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This episode of “Give An Ovation” features a man whose LinkedIn seems like three put together, Donald Burns! He’s a published author, an accomplished entrepreneur, has worked as an executive chef for Wolfgang Puck Catering, served as a pararescuman for the United States Air Force, and currently runs therestaurantcoach.com as part of Off The Range Ventures LLC. Wow!
We were lucky to have him join Founder and CEO of Ovation Zack Oates to discuss what restaurants should must be doing in order succeed in the post-COVID-19 economy. The whole podcast is packed to the brim with tasty material, but here’s an appetizer:
1. Orient, Plot, Go
Donald explained that when a pararescueman lands, their first step is to use their map and compass to figure out where they are. They can then plot the path to their destination, and deal with any obstacles along the way (such as a 1000 foot-deep ravine). Similarly, restaurant owners need to start by honestly assessing how they’re doing and then proceed from there. Look at your assets and liabilities, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and then move out, soldier.
2. Turn “Shoulds” Into “Musts”
“The coronavirus isn’t your fault, but how you ran your restaurant before it hit is your fault”, says Donald. Everyone has things they know they should be doing, but they’re not. For restaurant owners, examples may include installing a loyalty system, incorporating more videos into their marketing strategy, setting up curbside/pickup, etc. Naturally, those who had taken care of many of their “shoulds” are doing better during this crisis than those who hadn’t, and this principle will continue going forward. Now’s the time!
3. Re-Opening As A Start Up
Re-opening is a great opportunity to start with a fresh-slate in a lot of ways. Take this chance to revamp however you can because things are going to be different. There will be lower sales volume, so run your financials again — Ronald suggests having a plan for 70%, 60%, and 50% of pre-pandemic revenues. Look at your labor model too.
4. Diversify And Innovate
Most people got hit so hard by the coronavirus because they had all their eggs in one basket… and then the chicken died. To prevent the same thing from happening again in the future, Ronald recommends having at least five different sources of revenue. He had many ideas: off-prem catering, meal kits, makeshift drive-thrus, subscription plans, pop-up grocery stores, ghost kitchens, etc. Whatever you choose, if you only have one stream of revenue and it dries up, you’re done.
5. Be Optimistic
“Negativity will take you down faster than anything.” Ronald discussed how 80% of restaurant success comes down to the psychology of the owner/operator, because culture flows downwards. Your attitude truly is contagious, so remember that humans have made it through worse crises and you can get through this one!
Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole podcast, as well as other interviews with restaurant/business gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation” on YouTube, podcast.ovationup.com, or your favorite place to listen to podcasts.
Also be sure to visit therestaurantcoach.com and follow Ronald on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (not on Tik-Tok, sadly) for more amazing content from the coach!