Mark Frank's Blog (13)

Circumstance has given us lemons, make lemonaid

These are the worst of times for most in our industry; I don’t have to tell anyone that. In the past several months I’ve seen a lot of negativity at a time when we should be experiencing the opposite in terms of outward expression of attitude. I wonder why and yet the answer is relatively clear, managers and owners are afraid. These are times, the likes of which most managers and restaurant operators have never seen and while I could rehash the news, which is mostly bad, you know it anyway;… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on April 1, 2009 at 6:54am — 4 Comments

I feel so sorry for this poor guy

A friend of mine told me a franchisee he knows recently opened a restaurant with 30 seats. This restaurant costs 450K and the owner’s rent is 8K per month. He asked me if I thought this restaurant, with an average per person ticket of $10 could survive? I unhesitatingly answered no.



One does not have to be a financial genius in understanding these numbers simply do not work and yet for some reason this franchisee, with more than likely the aggressive prodding of his franchisor, made… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on March 18, 2009 at 4:36pm — 4 Comments

More government the answer? I think not.

Perhaps it’s me, I understand there are those who will most certainly disagree, an opinion to which they have their right. Yesterday, I saw something that conjured in me the anger I feel as an American. While in route to the store I stopped at a traffic light and in front of me was a new Japanese SUV with a large American flag on the rear lift gate, a US Marine Corp bumper sticker and other pro American stickers on the rear window, including one sticker admonishing me to “buy locally”. I… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on March 12, 2009 at 8:10am — 10 Comments

Don't be stupid, they don't love you

A friend let me know that a mutual friend; someone we both know well, recently closed his franchise business. The particular friend and subject of this post cashed in his company profit sharing account with about 100K net (ten years of service with the company) and borrowed an additional 400K in opening his franchise two years ago. When all this was in the initial phase and only an idea this friend called and since this is the business I’m in asked “what should I do before entering into a… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on March 8, 2009 at 1:08pm — 2 Comments

Becoming a better me

Perhaps you remember the story of the person who goes to the doctor and the doctor upon his examination tells the patient he needs to lose weight, begin physical activity, stop smoking and change self destructive habits. The patient, upon leaving the office murmurs, “quack” and immediately finds another doctor.



There are many managers who in essence do the same thing. I speak from personal experience, in my early career I was like that, I worked hard, too hard, which is precisely the… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on March 1, 2009 at 6:42am — No Comments

It's all about customer experience

A Harvard Business Review interviewee made a point I found memorable, he said, many businesses know little about their customers, their likes and dislikes, but rather base decisions on what they think customers think. This author said we should talk with our most frequent customers in an effort to learn strengths and perhaps an opportunity or two. His principle view, our most frequent customers should be the ones that influence management decision-making.



Like many of you I’ve made… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on February 23, 2009 at 7:13am — 4 Comments

Creating value

Several months ago, before the good times ended, many restaurant managers and owners were espousing the belief that discounting and/or couponing of any sort was a bad thing, yet it’s now virtually impossible to turn on the TV, radio, or any other media, including email, without being inundated with discount offerings of one sort or another. Most people agreed months ago more damage than benefit results from couponing/discounting, yet now it’s so commonplace that if you’re paying retail you’re… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on January 26, 2009 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

Mentoring with Structure?

Perhaps it’s time to think about corporate mentoring differently. Once an employee in my old business unit asked if mentoring was discriminatory, as she put it, for every person being mentored there were hundreds (perhaps thousands, depending on the size of the organization) not mentored, at least in a formal sense? It’s a good question, is mentoring, as many of us know it in large organizations as a formal process fair, does it optimize individual and organizational performance? Please… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on January 11, 2009 at 2:24pm — 3 Comments

Could this be the "best of times and the worst of times"?

FohBoh is an excellent place for those wishing to learn more about our industry. While some members may be intimidated by technical and financial discussions and therefore inclined to skip those pieces I submit these are areas most of us need to learn more about. Understanding and applying financial tools are one of the most important functions of a manager.



Each week I am impressed with the quantity, quality and scope and pure learning content available to help us become better in… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on December 14, 2008 at 7:45pm — No Comments

The turnaround is at hand

A friend of mine recently left his comfortable corporate mid-management position returning to manage and own a restaurant. This particular restaurant is one in a well-known regional chain with a quality reputation. The location is an excellent one in a growing north Dallas suburb with great visibility and an outstanding sales history. That is until a couple of years ago when a significant competitor opened near one of the up and coming regional shopping mega centers (malls and strip centers)… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on December 9, 2008 at 7:29am — 4 Comments

80/20 Rule Applied

Most of us are familiar with the 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Effect, as it is most commonly known. The 80/20 rule has been represented in business discussion as 80 percent of production comes from 20 percent of the producers for many years. More broadly the 80/20 rule has been applied to every imaginable situation in business with amazing accuracy. Reading this complex information is fairly heady stuff, not known for light content, however a little struggling makes it more understandable.… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on December 2, 2008 at 1:53pm — 4 Comments

Success comes with hard work, results and personal mastery

Perhaps like me you remember the old marketing piece for a famous business magazine that relayed the story of two men who went to work for the same company at the same time and over a lifetime of work one became the CEO and the other a low level department head. The premise of the advertising message is that applying what this particular publication taught made the difference. The advertisement goes on to say something to the affect that while one went to work for the company the other worked… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on November 25, 2008 at 9:00am — 3 Comments

So you want to be a franchise owner?

So you’ve decided to embark on a new career as franchise owner? Well hold on before taking the plunge and ask yourself what you’re good at and what you want to do after leaving traditional employment. For many, in fact for the majority, the decision will be to investigate and ultimately decide upon one of the thousands of franchise operations available today.



The reasons are simple, most of us lack skills necessary to create and develop a business from the ground up. Many lack the… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on November 19, 2008 at 7:59am — 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

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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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