How did I come up with this title?  It dawned on me on my last restaurant consulting job.  I was hired by a person with no restaurant experience that had purchased a going BBQ and Burger restaurant. He was to open in 60 days.  The owner was going to train him.  I was recommended to him by the owner to help him learn the restaurant business.

He had a background in business so I felt it put me in a better position.

I started out with giving him a proposal with a step by step procedure on how to manage and get his restaurant open.

The first thing I explained to him was that every restaurant was divided into three main areas:  Financial, Operations and Marketing and think of them as spark plugs in a car engine they all have to be running simultaneously otherwise it will now work.

I then went over the the most important thing he must have down pat by opening day and this was the ordering, scheduling and food production.

The restaurant was already running with a good crew.  He was going to put a new POS system in and I cautioned him on the fact that is one of the most traumatic change for employees especially the new ones.

He did underestimate the problems of a new POS System.  It came back at him when he opened, among other things.

I gave him an in-depth program for running his restaurant.  He said don’t worry about the marketing I will handle it. I have the experience.  I set up his back of the house office with financial systems and controls and all he needed was to get training from the previous owner on the ordering, recipes and production

I did emphasize that on opening day everything changes and he will not have time to learn the ordering or the kitchen. Again he says he can handle it

Well opening day came and he has been behind since. It took him two months to get the ordering done, and the scheduling.  He  also underestimated marketing and the time and money to do it

So what is my point.  My point is I made the mistake on not anticipating what it was going to be like walking in his shoes.  I should of paid more attention to the personal aspects of the operation and anticipating how he was going to react to different situations.

I have learned the it is important and mandatory that you anticipate what is is going to be like walking in their shoes on opening day.


I worked with this person for the next few months and I felt he would be ready if he follow my plan.  He did not.  At first I just let him do things his way.  He was pretty hardheaded and would not listen.  He said he was satisfied with the training he received from the previous owner during the last 60 days.

What would I of done different.  I would paid more attention to the person I was training instead of what I was training.  What mean by that I would of  made sure that he did know the ordering and the scheduling and the kitchen production.

We as consultants come in with our systems and procedures  and expect the owner to be able to complete and follow the plan.  In a perfect world, maybe.

Kenny Arone is a restaurant consultant and partner in Cost Genie Menu Costing Software. www.costgenie.com

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