Review The Business Plan OR Call For A Pitchfork
March 15, 2012
An Original Recipe Revisted
November 30, 2012

Cooking Up New Ideas

As business owners we become so focused on the day to day activities that we forget to look at the bigger picture. We have discussed money and business plans but now it is time to focus on how you keep growing so that your business can grow.

We often plan to attend the industry trade show and conference or a regional meeting. Those are great times to meet with other business owners and share ideas. But sometimes we can learn something new right in our own backyard or as the following story will demonstrate, an old magazine collection.

Recently I decided to go through some old cooking magazines. While cutting out recipes ( you know, odds are I will never use – but I “think” I might cook that), looking at all those pictures of food (of which when I cook, it never looks like the picture), and getting excited about trying some new recipes (because just the thought of eating something different is a thrill) an article about restaurant service catches my eye. So now you are saying, “R U 4 Real?” Yes, after all not only do you take care of pets but you often find yourself taking care of the pet owners….

“The Therapist at the Table” by Bruce Feiler discusses Bruce’s three weeks working at a restaurant in New York. The article starts with a fire at table 31 on Bruce’s first day on the job, and it ends with a yellow dress, red wine & a most important idea: Great service to others = Great service to yourself.

So the first question that comes to mind is how does one prepare for a fire at table 31? What is your equivalent to a fire at table 31? If a “table fire” should happen, do your employees know how to handle it? How do you know that? What mechanisms have you put in place to assure the correct response? At this particular establishment a training manual is employed that all employees study and know. In fact that manual is referred to several times in the article.

Fire at Table 31 – short version. Birthday party planned. Table set for party including champagne in bucket. Guests arrive, flowers are brought and set on the table to close to the candles and – WHOOSH – flowers catch fire. Manager brings bucket of ice, flowers are put in the bucket, and then one of the rules in the training manual was ignored….never use linen to clean up spills. However, in an effort to put out the rest of the fire, the tablecloth was used to put out the smoldering mess. Order was restored, guests were seated again and the party went forward.

There are three things I want you to think about this week….

  • Do you have a training manual and are you using it?
  • Are your employees confident enough to know when they may need to ignore a rule in order to achieve the higher goal in an emergency?
  • Do your employees know what the higher goal is?

The story does continue and I am looking forward to sharing more insight with you…….