S5E37: Return on Ingredients and the Restaurant Institute with Mark Kelnhofer

“Cost structure is a process; it’s about applying managerial cost concepts to the restaurant industry.” Mark Kelnhofer

My guest is Mark Kelnhofer, president, and CEO of Return on Ingredients LLC. Mark is an international speaker and author on recipe costing and menu engineering. In addition, he has more than 25 years of experience in the bottom line, boosting accounting. After graduating from Ohio Dominican University with his undergraduate degree, he immediately entered the manufacturing Academy. He spent eight years in various industries, including plastic injection molding, lighting equipment, transit buses, and tire repair products. Mark incorporates his extensive background throughout the episode as he discusses his entrepreneurial mindset.

Mark talks about cost structure and what it entails in a restaurant business—giving practical examples from his brush with the restaurant industry. His ability to make the lessons he has gotten from the diverse industries that he has been in and put them all in his company Return on Ingredients LLC.

In the restaurant industry, different things can lead to cost implications, and a lack of instructions on cost controls can significantly improve efficiency and measure waste and profit. The data being gathered daily helps an organization respond to a situation not only then but also on how to respond to the problem quickly. You may have the mechanism in place, but if you do not understand how to make proper decisions, you can easily create a wrong decision.

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S5E32: Way Off Base: The Death of Ego in Modern Leadership with Peter Margaritis

“The collective knowledge outside your office far exceeds the collective knowledge inside your office.” Peter Margaritis

We all have an ego. Some egos are underdeveloped, others are well developed, and yet others are overdeveloped. Overdeveloped egos can, in some cases, ultimately transform into full-blown narcissism. Conversely, when a person’s ego becomes overdeveloped, they can begin to operate from the perspective that the world revolves around them.

More often than not, narcissistic leaders stop listening to those around them, which ends up creating toxic cultures. CEOs who make everything about them and disregard the advice from their teams are doomed for failure. Listening to understand is one of the critical components of leadership, yet it’s just on the side because of an overdeveloped ego.

Leaders who lead with an improv leadership style have a foundation of respect, trust, and support for their organization and people. These leaders know how to suspend their judgment, be active listeners, and be present and adaptable. They also believe and ultimately understand that leadership is the positive effect you have on another person. In improv leadership, you praise a teammate in public and only criticize them when appropriate and in private.

S5E25: Tips and Techniques on Becoming a Better Salesperson with Lon Graham

“To get what you want as a sales professional, you have to connect with the person who has it, and that person is your client.” Lon Graham

My guest is Lon Graham, who’s a speaker coaching advocate. Lon speaks to sales teams, coaches, and sales leaders and is an advocate for sales professionals. He is also an award-winning sales and leadership professional. His message of getting the sales you want comes from over 25 years of experience in healthcare, corporate programs, events, and the airline industry. Lon is an active member of the National Speakers Association.

Sales are complex, and two statistics prove that. The first statistic is that sales have the highest turnover; a third of the sales force leaves yearly, which is 10 points higher than any other profession. The second statistic is that the average tenure of a sales professional is a year and a half.

There is transformational power in being nice to people. If you start by being nice to people, talking to them, and spending a little bit of time getting to know them, they will be more inclined to want to talk to you, and then they will give you a chance to come back.

The four C’s is a framework designed to get people to become better at sales. The first C is Choice which addresses how to choose what you want. The following C is Commit, which addresses the steps to take for you to progress towards that goal. The third C is Connect which is about knowing who to connect with. Finally, the fourth C is celebrating, which is about recognizing the progress that you’ve made and acknowledging wins.

To get what you want as a sales professional, you have to connect with the person who has it; that person is your client. What makes sales so hard is how to connect with your client. The starting point is meeting your client in their story and understanding what they’re doing and what they’re dealing with so that you can provide solutions to their challenges. When you do that, they’re going to connect with you, and they’re going to help you get what you want. The four Cs framework is shaped like a wheel because it’s progressive.

The two things that are so important for sales professionals to learn are first, what your client or potential client does best, and their productivity. The second thing is knowing your ideal client. By knowing these two things, you have an insight into how that potential client thinks, and if you can contribute to them doing more of what they want to do with who their ideal client is, you’ve just made them more productive and more profitable.

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Building Loyalty Through Quality

Sometimes we try to save a buck or two that ultimately may just cost us more in the long run.  

It was the Sunday after the NFL Championship game, and I woke up that morning craving some barbecue. So, for lunch, I went to a familiar barbecue joint and ordered a pulled pork sandwich to go.  The aroma filled my car ride home – love that aroma – wish I had that scent on one of those hanging car odor eliminators.  I love BBQ.  

When I got home and opened the container, although it smelled terrific, something was amiss. I took the top bun off and looked at the pork. The pork was flat dry, and it didn’t look good. I added some barbecue sauce with the hopes of reviving the sandwich. However, when I took a bite, I realized that the bun was stale, and the BBQ sauce didn’t restore the sandwich.  I was sorely disappointed in this pulled pork sandwich and wondered what went wrong.  Then it dawned on me. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.  

Being Greek American, I have worked in several restaurants since the age of 12. Side note: when I graduated college, I thought I would be in the restaurant business for the rest of my life!   Back to the story – I completely understand the relevance of food costs. Restaurants are in a business where the product needs to be sold at a price that will cover the food costs and a portion of administrative costs. That’s the only way to turn a profit. It’s that simple. 

In this case, however, the pork and the bun were both from the previous day – old meat and a stale bun. The restaurant may have helped to control their food costs by doing this, but they created an unhappy customer in the process… a customer who is now most unlikely to make a return visit, and, will share the story with others! Saving a few pennies is not worth losing a customer. In this era of social media, bad reviews, pictures of the disappointing meal, and word of mouth can significantly impact your business.  

In the long run, the person preparing the sandwich should have asked themselves, “Would I eat this sandwich knowing that the quality was not up to standard?”  The answer should be no. However, the company policy might be to first use up yesterday’s food before using what is freshly prepared for that day. That type of policy is not a sustainable strategy. 

We all make mistakes. I get it, and I’m very empathetic to everyone in the restaurant business, especially during this pandemic. And, we must always watch our costs in order make a profit, but revenue drives that profit. If we don’t get return business, we lose revenue, and the business loses sustainability and growth. Period.

However, there seems to be a new way of controlling food costs: shrinkflation.  Using less food to help control food costs. There is a national sub shop chain that has been using this strategy. I ordered a turkey sub with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and mustard. What showed up was a sub roll with very little of the ingredients requested.  I have stopped ordering from this chain.  

Now, take this scenario into every business and apply the same analogy. I’ll use the professional speaking business as an example. As I do, think about your business. Have you ever attended a conference or seminar that feels like a canned presentation?  Or better yet, you attend a conference and recognize one of the speakers you enjoyed five years ago. You look at the title of the presentation, and it doesn’t sound like the presentation before. You decide to sit in their presentation, only to realize it is the same presentation that the speaker did five years ago, word for word— it just has a different title. Yesterday’s leftover food – old meat and a stale bun.   As a professional speaker, I customize my presentation to each audience and never do the same presentation twice.  Yes, this takes a lot of work –  and it has been a key driver in the success of my business for 12 years.  I will never serve leftovers to my audience or client. It’s simply not a good business plan or practice.  

The many years I spent in the restaurant business taught me a lot about customer service that I use in my business today.  We all need to remember that we are in the people business. We have no business when we don’t treat our people and customers with the respect they deserve and provide them with a consistent, reliable, and top-quality product or service.  Period

BTW- If you are ever in Bloomington, MN, you must go to Ciao Bella. Ciao Bella understands this philosophy, provides the best customer service, and backs it with a quality product. If you happen to go, ask for Sue, and tell her that I sent you. 

Contact me at peter@petermargaritis.com if you would like to discuss how to increase your customer loyalty.

S5E14: Fresh Approach Beats Out Cost Control

We are in the people business and we need to treat our people and customers with the respect that they deserve.” Peter Margaritis

Saving a few pennies is not worth losing a customer. In this era of social media, bad reviews, pictures of disappointing meals, and word of mouth can significantly impact your business. While we must always watch our costs in order to make a profit, it is important to realize that it is the revenues that drive that profit. If we don’t get a return business, we lose revenue, and the business loses sustainability and growth period.

As a professional speaker, I customize my presentation to each audience and never do the exact same presentation twice. It takes a lot of work, and has been a key driver in the success is my business for 12 years. I will never serve leftovers to my audience or client. It’s simply not a good business plan or practice.

We all need to remember that we are in the people business. We have no business when we don’t treat our people and customers with the respect that they deserve, and provide them with a constantly reliable and top quality product or service