Practice what I preach.

29 03 2012

I had a meeting with a potential new client the other day.  I am always thrilled and delighted when my marketing dollars are working for me, which in this case is basically some very solid organic SEO built into my website which brings new inquiries regularly.

With this particular restaurant owner, we had engaged in a prior phone conversation in which we addressed some of the basics and I answered his questions on why I felt my company was best suited to help them grow their business and what set us apart as consultants.  I mentioned the usual characteristics … passion for the industry, experience, approachability and resources in the most self-deprecating manner I could. Then when we met in person, they asked again and commented on how I was the only one of several consultants they had reached out to, who actually responded to them and took the time to answer questions and establish a rapport, they wondered why?

My initial response was that I try very hard to practice what I preach.  I can’t tell my clients they need to jump all over their leads in the most timely fashion and then not do the same.  But, it got me thinking about the rest of the advice and guidance I dispense on a regular basis and I must admit, I need to follow more of my own advice!

I can’t believe this is my first blog entry in a while and I am woefully behind in my email marketing campaigns.  However, another message I always share with clients is that we cannot change the past we can only do for today and the days ahead.  So … today I am updating my facebook page, trying to befriend the new timeline and various apps, writing a blog post and creating my next email campaign, which now by the way will drive more business to my facebook page. Clearly, I need to take my own advice and practice more of what I preach … are there enough hours in the day …  will you do the same?



Restaurant Start-up

23 10 2011

The Bears Game is about to start at Wembley so I’ll make it quick today.

I am so delighted to have had the chance to create a fabulous new restaurant on behalf of my clients.  Wickets Bar & Grill is going to come to fruition shortly. We have come a long way baby!  From our initial discussions with the clients almost one year ago to our opening in the next few weeks.

Like so many things that have come before, this project has been both a joy and a challenge.  One of the things I have always loved best about being in the restaurant and catering industry is the reality that every day is different.  I come to the table with a positive spirit and tools of the trade.  Along with my gut instincts, knowledge, experience and a huge base of resources, comes the opportunity for collaboration and cooperation, it’s all good.

Can’t wait to see you all at Wickets, stay tuned.  GO BEARS!


Respect for effort.

15 10 2011

I had the task and pleasure of speaking with well over one hundred restaurant job applicants over the last few days, looking over applications and getting to know the candidates, albeit very briefly.

It was a stark reminder of just how tough it is in this economy to secure employment. Beyond that, it was eye opening to realize how many people are working not just one, but two and three jobs and still struggle to make ends meet.  It has been said before, but this economy has been a game changer in so many ways, and the impact on our society is going to be analyzed and realized for many years to come.

Thank you to all of you who came out to apply in person, I have deep respect for your effort.  While we cannot employ all of you or even most of you, I do so wish you well.

technology and the human experience

15 05 2011

I just sat down to eat breakfast and turned on the kitchen TV.  CNN was airing an interview with Google’s Eric Schmidt.  As a baby boomer and avid tech student, I am always interested in how our lives, both personal and professional, can be enriched by the warp speed changes in technology.

Eric Schmidt said something that just grabbed me at the right time in the right way.  It wasn’t anything new or something that I hadn’t thought about, but it was the way he said it and how it landed for me.  As he was discussing the iPad and the Droid version of the same concept, and the differences between closed and open sources, at some point he said that “technology enables the augmentation of the human experience”, or something close to that.

WOW!  This is so true. Some of my fellow baby boomers, think of these mind-blowing advances as a “replacement” for human experience.  But when we can re-frame our thoughts about tech innovations as augmentation instead of replacement, we have a whole new ball game.  Go Bulls.

I can’t help but ponder how these augmentations will continue to impact the restaurant industry and how we will all benefit.  We already have servers with mobile units entering orders so the kitchen can run more efficiently, more lean.  We have POS (point of sale) systems that keep track of our inventory, menu mix and sales, and enable us to market promotions directly to our customers.  QR codes for smart phones which link to mini mobi sites which enable our customers to get the info they need when they want it.  What’s next for cloud computing?  How will it help keep our businesses lean, strong and healthy?

It’s Sunday and I’m heading out for some human experience visiting friends in Milwaukee.   I’m taking my Blackberry and  iPod with me in my GPS and Satellite Radio equipped ultimate mobile device …. at least it was when I was sixteen and gas was 36 cents a gallon.

the gracious gift of hospitality

6 05 2011

As the 5th of May comes to a close, I reflect back to this morning when I woke up dreaming, thinking about and remembering my mom.  She was a phenomenal cook and an amazing host and she would have been 78 today.  I miss her terribly, but I also find tremendous comfort knowing that she is always with me.

It was my mom who contributed her gracious gift of hospitality to my DNA, and I am so completely and totally grateful.  As the owner of a catering business for 20 plus years, and now in my fifth year as a business consultant to the catering and restaurant industry, I can honestly say that this is a gift that keeps on giving.  Thank goodness.

Whether I am dining or cooking with friends and associates, visiting a gazillion restaurant websites in the name of “research”, or consulting with my clients, she is with me.  Channeling that gracious gift of hospitality in everything I do.  It makes me nicer, it keeps me humble, it helps me to help others and surrounds me with a comfortable and approachable aura.

I treasure the gracious part of this gift, it’s something I try to carry with me every day.  The warp speed change and advancement of technologies that has proven to make our lives better, more convenient, more efficient and yes, breathless … challenges our graciousness.

Thanks mom, for this lovely gift.  Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day always and forever.

Spring Surge

26 03 2011

My brain hurts.  It happens every year at the first whiff of spring.  I start thinking about all the marketing ideas I had at the start of the new year and all the best laid plans which for one reason or another … I have yet to put into place.

Where does the time go?  I know the inordinate amount of time I devote to answering and instigating emails for all sorts of reasons definitely impacts the hours spent in any one day.  Time with clients, reading and staying current on trends and opportunities within the industry takes up another huge chunk of the day.  Executing all of the tasks I have undertaken on behalf of my clients is a huge and satisfying part of each and every day.  Educating myself via webinars, the internet, networking events and the like pretty much wraps up the rest of my waking hours, and then at night while I should be sleeping, my “board of directors” takes up residence in my head where there is never a “short” meeting.

So how shall I wrestle with this stranglehold of information and activity? 

I will have what I like to refer to as a “spring surge”.  While others may be vacationing or taking some time off,  I am devoting this weekend and next week to finishing all the projects I began at the turn of the new year.  I am going to finally update and optimize my website, create an email marketing campaign for my own company, and make sure my facebook posts, linkedin page and tweets are all as informative and engaging as they should be.

By the end of next week I’ll be ready for a vacation.  Margaritaville anyone?

As if it were my own.

17 02 2011

I am thrilled to begin working with a new client on a Fast Casual Restaurant concept.  We are going to have a look at a couple of locations today, and it’s got me thinking about the old adage … location, location, location!

However, while pondering the importance of location and the ga-zillion other details of this project, I have noticed a strong feeling in my gut.  It comes down to this … the best that I can do for my clients, is to always think of their projects as if they were my own. 

Taking virtual ownership is important to me, and I want my clients to be successful in their endeavors.   I know how important it is to make good decisions, and I know how hard we all work for the bottom line.  As we move forward, I will be thinking about every aspect of this project as if it was my own investment.