Are you being weighed down by the proverbial “ball and chain?” No, not that ball and chain. I’m talking about the processes that your restaurant just can’t operate without. Remember your great idea from 10 years ago? The one that changed the way your restaurant operated, or saved a ton of money … or even revamped your brand. Is it still the biggest thing to happen to your restaurant?

Being locked-in to certain business practices can stunt your creativity and growth. Every successful new idea potentially improves your bottom line, which in turn means you have more to lose. This can effectively turn each great idea into a weight on your business practices. Success can end up looking like one more expectation, one more possible lock-in.

Think about the saying “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” What if we’d stopped with the first commercially sliced bread? Imagine if there had been nothing greater than sliced bread since it’s outset in the 1920s.

Just because you have a great burger, doesn’t mean you can’t add Mahi-Mahi tacos to the menu. I’ve blogged about the importance of defining your brand, but having a brand shouldn’t translate into putting your feet into a cement bucket.

Restaurant operations can get weighed down by simply maintaining the status quo.

When you open a new restaurant you're free to innovate. Finding an area that is underserved, or an idea that is original and sets you apart from competitors is critical when breaking into an industry as crowded as foodservice. Success takes pushing boundaries. New restaurateurs are starting fresh and hungry for the newest idea. In the beginning, you have a clean slate and every practice is a new practice. This opens the door for more experimenting and riskier innovations.

These same owners get weighed down when their restaurant begins to accrue value. Once you've built your identity and developed a brand, it's harder to take a risk and put everything on the line. Fear of losing ground can put your business in a holding pattern. It doesn’t matter how strong your brand is if you’re too busy upholding current successes. If you’re focused on managing the weights of success, you may feel like you don’t have the freedom to pick up new practices.

To run a successful restaurant, you need to be comfortable breaking free from the shackles of success. It’s time to drop the weights that hold you in place. Constantly being on the lookout for the best new practice, hot new menu item or innovative process to improve customer service should always stay at the top of your strategy list. Moving forward, streamlining operations and hiring the best people are the keys to succeeding in these areas.

To meet today's consumer demands and economic restrictions, restaurateurs must be flexible, tech-savvy and always innovating. Switch out your restaurant décor. Create new menu items. Update your technology to connect with customers and employees. Discover the next big trend. Embrace new social media outlets available to restaurants. Reach the people who drive your business. It is about taking chances and keeping your business fresh.

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Tags: HR, change, innovate, operations, technology

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