The year was 1665. In August, bubonic plaque was raging in England. In London, a quarter of the population would die of the plague from 1665 to 1666. It was one of the last major outbreaks in the 400 years that the Black Death ravaged Europe. People were in quarantine. Fifty-five miles to the northeast, Cambridge University was closed. Sound familiar?
A twenty-two year old, unremarkable, unknown, made the trek, by foot, by horse drawn cart, back to his family farm in Woolsworth. There he remained secluded for eighteen months. During that time, he discovered the laws of optics and that colors are a property of light. He invented the mathematics of calculus and the binomial theorem. But most importantly, Isaac Newton would discover the law of gravity and change the face of science. So……what have you been doing the last 100 days?
They say that necessity is the mother of all Invention. I strongly believe, that over the past couple of months, that the expectation of consumers using the hospitality Industry has not only been reinvented but also reshaped and reformed with a higher expectation of safety, sanitation, cleanliness, contactless payment, third party delivery, curbside pickup, bundled packaging and much more. There may even be a negative effect on jam packed restaurants and sports bars for a period of time. Unfortunately, there may also be a resizing of the restaurant landscape with some that simply will not be able to rebound.
So, Innovate we must. But Innovation will require Introduction and buy-in. For example; we have a QR code, that, when scanned brings up the menu for our restaurant or sports bar…..on the guest phone. No delivering of a menu to the table, no making sure the menu is clean, no rips, no worn corners, no printing costs. It’s right there at the fingertips of our guest. We should only be offering printed menus upon request.
We’ve finally flipped the switch for online ordering for our guests that use our independent brands. We will follow that up with the ability for our guests to scan a QR Code and pay for their meal right at the table at Limestone BBQ in a matter of weeks. When that works, we will move to TabRabbit as our POS at the Stone Balloon and likely Eggspectation. Because innovation is what our guests are looking for as part of this “new” dining experience.
We’re challenging the effectiveness of our TOGO packaging in each brand. The goal: give our guest the best quality product when they get it home/have it delivered/or open the box in their hotel room. In a bag that markets our brand and carries the boxes effectively. The quality and Integrity of the food simply must be in-restaurant-table-dining quality…or it shouldn’t be on the TOGO menu.
Remember that oftentimes innovation doesn’t work to our satisfaction right out of the gate and we need to step back and access. Sometimes, if it ain’t broke, ya gotta break it. Failure cannot be an option nor can quitting, but neither is an excuse for not embracing innovation.
Have we reopened our dining rooms with a commitment to Improvement? I’m gonna challenge you here. What have you done to Improve the standards of service/hospitality in your business? Productivity? Ticket times? Plate presentation? Restroom sanitation? Uniform standards? It can no longer be how it was. That was then. This is now. Challenge everything. Push the envelope. Find solutions. Implement higher standards. Crush the competition.
“Leaders must always be open to suggestions that can improve the organization’s vision. Team Members must feel comfortable enough to think outside the box and share their thoughts and ideas without fear of being shut down or discounted. It is the hallmark of a trust-based team.” ~ Part of the Airman’s code USAF
Yesterday, I heard the story of an airman that came up with the Idea of placing a CONEX box on a C-17 Globemaster aircraft. Then, by making sure that it was negatively pressurized, it was now possible to quarantine and transport COVID patients back into the USA without concern for the spread of the virus among the crew. Impressive, huh. It worked! But what really worked was that the leaders listened and acted. (I probably got some of the details wrong….but that’s how I heard it)
For those of us that are the decision makers: LISTEN. Listen to the concerns of our subordinates when they describe the barriers that get in the way of efficiency. LEAN IN. Lean in and learn how the concerns of our people impact the guest experience. LEAD. Lead with a desire to improve our operations, streamline our processes, enhance the guest experience, refine the performance of our team by training someone something new every day, boost the morale of those around you and exceed expectations when it comes to profitability.
And in order to pull this off, our Intensity must improve. It should be visible. You should sense it, feel it, see it when you walk into your business.
Let me ask you this. What type of Impact do you make when you enter the building for your shift? How do people view your arrival? Do they see you walking in, very quietly, not saying hello to anyone, carrying your candle and being careful not to let it blow it out by moving too quickly on your way to the managers office? OR…..Do you blast through the door with a big smile on your face, happy to see everyone, not interested in going to the office to drop of your things because you are carrying your blowtorch and you simply can’t wait to address the things you saw on the parking lot, or the finger prints on the front door or the missing nametag on the server.
“The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack.”
All those in favor of limited government interference, peace on the streets of our cities and freedom to get back to full capacity in our restaurants/sports bars and for getting sports teams back on the field…. say “aye”.
The I’s have it. And the chair votes “aye”.
“Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” ~ Cadet Maxim, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY
Nothing, my friends, is Impossible.