For our clients and the work we do for them, we believe in taking a phased approach that methodically leads down a path of larger development. Each phase is self-sufficient and beneficial on its own, but all stages connect and culminate in seamless succession.
We wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending that a client launch headfirst into a major consulting relationship without taking a few test spins. And, on the flip side, we recommend that you use extreme caution if any restaurant consultancy you may be considering can go on long test spins for free (they’re either not very busy, which isn’t a good sign or they have confused this phase with “selling” rather than “consulting”).
Here’s how we work…
1. Nice to meet you. My name is ________.
We get over 800 inquiries a year from clients all over the world who’d like to work with us. We appreciate each and every one of them. But, unfortunately, we aren’t the best fit for each and every one of them. To help us figure out if we’re the right fit for you, tell us about yourself, your business, and what you’re looking for. Be specific. We respond to inquiries that appear to be of a serious nature. While a one line email “I am interested in your services” is a compliment, it’s just not enough to go on to respond with a thoughtful reply.
We also don’t respond to mass “Request for Proposal” form letters. We are very appreciative of the interest, but we typically accept work that has been referred to us, a returning client, or new work that seems like a tailored fit with the appropriate budget. Many details need to line up for both parties – timing, scope, chemistry, budget, etc. So, we request a little more information about a project to help in the mutual screening process.
2. Do you like me? Circle YES or NO.
Our team will review your information, and then we’ll shoot off some additional questions to you. If it looks like a good fit at that point, we can schedule a complimentary phone consultation. We’ll exchange some information (under a confidentiality agreement) to get a better idea of what you need and where we come in. There is no charge and it’s not a sales pitch.
3. Let’s make this official.
If the call goes well and we’re a match made in heaven, we’ve found the best way to get started is to spend some time together. If it’s an existing operation, we’ll want to spend some time in the field, reviewing the facilities, operations, the people, etc. If it’s a new venture, we’ll want to find someplace quiet and private in the market where you’re thinking of opening.
We do lots of homework before that initial meeting. Send us as much information as you can; we’ll pour through it, analyze it, identify some initial key findings, and we’ll add to that our own pre-visit research about the market, competition, and other pertinent factors.
Before arriving we’ll discuss and refine an agenda together, but the main intent will be to understand where you are, where you want to be, and how we can combine our collective resources to get you there. Add to that agenda a list of your toughest and most pressing questions – anything that’s keeping you awake at night in a positive or anxious way with regard to the business challenges and opportunities you’re facing. We’ll be ready to hit the ground running together and get straight to the meat of the issues.
4. Here’s what it looks like on paper.
After completing the initial analysis, on-site audit (if warranted), and a full day planning session, we will prepare an executive report that will summarize and highlight key findings and recommendations. The report will outline recommendations in all of the core topics we discussed, as well as the additional considerations we believe are important for you in the phases of development ahead.
The most meaningful value from such an assignment, however, is invariably netted from the discoveries, ah-ha! moments, collective ideation, collaboration, and combination of our collective passions – all aimed tightly on defining and creating your vision for the future. Typically the investment for a one to two-day planning session and report starts at $10,000.
5. So where do we go from here?
The restaurant business is one of the most complex businesses in the world. There are so many moving pieces and parts to consider. We help break down the steps of development into phases and make it easier to digest and plan. Based on the information shared in steps 1-4 above, we will assemble the phases and key considerations for your project into a tailored project. We’ll answer all of those dozens of questions you’ve had and give you a sense of direction you didn’t have before. The outline will be based on the big picture of what you need. As appropriate or requested, we will also diagram the specifics of how we can help in each phase moving forward. We outline this in such a way that it is not dependent on hiring us.
If you do hire us though, you get a full team of professionals dedicated to your project who believe in your direction and goals just as much as you do.
Short of that initial planning session investment, we invite you to take a look at the free resources we provide on the site. There’s a ton of information that will most likely answer a lot of the questions you have. Another option is to come to one of our workshops or Aaron’s seminars and guest speaker appearances.