In restaurant training, our mistakes, as much as our successes, define us and can help steer us forward today. With this in mind, here are 10 lessons learned over the last 20 years of doing business that are now part of my thinking.
1. Think Marathon, Not Sprint
As your restaurant training career progresses, you encounter the same situations and people over and over.With this in mind, sometimes the best business decisions are made with a long-term goal in mind, even at the cost of sacrificing short-term gains. But, thinking of this as a long-term race, instead of your short-term goal this week, will help you make smarter decisions.
2. There Are Incredibly Smart People Who Will Help You If You Ask
One of my early mentors told me how he would reach out to people he admired and ask them a few questions. Always done in a respectful way and mindful of their time, he was successful in getting some great counsel and often a new friendship or relationship with this person. And damn if he wasn’t right – it totally works.
3. Leadership Doesn’t Need A Title
Don’t wait for the title to lead. In restaurant training, leadership is about helping the business succeed and helping those around you make that happen. Leadership is also about trust and those around you knowing you have their back. Too many young employees and managers feel like “When I get that title, I can really guide this place.” You should be thinking about how you can show leadership on your first day. If you know nothing else about what is going on, start to get to know people and what they are doing or working on, their background, and what makes them tick. Your influence starts with orientation. Good leaders don’t wait for titles.
4. How You Handle The Big Screw-Up
Over time, in restaurant training, you are going to make some colossal blunders. Epic screw-ups. Personally, I had a history of making all the right moves – uncannily so. Then 1-2 big missteps sent me rocketing backward. When failure eventually happens, how you handle it will define you. Do rise to the occasion and accept responsibility or do you fall in a pit, never to be heard from again? Do you blame everyone else, or do you face it head-on, smile, and say, “what’s next?” How you handle it sends a clear signal of your mettle to both friends and your business network. Leadership is as much about defeat as it is about success.
That’s all I got for today! John