How do I turn this restaurant around?

Dear Ken Keller,

I’ve owned a restaurant for a long time. I thought things would get easier, but the business is getting more difficult.

Summer is the worst. Once school lets out, everyone heads out for vacation, and they don’t come back until August.

The city is also approving more restaurants; many of these are franchises or chains. The city needs the tax revenue. When a new place opens, people flock to it until the “newness” wears off and then folks drift back ...

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The Job Just Isn’t Getting Done

Dear Ken Keller,

I’m a business owner in my mid 50s, working long, hard hours to grow my business.

While I know every aspect of my business, technically, my weak spot is financial management.

I’m just not a “debit and credit” kind of guy and I never have been.

My issue is that my Controller isn’t doing the job I want done or the job I now know needs to be done.

This came to light recently when I attended a conference and learned what ...

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An Owner Seeks Advice

Dear KK:

My company has not performed formal performance appraisals for our employees for several years. Prior to the recession, we used to give raises along with the evaluations.

Because of the poor economic conditions we have not been able to provide raises because we did not have the money. We did not lay anyone off, but we did not hire new people either; if someone left we moved around the workload as best we could.

Maybe our industry recovered later than others, ...

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No Carrot, No Stick; No Movement

I don’t recall anyone getting into trouble when I was in elementary school. About the worst thing that could happen to you was the principal calling your home and letting your parents deal with whatever you had done.

In high school there were more serious ramifications for misbehavior. For minor offenses, there was detention, a mind numbing experience.

Transgressions escalated to calls home, a physical paddling by the assistant principal (“swats”), suspension and finally being expelled to another high school.

In the school ...

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Spending Impacts Relationships and Legacy

Economist Milton Friedman divided spending into four categories, each one impacting owners, employees, vendors, and organizational culture:

-You spend money on yourself and in doing so you’re interested in buying whatever you want most at the best price.

-You spend your money on other people, and because someone else will be the recipient, you are less invested or interested in pleasing them.

-You spend other peoples’ money on yourself and price is no longer an objection.

-You spend other people’s money on other people, ...

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