I have spent a lot of time thinking about a restaurant company’s worst nightmare - The Brand Gap.  Executives work hard to evolve their brands.  Some need a complete make over.  Others continue to tweak and tinker to make sure their brands remain relevant in an ever-changing marketplace.  They spend hours in meetings reviewing research, analyzing data and conducting focus groups trying to ensure their concept has a point of difference that resonates with consumers.  

When the process is complete they usually come up with something brilliant in the way of a brand promise.  Then comes the hard part - making sure the people throughout the organization get it and live it everyday.  

It’s been my experience that most organizations do well instilling the brand to a certain level.  Typically the multi-unit operators get it and they do a pretty good job getting the message to their management teams.  Then the most daunting task of all - making sure the brand is represented all day every day with each and every guest.  This my friends is The Brand Gap.

The excuses for not bridging this gap are many; some are even legit!  Over my years in the biz I’ve heard it all:

“My employees are only here to make money”

“With varied schedules it’s difficult to communicate”

“We are too busy to take the time to instill the brand promise in our employees”

“Our employees won’t get it”

“The work ethic isn’t what it used to be”

The list goes on...

In the restaurant biz, there’s no denying that the brand happens at the table!  Those who market packaged goods don’t have near the challenge we do.  When was the last time you were disappointed in a box of cereal or a bottle of ketchup?  Enough said.  

We must hire the right people (servers, cooks, bussers, hosts and hostesses) if we expect our brand to be consistent table to table, restaurant to restaurant.  When dealing with human nature there is no magic wand. There is no perfect science.  However I would contend that science can help.  Here’s how...

Adding science to the selection process can make a difference.  Too often we overlook the importance of making sure we get the right people on the “frontline” bus.  Most organizations exercise extreme diligence when they hire managers.  When it comes to hourly employees, not so much.  The key is hiring employees who have the competencies (the innate ability) to create extraordinary experiences for their guests.  

Including behavioral assessment as part of the process has proven to be a huge assist in hiring the right people.  Of course it’s not perfect.  As one of my mentors has often said, “It’s like going to Vegas with loaded dice” - it’s going to help you win more often than you lose.  

If you run restaurants and you believe bridging The Brand Gap is essential to improved performance why wouldn’t you add some science to your selection process?  I’d love to hear your comments!

Views: 25

Tags: assessment, behavioral, brand, marketing, process, recruiting, restaurant, selection


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

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Taco Bell takes on fast casual with U.S. Taco Co.

Taco Bell will test a new fast-casual concept called U.S. Taco Co.  -More

Avocados From Mexico: All New Recipe Brochure
Looking for the sweet spot between indulgence and fresh appeal? Say yes to fresh Avocados from Mexico, all year long. So rich and creamy, use them as a substitute for mayo to create a craveable crab salad sandwich that will make others green with envy. Discover more culinary inspirations and recipes here!

Ronald McDonald gets a makeover for social media debut

Ronald McDonald is giving off less of a clown vibe with a makeover that keeps the color scheme but adds a blazer, a yellow ve -More

Animal fats ramp up flavor

Chicago hot spots are serving up savory dishes flavored with animal fats such as Stephanie Izard's confit goat belly at Girl  -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

Dunkin' Brands Reports First Quarter 2014 Results

Dunkin' Donuts U.S. comparable store sales growth of 1.2% - Added 96 net new restaurants worldwide including 69 net new Dunkin' Donuts in the U.S. - Revenue increased 6.2%

Hurricane Grill & Wings Signs Franchise And Multi-Unit Development Agreements For Additional 22 Units

Hurricane Grill & Wings, a restaurant franchise known for its never-frozen jumbo wings and more than 35 signature flavors, announced today the signing of five multi-unit development agreements, representing 22 new locations. The Florida-based brand opened two locations in early 2014, with plans for a total of 14 new units by the end of the year.

Dunkin' Donuts Announces Plans For 20 New Restaurants In South Orange County And The San Fernando Valley

Dunkin' Donuts announced today the signing of multi-unit store development agreements with two new franchise groups to develop 20 new restaurants in South Orange County and the San Fernando Valley area over the next several years.

Brinker International Reports Increases In Third Quarter Fiscal 2014 EPS And Comparable Restaurant Sales

Earnings per diluted share, excluding special items, increased 16.7 percent to $0.84 compared to $0.72 for the third quarter of fiscal 2013

Togo's Inks Deals In Idaho And Utah To Develop 13 New Restaurants

Togo's Eateries, Inc. announced it has signed franchise agreements to develop five restaurants in Eastern Idaho and eight locations in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2014, the brand will also mark its entry into Colorado, Idaho, and Utah with restaurant openings planned over the next few months.


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: James Patten: The best computer interface? Maybe ... your hands - James Patten (2013)

"The computer is an incredibly powerful means of creative expression," says designer and TED Fellow James Patten. But right now, we interact with computers, mainly, by typing and tapping. In this nifty talk and demo, Patten imagines a more visceral, physical way to bring your thoughts and ideas to life in the digital world, taking the computer interface off the screen and putting it into your hands.

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?

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service