When I started consulting, I named my practice Collaborative Dynamics for a reason. Collaborative Dynamics really is the process of collaboration in getting things done. Having worked with more than 30 organizations, I’ve found a large gap between having a plan and actually executing that plan. Creating a successful strategy is one thing, but if you don’t put it into action, it’s just words on paper. I wanted to leverage my experience to help my clients not just create a strategy, but also execute on it.
Recently I had a new client come to me. It was a restaurant who had been open for a year. Their food was amazing, reviews amazing, their concept amazing, but their revenue was not at all where they had expected or needed it to be. After several conversations, it was clear that while they had a vision and a strategy, it just wasn’t focused enough or being executed on. They had such an amazing concept and strategy, but they just weren’t creating focus on telling their story and gaining new customers. I sat down with the owner and simply asked him “what are the things that are keeping you up at night?”. Three main themes came out of that discussion:
- People don’t know we exist
- Their menus are outdated
- It’s difficult to retain employees
From that conversation, we worked to create a plan to address those key areas while we also developed a more comprehensive strategy for the restaurant.
People don’t know we exist
For a restaurant with a 4.8/5.0 review rating and having been featured in multiple magazines, they were doing almost no promotion or marketing. Their revenue was actually excellent all things considered. They had no marketing strategy and hadn’t posted anything on social media in more than a week and had no website. This wasn’t a lack of wanting to, it was simply a matter of bandwidth. Running a restaurant is a 24/7 job and marketing often takes a back seat to everything else. Also, when sales are down, it is often the first thing to be scaled back, which only perpetuates the problem.
Their menus are outdated
As a scratch kitchen and with a rotating beer menu, their menus often change. They had 6 different menus for dinner, lunch, brunch, beer, specials, and happy hour. Some change on a near daily basis. They had been paying a designer $130 per month to keep them up to date, but he simply wasn’t keeping up or doing what was required. This led to wait staff and bartenders having to walk customers through a slew of changes that weren’t reflected on their menus. Their designer was also hired to develop their website, which he hadn’t done. With monthly costs and printing fees, they were spending approximately $3,000 a year just on their menus, but not seeing much value.
It’s difficult to retain employees
Unemployment is at a historic low and we can’t fix that and the restaurant industry is known for high turnover, but as a strategist, you learn the difference between the symptom of a problem and the root cause. You also learn to focus on what levers you can pull. In this case, after further analysis and discussion, it became clear that employee retention was largely being driven by their lack of execution on their marketing strategy. Employees liked the company and the concept, were paid above market wages, but weren’t getting the hours they needed in order to pay their bills. If the day was going to be slow, their shift may be cut, leading to uncertainty over how much money they would make, so they simply left to go somewhere else. By increasing revenue, we believed that retention would improve.
How we helped them get things done
As a strategy consultant, my role is often times focused on the long term so my client can focus on the day-to-day, but just as often, I find that there are things that need to be done immediately to create stability and a foundation to build the future upon. Already understanding the concept and vision for the restaurant, there were several things that we could do immediately to create quick wins. Within a week, we were able to create a beautiful website that they can update easily themselves, even on their phone, we re-created their menus in a format that looks exactly the same, but which they can update on demand, saving them $3,000 a year, and with using automation, created a weeks worth of social media posts, scheduled and ready to go. Furthermore, their website was enabled with subscriptions so they can collect e-mail addresses in order to create another level of engagement with customers. In just a week, we completed work they’ve been wanting to do for a year and which was critical for them to be able to have a long term strategy.
Having those challenges out the way, we’re now working on a comprehensive strategy that will align their marketing strategy with their operational strategy to ensure that we grow their brand in line with their staffing and supplies to ensure that they can deliver high quality service to their customers. We’re creating analytics to correlate revenue to their website traffic and social media to better tune and understand what’s working and what isn’t. We’re creating an automated marketing strategy focused on targeting their ideal customers and driving them to their restaurant. And finally, we’ve identified a dozen opportunities to partner with local companies and organizations to promote their brand and increase revenue.
What’s the impact?
In just a few weeks, their social media engagement has increased more than 500%, their website receives more than 70 unique visitors each day, and their revenue is up more than 50% which is phenomenal during the slow summer season and is projected to be 200% higher this fall. And I’ve noticed a significant increase in employee engagement and their excitement for the future which I’m hopeful will increase their retention. Simply put, we created focus around a few critical areas in order to deliver results and set the stage for a longer term strategy. Working with our client, we got things done, together. And that’s what we do!
About Collaborative Dynamics
Collaborative Dynamics is a full-cycle strategy consulting firm focused on helping clients to not just craft a winning strategy, but to help them prepare for change, and to execute on their strategy successfully. Think of us as your very own Chief of Staff!
Log onto www.collaborativedynamics.org to learn more to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.