Change is something you have to work at. It takes a strong commitment to create and set off on a new direction. I don’t have to suggest to anyone here that taking on a new direction takes a lot of fortitude, and a little luck as well. But as a career entrepreneur, I've come to realize that it also takes a sustained commitment to looking at things differently in order to develop the aptitude to change the game. And this aptitude doesn't fall out of the sky: you have to train for it.

NRN has a good article that goes into detail about the scale of retraining that some companies are doing now. For instance, Which Wich?, out of Dallas, is building an online library of training programs for its 50 units. ( This is the tip of the iceberg - see the NRN article).

Web tools can help scale the training effort.

This is a time for renewed commitment to re-tooling yourself and/or the employees you have, because:

• You will be doing new things.

• If there have been layoffs in the organization, people may be multi tasking, and doing things unfamiliar to them.

If you have new tasks, new tools may be need, or old tools need to be used in a different way. The metaphor that comes to mind is - working in the backyard on the weekend, it's easy to get fixated on a “git ’er dun” approach and throw your back out in the process - when stepping back and reaching for a wheelbarrow or lever would save you time and money. Right now we have to think really smart about tools and training in our professional lives as well. Can't afford it? Well, we have to.

If you've scaled down your staff, you need to re-imagine how to use your tools, so that they have the leverage they need. This includes, but isn’t limited to, power user training and time learning new tasks.

But retraining isn't limited to high concept stuff. There are some key, mundane aspects of retraining that are critical right now.

I was running a large Deli in 2001 when we were hit by a downturn caused by a combination of external factors. Our sales got hammered in a negative way due to the implosion of the tech sector, the world trade center attacks and the downturn in the markets. OK, so it's not exactly the same as today, but there were success factors that I can apply in this economy.

We responded by doing all the good fiscal things, but at the same time, we branched out into a new product line to drive new revenue. (That's how I got into the catering business). In the process, our FOH staff had to learn a brand new line, which was interesting enough for them. But it wasn't real glamorous. We had to adapt and do some lifting. We also had to learn how to support our taxed BOH staff; new everyday tasks came to include folding menus, assembling boxes, and even helping with prep for the next day's deliveries. Looking back, I remember the long hours, and how much we all went through. But the staff and management that were there came out the other side, stronger, and trained from the ground up in a line of work that was in demand. After the initial layoffs, we pulled through as better, more able, more adapted people.

Are you ready to see yourself and the world differently? Let's hit the gym.

Views: 2


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by John Dumbrille on February 6, 2009 at 11:08am
- from Accendor Research (Twitter observation): "You can trigger chaos through downsizing & not adjusting work. When you do, establish a new fitness landscape. Old order=gone"
Comment by Erle Dardick on February 5, 2009 at 8:37pm
Jim: It's interesting; we work with alot of companies implementing our solutions, so change is so critical to the process. We find that companies that embrace the change have more success.
Comment by Erle Dardick on February 5, 2009 at 7:08am
Thanks for the thoughts Paul. Really appreciate it.

Comment by Paul Paz on February 5, 2009 at 5:42am
Hey Erle..
Very appropriate post for these times.
Survival doesn't necessarily go to the strongest or the fastest. It goes to those that can adapt"

Comment by James Kohn on February 3, 2009 at 7:27pm
The ability and willingness to change is the key to growth and improvement. Thanks for the post; we can never overemphasize the importance of change.




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


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

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


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: 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.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service