How Your Restaurant Culture Died


Today’s video talks about restaurant culture and the simple way you can kill it off. It’s all about maintaining and enforcing standards. Watch now!

To learn more please either watch the video above, read the transcript or listen to the podcast below.

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Read the Video Transcript by Clicking Here...


Hey restaurant owners and operators, today we are going to talk to you about how your restaurant culture died. 

How did your culture die?

The way your restaurant culture died was the first time you said to another employee “I know, I know. Here she does it that way, and we are not supposed to. I’ll talk about it tomorrow.” Or the minute someone showed up late and you didn’t hold them accountable your culture died. The minute someone was caught talking on their cell phone, walking by a checklist that was supposed to be marked three weeks ago, allowed your team to go home early and it was a busy night, or didn’t clean the restroom properly and you said you’re going to address it tomorrow. All of these little things are killing your culture to the point where your culture is dead. 

You might be saying, “Ryan, you’re standing on a soapbox and preaching. It’s so easy for you to sit here and say that.” But I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve operated restaurants. I’ve made all these mistakes and I know what it’s like. I know how easy it is to do all the things I’ve said. But, I’m here to tell you that the only way to build the restaurant that you deserve or desire is to have an amazing restaurant culture. A culture where you and your employees want to come to work, a culture of improvement and high standards, and a culture where your guests love to dine with you. This all happens when we hold other people, and even yourself, accountable to the rules and standards. 

The Navy SEALS have an expression that soldiers don’t rise to the occasion when put under pressure, they rise or fall to their average level of training. They don’t all of a sudden make a shot that they’ve never been able to make in practice. 

Under pressure we don’t rise to the occasion, we fall or rise to our average level of training. This is very similar to the expression ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’. 

So what does this mean to your restaurant? It’s very simple: your restaurant is only as good, excellent, strong or successful as its weakest standard. You may think that your restaurant is incredible and you are doing everything great, but if you’re not holding to your standards you’re going to fall or rise to the medium level of your standards. We could even say your restaurant is only as strong as the average of your standards.

Bring your culture back to life

If you want to improve your business, if you want those great guests that share with the world how awesome your food is, and if you want them to come in more often – raise your standards. When you raise your standards, you improve the culture. Then all of a sudden the challenges you’re having with staff not coming in on time disappear. They’re going to come in on time because it’s an amazing place to work. The challenges you’re having with your staff using their cell phones…they’re going to stop using them because it’s an amazing place to work. 

I have this conversation with clients over and over again, they tell me all of these challenges they have with their staff. When I hear that staff is on the phone all the time, coming in late or not following recipes, I know the problem isn’t being addressed head on. So, we address their culture and we fix their culture. Those people either work their way out or step-up and improve their training because the standards are held higher. I should not have said step-up because that’s not really what I meant. What I meant is that if the culture around those people improves, we all float up with it.

Summing it up:

Again, whether it’s the Navy SEALS expression ‘soldiers don’t rise to the occasion, we fall to our average level of training’ or ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’ your restaurant is only as strong as your weakest standard. So how do we improve standards? That’s very simple: 

    1. Identify areas where your standards are lacking, weak or you just don’t even have standards.
    2. Set the new standard. Make the change and document it saying “Never again are we allowing people to be on their cellphones” or never again are we allowing this to happen.
    3. Hold your team accountable to the new standard. Raise the standard and hold your team accountable to it. 

  • Measure 


  1. Refine. Are we making the improvements? And if we’re not, what can we tweak or change in this standard, system, process or procedure to make it better? 

At the end of the day, I just want to leave you with the fact that every time you break a standard and feel that pain in your stomach when you say “I know I should be doing this” or “I know I should be enforcing that” or “I know I should be doing a better job on this” but you don’t you are killing your culture. And it’s like a cancer to your restaurant, it will slowly eat it to death. 

Let’s improve that, let’s raise our standards, improve our culture, let’s go out and crush it so you can have the business and the life that you have dreamed of. I hope you enjoy this week’s training video and I look forward to bringing you another one just like this next week. Have a wonderful day!

Your Next Step

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