The 4 Golden Rules of a restaurant owner

This week’s guest post is by Mike Noel Smith.

I was recently flying to Hawaii but had a stopover in Chicago O’Hare International airport. With a few hours to kill before my connection, I wandered around before finally settling on a restaurant nestling in amongst many other food outlets.

The waiters all seemed under pressure to serve their respective tables, rushing around looking flustered, but mine seemed happy to stay a while with me at the table and talk. I found out he was actually the owner of the restaurant, so in some ways, he was leading the way as well as finding out at the ‘coal face’ what his customers were saying and thinking about his business.

I asked him how he felt he was doing and he replied by saying that in his competitive market he needed to make the effort – constantly. He had 4 Golden Rules that he sought to apply every day in order to stay in front of his rivals, and they were:

Improve – always aim to get better (excellence is good enough)

Observe – talk and watch the people you work with and your customers (and most important listen to them)

Connect – treat everyone with respect (make them feel ‘special’)

Adapt – uncertainty is the new ‘norm’ today so be prepared to be nimble and flexible at all times

I thought about what he said and started to apply that to my interactions with customers and clients. It made an immediate impact as I started to win more business but more importantly, it helped me to retain the clients that I already had.

Although they are simple ‘rules’ to follow, they have to be diligently applied and constantly reviewed with self-feedback as well as customer review to see if you are hitting the nail on the head each time. One client, for example, a high street bank even asked me to run a workshop as part of their graduate employee induction programme, to stress the importance of the application of the 4 Golden Rules.

As such, that interaction with a waiter in an airport restaurant has led to new business!

Mike Noel-Smith is Director of Special Projects with Fresh Air Learning. He is a writer, motivational speaker, rugby coach and former military leader. His qualifications include Level A and B Psychometrics and Mental Toughness (MTQ48) administrator. He is also a Master NLP Practitioner.