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During the fourth quarter 2014, Greg and I had numerous conversations around taking a large step in 2015. Just like every company, the goal is to consistently get better and grow but rarely are we fortunate enough to actually have meetings around creating something special and different for the following year. After many meetings and conversations, we decided to focus on one industry that could benefit from our help the most. We decided to create a service that would benefit the restaurant industry. After coming up with the features and benefits of this service and making sure it was all possible, we pitched the idea to eight restaurant owners. Six of the eight restaurant owners came on board and are currently involved in a 13-week pilot program which started January 5th. Our goal is to bring what we do to the restaurant industry in hopes of…growth! Technology has successfully generated additional revenue for all other industries…our plan is for technology to do its thing with restaurants too.

Recently, my co-worker Alex and I, were blessed with an opportunity to go behind the scenes and hang out in the kitchen of one of the restaurants we are currently working with. This restaurant was holding a NEW YEARS EVE set menu party and asked if we could attend and actually see what goes on live behind the scenes during a busy night. Of course my answer was yes. The restaurant industry has always been very appealing to me and to have a chance to see what goes on in a kitchen during a rush was something I wanted to take advantage of. I also wanted to see how things were going to be orchestrated. My expectation going in was that I would see something similar to the TV show” Hell’s Kitchen”. I thought for sure the head chef would share similar characteristics to Chef Ramsay and every other word would be a shouted curse word. Alex and I actually joked about this and wondered if anyone would be thrown out of the kitchen on New Year’s Eve.  Our expectations were far from reality…what we witnessed was a well-oiled machine. Each staff member had a well-established roll with clear expectations from the Chef. Not one movement or word was wasted. Every time something was said, it had purpose and there was an action that immediately followed. You knew the answer was well received because for every question or statement there was a response that followed…”Heard.” Every time someone decided to move somewhere it was with clear urgency and reasoning. If a plate was needed from across the kitchen it was passed from one end to the other like an assembly line. The wait staff were constantly keeping the head chef up to date on what was needed which created a clear direct message from the head chef to the line chefs on what needed to come next. Yet, every single person had a smile on their face. One would think that a New Year’s Eve dinner party would cause stress and tempers to flare but not this night and certainly not in this kitchen.

I was fortunate to watch great food being prepared such as: scallop chips ‘n dip, chestnut soup, butter poached lobster tail, pork tenderloin, Hereford beef culotte, and a dessert sampler that consisted of a banana split, smoked pear streusel, and espresso milkshake. Watching the chef’s slice the pork and beef was like watching a warm knife cut through butter. Everything looked exceptionally delicious and it took every bit of strength I had not to grab a bite. The smells from the kitchen that night are ones that I will never forget. Everything looked and smelled wonderful. Finally, when the last dessert dish went out the mission was complete. The game was finally over and on this night this restaurant was a winner. How do I know this? Because once the last dessert dish went out, the head chef had time to walk into the dining room to express his thanks to his guests that shared New Year’s Eve dinner with him. Before the chef could utter a word, I witnessed a restaurant standing ovation as the guests shared their thanks for an unforgettable end to 2014. Like every great leader the head chef was thankful for the ovation but did not fail to mention how important his staff was. For me, this night was something that I will never forget. Having an opportunity to be behind the scenes in a kitchen for a party on New Year’s Eve was very cool. I now realize what good looks like from a highly sought restaurant on one of the busiest nights of the year.

You may wonder why I would write about the restaurant industry; why would someone who works with CRM and other technology write about a night in a kitchen? I am someone who really appreciates processes. I am an ex-college football player who appreciates organization and preparation. I feel strongly that when you believe that you will succeed, prepare to succeed, and are organized to succeed, you will succeed. The reason why the night in the kitchen went so well was because the processes that the chef put in place were customized for his staff and his guests which led to a successful evening. No matter the industry, clear cut processes usually equal a happy staff and more productivity. The better your processes are, the more efficient the sales force will be, which ultimately leads to more customers. CRM can relate to all of this. When I watch “Hell’s Kitchen” on TV, I think of a sales or service staff that has no direction. Everyone seems to do their own thing and when goals are not achieved the boss freaks out. Eventually, this leads to company failure or according Chef Ramsay, “a kitchen nightmare”. This is a prime example of an organization with no CRM. When I analyze the restaurant I attended on New Year’s Eve, I see CRM…I see everyone taking responsibility for their role, following a system that is in place, which leads to a successful team win. If your sales or service staff lack direction or processes, how can you expect the company to succeed? Having a CRM is not a guarantee that success will happen. However, it’s a great start and if customized, integrated, and used properly, it will create more success then you have ever had. CRM is the foundation of success for any service or sales staff. If you are looking for a standing ovation from your customers and more productivity from your staff, I suggest starting with CRM.

 

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