Freedom & Independence


My goal is the teach restaurant owners and managers like you, to focus on Eight Basic Fundamentals that lead to a better life and financial freedom. Today’s podcast focuses on Fundamental #2, Developing the Owner Mindset.

This week I got to watch fireworks with my friends. In Iowa City, we had fireworks on the 4th and the 5th. This got me to thinking about how lucky we all are to live in the United States of America.

It got me onto the word FREEDOM: Let’s take a look at what freedom is.

· Freedom is the power to act, speak or think as we want, without hinderance or restraint.

· Freedom is the absence of a foreign or a despotic ruler.

· Freedom is the state of not being imprisoned, incarcerated or enslaved.

· Freedom is the ability to act or do or change as one chooses or desires without constraint by an outside force.

We have all these freedoms because our forefathers fought to make them happen. Brave men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Thomas Paine risked their lives to make it happen. We have freedom to do as we please because brave men and women wear our military uniforms and protect us from the evil that would happily destroy our way of life.

Here is a quote from George Orwell. “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”I love that quote.

Today I want to reflect on the different types of freedom that we get to enjoy…

In America We have:

Personal Freedom

Religious Freedom

Spiritual Freedom

Political Freedom

We have Personal Freedom to Choose:

· Between good or evil

· Between right and wrong

· We get to choose who we marry.

· What we do for a living.

· Whether we go to school or drop out.

· We can read and educate ourselves or smoke pot and play video games all day.

· We can get a job, or stay home and collect government handouts.

· We are free to do it today or blow it off until tomorrow or maybe the next day.

· We have the freedom to come and go as we please, we can go out, or stay home.

· We can walk or drive from Maine to California without a border check.

· We have the freedom to bear arms or have an abortion.

· We have the freedom to choose between what our base, lizard brain wants us to do and what our higher minded universal conscience wants us to do.

· You can marry a man or a women, but you can only be married to one person at a time. So choose Wiseley.

· We can go to the gym, or stay home and smoke cigarettes

· it’s completely up to us, we have the freedom to choose.

We have Religious & Spiritual Freedom:

We have the freedom to worship any way we want to without fear of persecution.

We can be Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, Baptist, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, or Atheist.

We have Political Freedom: We can be democrat, republican, libertarian, or communist.

We have the right to vote. We can vote for any candidate we choose,

These Freedoms are guaranteed under the United States Constitution.

Now I want to shift gears and talk about two types of freedom that are not guaranteed.

These are Financial Freedom and Professional Freedom. These two freedoms require you to be as brave and savvy as Samuel Adams and John Hancock.

Let’s Start with Financial Freedom:

Money is NOT FREE, Money is NOT Guaranteed. Money is not an inalienable right.

Hey, there is a fun word, inalienable right. There is also another word that appears in the US constitution called unalienable rights, what’s the difference?

The good news is that inalienable or unalienable are the same thing…

We all have the inalienable and unalienable right to - Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Yes, I know there are programs for people who need a helping hand, for basics like food, clothing and shelter and that is a good thing. I know that we have un-employment insurance (That we the Restaurant owners are forced to pay.) Yes, I know that we have Social Security for when we hit a certain age. (That we the restaurant owners are forced to match)

BUT – that still doesn’t give you the right to as much money as you want. You have the freedom to pursue it, and the right to have as much as you can earn, but it is not a guarantee or an inalienable right.

Here’s a freedom that we do have - We do have the freedom to spend and save our money wisely and we also have the freedom and inalienable right to squander it like a drunken sailor. Today in 2019, there are people who manage their money and people who let their money manage them. Our choices create our financial freedom or financial struggles. It all comes down to our money mindset. Rich people save first and spend what is left over, and poor people spend first and save what is left over.

Money can keep you in bondage – here’s how that works:

· Think about the guy who makes $100,000 a year and spends it all, trying to keep up with the Jones’ and enjoy the good life, and by the age of 50 or 60 he has nothing to show for it.

· Think about the person who racks up $25,000 of credit card debit at a very young age and only makes the minimum payment each month?

· Think about the person who doesn’t pay their student loans and has a 500 credit score? When will they ever be able to buy a house and live the American dream.

The American dream isn’t dead, the American dream is alive and well for the people who are smart and use their resources wisely. Remember, we have the right to pursue these dreams, but there is no guarantee that we will achieve them, pursuit is one thing, achievement is another.

Money can buy freedom. Here’s how that works:

· Imagine that you start working at 21 and you are really smart, you save and invest your money wisely. Rob Gronkowski is a great example of this. Rob played football for the New England Patriots… He lived off his endorsements. During his career he made 54 Million Dollars and saved every penny – amazing! Today he is retired and has the freedom to do whatever he pleases. That’s freedom.

Freedom is not having to work at a job you hate because you are broke and this is your only option. Freedom is being able to work on your terms, to pick the projects that interest and appeal to you. Freedom comes from saving 10-20% of every dollar that you earn, starting with your first dollar. Freedom comes from having a $25,000 emergency fund and a well-funded IRA.

We create our own freedom: Today in 2019, there are people who have managed their money and people who have let their money put them in a very deep financial hole. Financial freedom will allow you do come and go as you please. Financial freedom will allow you to travel and see the world. Financial freedom will allow you to live in a great home and enjoy the best things that life has to offer.

Let’s Look at Professional Freedom:

You have the inalienable right to pursue any career or opportunity that you choose. You have the freedom to open and operate any type of restaurant that you desire. AND, the market also has the right to support your quest – or not.

We the people have the freedom to come to your restaurant or not. We the people have the freedom and the right to work for you or not. Provided that we meet the minimum standards and are able to perform the work. BUT – you do not have the right to force us to eat your food, drink your drinks or wash your dishes. Isn’t that interesting?

Another way to say that is – You have the freedom to open a restaurant, but you are NOT Entitled to customers or employees or a certain amount of sales each day, week or month.

It is up to you to make it happen. If you want professional freedom YOU have to make it happen. If you want to own a restaurant you must save the money and make it happen.If you want to be the Head Chef you must have the qualifications and be able to do the work. If you want professional freedom YOU must make it HAPPEN. The government will not make it happen for you, it is not an inalienable right.

Professional freedom comes from building a great restaurant and having excellent systems in place. Professional freedom comes from having a team of full time, well trained professionals who work as hard as you do to make the restaurant succeed.

IF you are the restaurant owner and you want to take a day off, you must make that happen.

A day off – IS - an inalienable right for an employee, but a day off is not an inalienable right for the owner of the restaurant. It’s true, if your restaurant is open 7 days a week, and you can’t find enough people to work on Sunday – YOU have two choices (close for the day or work.) that’s it.

Here are a few questions to illustrate my point:

Can you write a schedule with properly trained people in every position for every shift?

Can you write a schedule and have 100% attendance for every shift? Do your people know their job or do they need constant direction and baby- sitting? Do you have a team of full time professionals or are you trying to patch it together with part time people who have part time attitudes. Is your restaurant operating at peak efficiency or are you limping along, praying for someone good to come and save you from yourself?

Here’s the Big Question, get ready…

Can you take a day off without your restaurant falling apart? Can you take a two week vacation right now without your restaurant falling apart?

If you answered YES to all these questions, you have real freedom. I am very happy for you.

If you did not answer yes to the questions above - you are a slave to your business.

You have a demanding and relentless master.

Here’s another one for you. If you have more bills than money, and you can’t afford to hire a manager, do you have freedom? Do you have the basic freedoms that are guaranteed by the US Constitution or are you an indentured slave?

Hey, I decided to close my restaurants on Sundays. I did this so that everyone gets one complete and uninterrupted day off – every week, even me. I did it for quality of life.

Here’s another BIG question for some of you? Can you afford to pay yourself minimum wage? When the federal minimum wage goes to $15 an hour will you still be able to pay yourself minimum wage? When the federal minimum wage goes to $15 an hour will you still have health insurance and the ability to take a day off?

Wow, Wow, Wow and Wow!

OK, that’s enough for today - Let’s wrap this up.

You have the freedom to do and be anything or anyone you choose. Please don’t waste this freedom that so many people have fought and died to give to you. Always remember, that freedom isn’t free, it comes with the responsibility. It is your responsibility, defend your freedom - to make things happen for yourself, your family and your people.

My Name is Peter Harman, I am the Food Guru. My goal is to start a restaurant revolution where every restaurant owner in America has the information they need to create financial freedom and live the life of their dreams.

The truth is that most restaurant owners don’t have a strategic plan, they are like fire fighters, trying to put out 1000 different fires all at the same time. Because of this, 80% of all restaurants go broke in the first five years. This leads to financial ruin and destroyed lives. This breaks my heart.

My goal is the teach restaurant owners and managers like you, to focus on Eight Basic Fundamentals that lead to financial freedom and a better life.

Because of this I dedicate my time and effort to this weekly pep talk. I do not have sponsors, because I want to get my message straight to you without interruption.

My only goal is to help restaurant owners and managers like you build simple systems that will allow you to take home 10% of your annual sales as the profit, you richly deserve. Not just for one year, but for the next ten – twenty years.

I have written a book called Restauranting 101, it focuses on Eight Basic Fundamentals that will help you propel your restaurant into the top 5% of all restaurants. This book is available on Amazon, it has the power to change your life starting right now – today. I encourage you to read it, and if you really like it, buy a few extra copies for your key people to read also.

These eight basic fundamentals have helped me and my teams accomplish amazing results, I’m sure it will help you and your people too.

If you like this podcast please share it with your friends. If you know someone who owns or manages a restaurant, please tell them about this podcast and this book.

If you have any comments or question or a topic that you would like me to cover in a future pep talk please send me an email at

Thanks for Listening…

Now I want you to get out there and build a life of FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE…

Peter Harman is The Bill Belichick of the restaurant business.

Reese Morgan, Legendary Iowa Hawkeye Football Coach

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