food and beverage underground

Restaurant Consultant

Restaurant consultants are not all created equal. After having been in the business for over three decades I have seen my share of them. From those that just walk in the door and catch your ear while sitting at the bar working their script, picking apart your operation with one hand and telling you how much better things could with the other, to the “trained scammers”. These so called restaurant consultants come out of some business-training course and are suppose to have a background in the industry. I have found these most annoying and nothing short of shysters.

There are also very reputable and skilled restaurant consulting companies out there such as Societe Hospitality, which is run by long time industry expert Kelley Jones, but first lets take a look at the restaurant consultants that you should beware of.

The Walk in Restaurant Consultant

First, the walk consultants; the game here is nothing short of a well-scripted play. The so-called consultant visits an establishment a couple times and picks out some obvious problems that occur in every restaurant operation across the country. Then they ask the staff who the owner is and find out as much information as they can about the decision makers in the operation.

Once the stage is set they do whatever they need to do to get the operator’s ear in a social setting, at the bar or simply asking to meet, or even by posting a complaint. Anything to get face time with you is their goal. Once in the web the conversation quickly turns to what you could do better in the operation or a rundown of things that are wrong (real or spun). These consultants try to be your friend and by chance just have to be in the business and would be glad to consult to optimize your operation.

Beware; most of these consultants are strong on talk but weak on knowledge. For the most part these consultants have worked in the business and may have a list of restaurants they have consulted for in the past, but they are largely just a show. Make sure you don’t waste too much time or get too stuck in the web before you do some do diligence and check out what they have done in other restaurants.

The Corporate Script

No, not your corporation, their corporation. These restaurant consulting gurus are brought in by one of many consulting companies that get people in the industry (or not) and give them a week training program in tearing apart a p&l then send them out into the world to preach their gospel. Unfortunately, these restaurant consultants are only armed with a brief overview of what to look for on a p&l, and guess what? Your costs are too high. Your labor is out of control.

Most of these people will make an appointment or even give you a free evaluation of your business. From my experience of five or six of these “consultants” all they are is a waste of valuable time. I have been able to weed through them fairly quickly by turning the tables on them and bombing them with industry specific questions. You will be very surprised to find how many will crash and burn on “how do you compute food cost” or “what yield can you expect out of a keg of beer.”

I am sure there are some capable restaurant consultants in this group, but my experience hasn’t shown any promise at all and could actually harm your business and eat up your time and money.

Now let us take a look at the other side of the coin, reputable consulting companies. In the next article we will visit Kelley Jones of Societe Hospitality and give you the inside information you need from one of the countries premire restaurant consulting companies.

From Restaurant Consultant to Used Restaurant Equipment Auction


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