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10 Commandments

Below are a set of my personal dogma in culinary development, which includes principles, ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in the success of an operation. Though pliable to geography and the culture and traditions of different locations, people and cultures, these are fundamental guideposts that have guided me throughout the years.

1. Leader

Leadership is a process of social influence and decision-making, positively affecting a team of people to efficiently and excellently accomplish a task or attain a goal. The leader builds his team; organises needs and ample response to these; raises efficiency by streamlining processes; analyses information and decides proper courses of action. He needs to be knowledgeable of the various facets of the undertaking, and it is important that there be a single leader so that there is a clear direction for the whole team to take.

2. Trends

In the food and beverage industry, trends are many and often significantly change the landscape of the entire industry. Due to their nature, trends can be short or carry on for years, crossing market boundaries. They can also differ in intensity, either as flashes in-the-pan or real game-changers. Though not benchmarks, trends are still important in building your program, as shifts in what people what to experience will test you and your team’s ability to strike while the iron is hot.

3. Competitor

Assessing the competition boils down to one question: Who is your closest business competitor? Answering that question completely, realistically and focusing on a single institution will help you learn what is truly happening around you.

4. Restaurant blueprint

Be prepared and clear in your plans, a muddled and unplanned effort will surely fail. Know and understand the areas that are the most importance to your success. Also, going against the current is mighty risky, so avoid the uphill battle unless you have the experience and temerity backed up by wisdom. Location is also key, do not, in any way or form, no matter the duress you are under, compromise with your location.

5. Customer

From conception to everyday operations, take time to get to know your clientele. Before opening the doors, envision who the perfect clients are: where do they live, how much do they make, what times and how frequent do they dine outside? As you go through everyday service, regularly examine who your patrons are. By having intimate knowledge of your clientele, you give yourself the best chances at success.

6. Concept

After the five first commandments your concept should be your focus, time to refine your ideas to tighten it up to a concise concept that can be applied to all facets of your restaurant. Create a concept statement, this helps you clearly state your ideas for you to follow and for your potential clients to understand who you are and what you plan to do. Too many operations are wild, trying to be everything but achieve nothing and end up failing. As you refine your concept, never let your emotions blur your vision and lead you to neglect the business side of the restaurant. Though passion is a requirement, many restauranteurs forget that you cannot delight your customers if you cannot keep your doors open. Remain financially conscious every step of the way and strive to strike that hard-to-reach balance between concept and practicality.

7. Feasibility

After focusing on the creative phase of your project, now really dig deep and pour through the numbers. It is very important that you stay realistic to ensure the longevity of your project.A project may look profitable in the beginning, but success is never measured with a short stick. One mistake, no matter how minuscule, when committed especially in the early stages can result in complete failure under the most inopportune circumstances. Your finances to begin with may look formidable, but spread them over three years to really see the financial violability of your plans.

8. Recruitment

The key, the heart of your future business, are the people with whom you will work with. Make no compromise in investing in your people, as the food and beverage industry is especially cruel to those who do not fill the kitchen, the serving area, even the front of the house with top-grade talent. That’s what is all about, not the design, not the equipment. As a customer, I will come back because of the service. This is reason number one and all other details are there to support this.

9. Opening

Many restauranteurs have the tendency to underestimate the first impression, but you only get one chance to make a good first impress, so do not cut corners and make a splash.. Your first customers look at your operation with a magnifying glass, so take your time, and do not rush to welcome customers to your tables. Be honest with your plans and set a quantifiable list of goals that will say that you are 100% ready, work towards those goals in pre-determined phases, drum up interest and market your soft opening well. When that list is completed, then and only then do you open your doors to patrons.

10. Operation

People have reacted to your opening marvellously, you have your team of stalwarts operating like a well-oiled machine. Your concept works and your accounting is going as expected. Your competition has noticed you and are taking you seriously. You are in the first few months of operation. The fun part, the honeymoon stage, where everything is great because you followed the commandments well. But do not let early success make you careless, the industry is fierce and the competition, always expanding. The ground may sift in a matter of hours so treat your operation like your child, nurture it and let it go through its growing pains. Be ready for rough patches and extreme challenges, keep your eyes on your long-term goals and never lose focus on your plans.