Restaurant Problems, NOT Solutions

Sometimes the solution to a problem is the problem itself. Hum…curious what I mean by that? Watch today’s video to find out.

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Tell me your problems, not your solutions:

I want to hear more about your problems, not your solutions. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “Ryan you’ve always said we should be asking our employees to bring us solutions, not problems.” That’s right, but today I’m talking about you. I want to hear more about your problems, not your solutions. Here’s what I mean by that… I get on the phone with clients all the time and one of the things I hear them say is, “Ryan, can you help me build systems. Ryan I need more systems, processes, procedures.” That’s great! I’m the systems guy! So I’m glad you’re coming to me for systems. But here’s the thing, I can’t just start building systems with you. You can’t just sit down at your desk and build systems. You have to know what systems you need, but how do you know what systems you need? I always start with a list of problems, frustrations, fears and concerns. 

Before we do that, the first thing that I want you to do is write down a list of what you want. Not the tools you want to use because that’s what systems are. Systems are a tool just like a hammer, it helps you do a job but ultimately what you want is a finished product. You want a house; you don’t want a hammer. But, without that hammer it would take too long to build a house. 

Write down what you want, what do you want to be different, and what do you want to be better? Do you want more time? More money? More freedom or more units? What is it that you want in your business that you don’t have right now. Usually it comes down to time and freedom. More often it’s time, because with more time we can do all the other things. But, outside of that, what is it that you want in your business that you don’t have? Make a list of a couple of things and really take the time and get clear on this.

Then what I want you to do is to make a list of all the problems you have, all the fears, frustrations, and all the things that make you angry. Next, what I want you to do is go back and look at each one of those and ask yourself the question: What do I need to solve that problem? What do I need to eliminate that fear, frustration, or that pain point and does it match with what I want? 

Your answer may be a better system for that fear or frustration. If your frustration is that maybe your cooks aren’t able to execute the recipes consistently, well then maybe what you do need is system. A better system for training, for documenting the recipes or a better system to make sure that they’re following them. This will ultimately get you what you want, maybe more time, money, consistency or whatever it is. 

But sometimes it’s not a system. Everyone wants a system, but sometimes it’s changing things completely (which I guess is a system). But when people come to me and say they need help with systems, what you really need help with and what the process I take them through is identifying what it is that you want and what the problem is that’s preventing you from getting that. Then we can get down to the details of what tool we need to fix that. 

Another example I want to share with you is from a client that runs a breakfast restaurant. They’re having a lot of problems getting things done in their day. What they really want is more time, so we walked through his day and identified one of the things that takes him too much time: cooking off the bacon. It takes about an hour and a half to cook off about 60 to 70 trays of bacon per day. They need to have the bacon started at 4 a.m. because they open for breakfast at 5:30 a.m., and he can’t find people to come in at 4:00 a.m. consistently. 

To be honest, I don’t blame him for that. That’s hard to do when a lot of his employees take the bus and it’s a difficult time to get there. So it’s better that he comes in first thing in the morning. What we talked about was maybe there’s something different he can do, such as have the bacon cook the night before and have it in a sheet tray ready to go. Then he can take that 4:00 a.m. shift to work on other things that he needs to do. It’s still a system, but not a system like you were thinking. We’re going to test that and see how well it works for him. The point is – until we know what you want and identified the problems, we can’t jump to step number three of building a system or finding a solution for it. 

Again, I’ve said this a hundred times but make a list of what is it that you want and what the problems are, then we can figure out the solution. I hope you enjoyed today’s video I look forward to bringing you another one just like this next week.

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