Leadership: Guiding Culture and Brand

The success or failure of a brand, regardless of concept, hinges on leadership. Most employees will only invest in a company as much as their leaders invest in them. Consequently, the manner in which a leader manages his employees has a direct relationship with that company’s culture and workplace environment.

This episode of Restaurant Masters is hosted by Rudy Miick, the founder and president of Colorado-based Leadership In the Fall Line and the Rudy Miick consulting group. In part one of his series on leadership, Miick examines what makes a great leader and how to inspire your team to work toward what is best for your company.

“In the twenty-first century, company culture equals brand experience,” says Miick. “If I treat you with respect, and you treat me with respect, we’re far more likely to treat the guest with respect; no matter the concept.”

Miick and his team provide leadership development services for three major areas of business: organization and change, business growth, and business turnaround. After working with Miick, companies have found that their performance has increased exponentially—up to three to five times their industry averages.

One of the key pieces of advice he gives to companies is to share fiscal information with your team. “I share everything I would share with my partners,” adds Miick. “When my team is taught the numbers of the business, the opportunity reveals that most people want to do a great job. When we share with them the numbers that make business great, the team typically rises to it.” By sharing fiscal information, you have empowered dozens of pairs of eyes who now have the fiscal knowledge and understanding they need to make your business more profitable.

And investing that trust and experience in your team will build your company’s relationship with consumers, too. Employee experience “equals the brand experience that the guest gets,” says Miick. “The values become actual tangible tools that guide sincere dedicated communication that inspires and leads my team where it needs to go in order to inspire and lead our guests.”

Check out the episode above to learn more about the process behind equipping employees with fiscal knowledge, and the ultimate payoff for cultivating an inspired workforce!

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Olivia Aleguas

Producer

Restaurant Masters: The Formula to Create a Badass Brand

In today’s crowded restaurant industry, most brands focus more on year-to-year survival than mastering their particular market. To compete, companies lower prices, offer promotions, and do everything they can price-wise to get customers in the door—and while rewarding at first, these techniques tend to do little to engender consumer loyalty.

This episode of Restaurant Masters features restaurant coach and former restaurant owner Donald Burns. In part three of his series on building a successful restaurant brand, he offers his best tips for creating a “badass” brand that dominates—rather than competes in—your chosen market. He has written the acclaimed books 2017 Your Restaurant Sucks! and the 2019 Your Restaurant STILL Sucks! and was featured in restaurant software company Toast’s Top Restaurant Experts to Follow in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

“A badass brand is created from core values, emotions, your mission, and your culture,” says Burns. “If you are confused about your brand, your guests are confused too.”

For Burns, truly successful restaurants “disrupt the status quo.” Rather than inventing a new market or type of meal, they simply offer a different approach to a common concept that raises the bar in terms of customer service and consumer experience.

So what are the steps to becoming a badass brand? Successful brands have three key elements: a coherent, concise understanding of your core values and brand promise, a brand kit composed of your restaurant’s image, logo, colors, and fonts, and the ability to consistently convey and execute your brand story.

“All houses need a solid foundation—and for a brand, that’s your culture,” adds Burns. “Core values are what separate the average from the outstanding. If you cannot strive to be an example of the core values your brand has, then they’re not core values, they’re just wishful thinking.”

Check out the episode above to learn more about developing a strong tagline and strategically engaging in social media and traditional market channels!

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer

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The Core Four Elements of a Successful Restaurant Brand

A restaurant’s brand identity is more than a logo, color scheme, aesthetic, or type of food. Your brand is your foundation: successful restaurants are built on clear, concise, and comprehensive brands.

This episode of Restaurant Masters features restaurant coach and former restaurant owner Donald Burns. In part two of his series on building your restaurant brand, he offers his best tips for cultivating a successful vision and company culture for your business. He has written the acclaimed books 2017 Your Restaurant Sucks! and the 2019 Your Restaurant STILL Sucks! and was featured in restaurant software company Toast’s Top Restaurant Experts to Follow in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” says Burns. “That’s where most restaurants fail: their vision is to make money. That will never sustain you in the long term. The act of making money is the result of having a sound vision and planning practices.”

Successful restaurant brands have a clear, cohesive set of core values and vision of success, prioritize consistency over creativity, perceive the restaurant the same way their guests do, and use emotion to inspire—rather than manipulate—guests.

“People buy brands they trust,” adds Burns. “Trust is a very sacred pact between the brand and the guest. Once it’s broken, it’s a long hard road to rebuild.”

Many young chefs and business owners make the mistake of prioritizing creative products and fail to consistently provide the same quality taste. “Your brand is not what you think it is, it’s what your guests think it is,” notes Burns. “You want to make sure you’re tapping into those emotions that stimulate loyalty and inspiration and not just manipulation.” Having a novelty product is not the same as innovation, and attracting a slew of customers with a unique product does not automatically create a following.

Check out the episode above to learn more about branding for the long-term and how to design your brand identity and brand story!

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer

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3 Brand Blunders You are Making and How to Fix Them

Company culture can make or break a restaurant. Having a clear vision and a well-crafted set of core values is essential for ensuring the longevity of your business.

On the latest episode of Restaurant Masters, restaurant coach and former restaurant owner Donald Burns shares his best tips for creating a brand that keeps your restaurant thriving. He has written the acclaimed books 2017 Your Restaurant Sucks! and the 2019 Your Restaurant STILL Sucks! and was featured in restaurant software company Toast’s Top Restaurant Experts to Follow in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

“All business problems are really people problems in disguise,” says Burns. “Leadership makes all the difference. Culture flows down.”

When Burns opened his first restaurant, he made the same three mistakes he often sees with business owners today: (1) failing to understand what makes a brand a brand, (2) not identifying and pursuing your market, and (3) being inconsistent.

Fully cultivating a brand is a “three ingredient recipe” according to Burns: foundation, framework, and functionality. Your employees and your company culture form the foundation. The framework is your menu and particular restaurant processes, while functionality is rooted in your drive to innovate, market your product, and increase your profit.

“People are loyal to the brands they trust and like,” notes Burns. “You don’t have to be the best.” You just have to be consistent with your niche market.

Check out the episode above to learn about avoiding these brand blunders and recognizing and addressing your restaurant’s blind spots!

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer

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Handling Prescription and Illegal Drug Use in the Workplace

The costs of an employee lawsuit can devastate both sides of a case. At her practice, former litigator and current restaurant employment lawyer Lexington Wolff advises industry employers on how to avoid such lawsuits in the first place.

In the latest episode for the new podcast Restaurant Masters, guest host Wolff discusses how to handle employee use of illegal and prescription drugs at your restaurant within the bounds of the law.

Drug use has always been a problem in the restaurant industry, but the issue has become more legally fraught for employers and employees alike in recent years.

“A lot of employers are under the misconception that they are entitled to a drug-free workplace, and that they have the power to influence that by any means,” says Wolff. “That is not exactly accurate. The law is really much more nuanced.”

In general, employers can test for illegal drug use at any time, and discipline employees who refuse to take a test. However, prescription drug employment laws are a bit less clear.

“If you’re going to test for prescription drug use, it’s very likely you’re going to learn about a medical condition or a protected disability that you otherwise had no reason to know about,” notes Wolff. And despite what some employers may think, “the less you know about a person’s protected status, the better.”

If you fire an employee or do not hire a candidate for a role after such an extensive test, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of a lawsuit. A candidate could effectively argue in court that you did not hire them because of their disability.

Listen to the episode above to learn more about developing a company-wide drug policy and the ins and outs of current marijuana laws.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer

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