the topic of creating standardized recipes for each of their menu items.  Great Start, I thought, they both understand the importance of cost controls and consistency which the lack of both could bring a quick end to any well-intentioned restaurant.  As it turns out they brought a recipe for an ingredient preparation, not a menu item, so we spent that valuable time discussing the difference between the two types of recipes. 

            Another issue was their understanding (or lack) of A.P., as purchased and E.P., edible portion and how the issue of “yield” will also affect their food cost and eventually their bottom line.  As a number of different meat proteins will be featured on the menu they hadn’t considered performing a “butchers test” to determine those yields either.  The partners did understand they could make a profit in the restaurant industry, they were just missing some of the basic tools available to make it happen.

            So what’s the point you may ask and that’s a fair question.  The partners didn’t know they had to account for cooking loss in their food preparation because no one “knows” what they don’t know.  This doesn’t make them ignorant, just not fully exposed to the basic foundations of financial success in the restaurant industry.  Heck, I’ve been in the business since age 11 as a bell hop and I still don’t know everything about the industry, who could?  The critical learning point is the partners understood they needed counsel (or a consultant) and they sought one out.  Perhaps if more operators would allow someone from the outside to take a look behind the curtain of their business we would have an overall stronger industry, it’s food for thought.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 June 2017 22:48

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