Rod Guinn's Blog (115)

The Smack Of Firm Leadership (or not)

OK.  I’ll ask you to bear with me a bit on this one, as I’m starting well out in left field.  (Or, to really milk the analogy, somewhere behind the first violins.)

One of the things I like about The Economist -- both print and online -- is that it manages to provide deep, generally thoughtful coverage on business,…

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Added by Rod Guinn on September 11, 2012 at 10:12am — No Comments

The Other Side Isn’t Always The Enemy; Sometimes, They’re Cleaning Up Your Messes

Think of this as part two of my prior posting on legal documents ...

In two transactions recently, I’ve had the following experience.  (In each case, it was an investor and an operator, but it could just as well have been lender and investor, or lender and operator.)  As the parties drew near to the final signing of…

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Added by Rod Guinn on August 30, 2012 at 8:53am — No Comments

Crossing “T”s, Dotting “I”s

After many months, more than a few near-death experiences, and the usual bureaucratic hurdles and personality disorder symptoms, one of my clients is about to conclude a complete refinancing of its balance sheet -- paying off existing lenders, buying back the ownership of a departing minority shareholder, and replacing everything with new lenders, some new minority investors, and sufficient capital to continue a successful…

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Added by Rod Guinn on August 15, 2012 at 6:26pm — No Comments

Who’s In Control?

I recently sat through three very interesting meetings which focused, in very different ways, on the realities of control.  They pointed out, once again, a lesson which is worth understanding: one needn’t always own a majority of the stock, or equity, of a company to be able to control it, at least in key ways which influence its behavior and future prospects.  I’ll describe…

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Added by Rod Guinn on August 1, 2012 at 2:18pm — No Comments

Lake Wobegon Syndrome

As I’ve probably mentioned lately, I’ve recently worked with several clients on debt-raise projects.  Based on that experience, as well as others over the years, I’ve begun to identify a malaise among credit providers which I’ll refer to as Lake Wobegon Syndrome.

By now,…

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Added by Rod Guinn on July 18, 2012 at 11:51am — No Comments

Declaration of Interdependence

So last Friday, an Open Letter entitled “How Can America Win This Election?” was posted on the Starbucks Responsibility page by “Howard S”, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Starbucks.  [Here’s the link: How-can-america-win-this-election]  Already two schools of thought have developed around…

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Added by Rod Guinn on July 4, 2012 at 12:39pm — No Comments

Learning To Love (Or Live With) The Downside; Today’s Debt Market

Think of a business opportunity.  Those exalted few among us who are the entrepreneurs, the builders, the creators, see the opportunity to make something new.  The operators, who make the wheels turn and the earth move, see the opportunity to make something better.  The investors, who sometimes get a bum rap (and sometimes deserve it), see the opportunity to bring their asset (capital) in order to fund the…

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Added by Rod Guinn on June 20, 2012 at 9:22am — No Comments

Why You’re Not Like Facebook (But You Could Be)

This is about two companies: 

One is a current client of mine, a company which has defied the odds by remaining profitable (and even growing a bit) through the Great Recession, basically by doing what it does very well despite the economic pressures.  Alas, it’s slipped a bit in recent months,…

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Added by Rod Guinn on June 6, 2012 at 11:11am — No Comments

Until It’s Time For You To Go

Those of us of a certain age will recall a song of this title written by Buffy Sainte-Marie and later recorded by almost everyone -- from Elvis to Barbra Streisand to Michael Nesmith to Cher.  Obviously, given that roster, the song and its lyrics had a universal resonance, with their bittersweet subject of a romance between two people who each knew the romance was destined to end.…

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Added by Rod Guinn on May 9, 2012 at 1:08pm — No Comments

Who Is Watching What You Can’t See?

I’m working on a longterm project for a fast-growing concept, with operations already scattered over four states and more to open this year.  It’s an exciting time for this company: the concept’s been refined to enable fast growth, the capital’s in hand, and performance is strong.

One of the essential controls which was recently reinforced…

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Added by Rod Guinn on April 25, 2012 at 1:14pm — No Comments

Suddenly, We Are What Our Customers Require Us To Be

For the past few years, we’ve heard industry leaders and visionaries telling us that social media was going to change the way businesses interacted with their customers, and vice versa.  Notably, most of these leaders were not from the retail, restaurant, food manufacturing, or consumer products industries, but from the various internet communities and social media hubs.  We all listened as people like Mark…

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Added by Rod Guinn on April 10, 2012 at 7:10pm — No Comments

Not-so-Random Thoughts From The 2012 RLC ...

Each spring, just as spring training is wrapping up, Scottsdale is the scene of the Restaurant Leadership Conference.  It’s neither the largest, nor by most measures the most frenetic of the key restaurant conferences; the first title must go to Chicago’s NRA extravaganza, and arguably the second goes to the well-run, but adrenaline-filled, RFDC in Las Vegas (the adrenaline perhaps unavoidably due to the locale as well…

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Added by Rod Guinn on March 29, 2012 at 8:07am — 1 Comment

March Madness, or Choosing a Dance Partner

If one is exposed to commercial media this week, one can’t avoid hearing about March Madness or The Big Dance.  (Note to all who are otherwise occupied: it’s the annual NCAA College Basketball Tournament, which undermines or eliminates productivity across vast swathes of the populace for hours of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday over the next two weeks before its semifinal and final rounds March 31 and April…

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Added by Rod Guinn on March 14, 2012 at 5:19pm — No Comments

Doing It Right

Yes, I’m the finance geek here, and my blog on FohBoh is typically about the breathtaking worlds of accounting, lending, investing, budgeting, and other heartpounding subjects.  [Side note: you may be aware that over the past thirty years there’s been a decided lack of thrilling movies about accounting and lending; hence my problems getting a best-selling book published.]  However, I do have one advantage: because I get to…

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Added by Rod Guinn on February 29, 2012 at 7:30pm — No Comments

The Pipeline

At various times in my career I have worked in institutions which more or less depend on the steady flow of new business to insure their continued profitability.  Hmmm ... sounds a lot like a restaurant so far, doesn’t it?  Hold that thought -- there are some important differences, and at least the beginnings of some tools to minimize those differences.  Let’s play this idea out a…

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Added by Rod Guinn on February 15, 2012 at 8:10pm — No Comments

Scary Ideas? Good Ideas?

There are two distinct, yet related, ideas in brand extensions which have been in the news recently.  I’m going to be following both with more than idle curiosity to see if they create added brand awareness, added traffic, or a negative backlash -- or all three.

First ... Friendly’s and Burger…

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Added by Rod Guinn on February 2, 2012 at 3:00am — 2 Comments

In which would you invest? To which would you lend?

I’ve had some interesting encounters recently with both existing operators and aspiring entrepreneurs armed with business plans.  Today, I’ll give a brief synopsis of several (with names and other distinguishing characteristics disguised); I welcome comments on which seem likely to be successful businesses, as well as debt and/or equity investments, and perhaps we’ll have followups on a few in the coming…

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Added by Rod Guinn on January 19, 2012 at 3:30am — No Comments

Shiny and New

Now that the presents have mostly been opened, let’s evaluate our position.  I was prompted to undertake this exercise by a recent conversation which ranged from (1) the errancy of Harold Camping’s 2011 end of the world forecast, which was surely a gift for many, to (2) the as-yet unproven accuracy of Mayan calendar predictions that Mr. Camping was only a year premature, to (3) the uniquely American apocalypse being…

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Added by Rod Guinn on January 4, 2012 at 7:55pm — No Comments

Twas Three Nights Before Christmas

‘Twas three nights before Christmas, a time to prepare

For the mad rush of diners -- a hope we all share

We’ve menus all hung by the entry with care

In hopes that…

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Added by Rod Guinn on December 21, 2011 at 3:30am — 5 Comments

Fear of Franchising?

No, I’ve never read anything by Erica Jong, and there’s nothing zipless about this column -- nor, I trust, about the attitudes of the parties who inspired it.  (For those of less than a certain age, feel free to research Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying and the cultural touchstone it provided.)…

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Added by Rod Guinn on December 8, 2011 at 3:30am — 2 Comments

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DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Restaurants may feel the pinch of pricier coffee later this year

Prices for arabica coffee futures hit a 26-month high amid a drought in Brazil, which produces a third of the world's coffee  -More

McDonald's rules out all-day breakfast in push to simplify

McDonald's breakfast menu accounts for 25% of the chain's U.S.  -More

Easy ways to use 5 uncommon spring greens

As light, crisp greens arrive at farmers markets and grocery stores, chefs are finding creative ways to add them to spring me -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

National Restaurant Association Offers Training DVDs on Harassment Prevention, Social Media Use, and Customer Service

The National Restaurant Association has released three new DVDs that offer best practices in dealing with harassment and discrimination, customer service training, and the first of its kind video guide on the use of social media.

Yum! Brands Reports First-Quarter EPS Growth of 24% Excluding Special Items

China Division System Sales Increased 17% with Operating Profit Growth of 80%; Yum! Reaffirms Full-Year Guidance of at Lea

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Certified As Nation's Largest 'Green' Restaurant Chain

National Group Salutes Country's Only Large Restaurant Group to be 'Certified Green Restaurants®'

National Restaurant Association and EatStreet Release Online Ordering Guide

The National Restaurant Association and EatStreet have released a free educational guide focusing on online ordering and emerging restaurant technology trends.

Boyd's Coffee Launches Single-Cup Coffees For Retail And Foodservice

The coffees come in a variety of roast levels and include organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ options: French No. 6®, Red Wagon® Organic Coffee, Good Morning™, Hi-Rev® (delivers more caffeine), and Lost Lake™ Decaf Organic Coffee.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think) - Hamish Jolly (2013)

Hamish Jolly, an ocean swimmer in Australia, wanted a wetsuit that would deter a curious shark from mistaking him for a potential source of nourishment. (Which, statistically, is rare, but certainly a fate worth avoiding.) Working with a team of scientists, he and his friends came up with a fresh approach — not a shark cage, not a suit of chain-mail, but a sleek suit that taps our growing understanding of shark vision.

TED: Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion - Michel Laberge (2014)

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

TED: Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win - Sarah Lewis (2014)

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

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