I was seeking advice for a client from a restaurant “turn around” expert the other day and he gave me a great tip. I’ve been able to help a few restaurants add to their profitability so this is not unfamiliar territory for me. But Mike opened my eyes to a new way to approach improving a restaurant or any business. “I start by looking in the garbage.  That’s where the profit goes at many restaurants.”

At first, this seemed somewhat superficial. I always start with an evaluation of the business. I look at how it “feels” to me. Clean? Hip? Busy? Slow? Out of step?

Then I look for ways to improve business. Readers of this blog know I’m not a cutter. I’m a builder. I’d rather grow a business than cut expenses. But Mike wasn’t talking about cutting, he was looking for waste. This would be real waste. Many businesses cut personnel to reduce cost but I don’t consider ‘most’ people to be waste. But, what is in the garbage truly is waste. Mikes message is to utilize more of what you’ve got—waste less. That move will add immediately to the bottom line.

Great thinking, Mike.

Mike Kaplan operates a restaurant consultancy firm in the Washington, D.C. area. He’ll go to any restaurant in the country. He’s worth the fee if you want to operate a profitable restaurant. You can reach Mike by email at: [email protected]

In the meantime, think about what’s in your garbage.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
[email protected]