Josh Kopel | Award Winning Restaurant Consultant

Restaurant Business Plan Template: Transformative Small Changes

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I’ve reflected on success before and the fundamentals of creating a great hospitality brand.

But I’m thinking a little deeper today.

Could small experiments in your business be the key to long-lasting success?

What mindsets shifts have elevated well-known brands to the level of notoriety they have today?

And how can I implement these into my businesses both present, and future?

Let’s discuss the small things that make a big impact.

The Devil is in the Details

When opening a restaurant, I think many of us as restaurateurs think of the master plan.

The concept. The menu. The vision. Restaurateurs are great big picture thinkers.

The overview of the project is obviously incredibly important but focusing on the minor details can really change the game. Pauline Brown, renowned author of Aesthetic Intelligence taught me the value of invisible design.
“Restaurateurs often reduce their restaurant to the mechanics of what they are doing. Some of the more tasteful ones will hire a great designer to be more mindful of the decor. To take that to another level, why don’t we have more focus on sound design? …Similarly lighting. What about the temperature of the light bulbs? The more you can tap into the unconscious design, the more apt people are to come back.”

It seems like being mindful of the finer details can take the restaurant experience to a higher plane. Small changes to the minute details can make all the difference.

Simple Shifts

I was so inspired when I spoke to Alex Day from Death & Co. He told the tale of failing upwards, not knowing what they were doing, and making a ton of mistakes. The core of their entire business was really fascinating to me. The premise of most bars of their caliber at the time was that you can take the business seriously, or just have fun with it. Their tiny change to this concept was that you can take the business seriously and still have fun. They carry this philosophy through everything they do.

Sounds like such a simple idea right? But that slight tweak to the way things were normally done in the cocktail bar space transformed Death & Co into the household name it is today.

Maybe it’s not about reinventing the wheel or even making your own wheel, but adding a different colored spoke to the one that already exists.

Flexible to Fluctuations

If there’s one thing I see most often in the folks I deem successful, it’s flexibility. They are always thinking on their feet and pivoting to get to the next level. Folks like Chef Eric Greenspan seem to be constantly pivoting to really accelerate their growth in this industry. He has had big pivots, like his famous trajectory from line cook in NYC to exec chef of Patina in LA, right in the aftermath of 9/11. Eric also had small pivots too. He mentioned the minor changes he makes on a constant basis with his cloud kitchen Alt Grub Faction concept.

“We changed things every day. The menus, the work hours, the branding. Constantly changing, constantly pivoting to make things better.”

It makes me wonder what I can constantly review in my business to keep it flexible.

How can I stay nimble to fluctuations in the industry?

What tiny experiments can I run to improve my business as it grows?

No one knows what the future holds. The crystal ball is cloudier than ever. I only know that blending these three mindsets into my new projects could raise the bar in a way I’ve never done before.

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