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


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