The System Will Set You Free!

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.

Here’s a question for all you restaurant owners out there.

Can you take two weeks off right now without your restaurant falling apart?

Can you take ONE or TWO days off every week without your restaurant falling apart?

If the answer is YES, you are a business builder – you have built a valuable business system.

If you are a manager, and you have built a great system and you have free time, you are ready for a promotion.

If the answer is NO, you have a glorified job! You are the system. You are the restaurant.

If you can’t take a day or a week off – you don’t have a system, - and it’s your own damn fault. If you are a manager and you don’t have a great system – you are in deep trouble…


Do you walk into the restaurant in the morning and realize that there are things that didn’t get done last night, like the dish machine didn’t get drained or the kitchen door didn’t get locked, or the top bar didn’t get cleaned, or the linen didn’t get taken out, or the credit cards didn’t get batched…?

Do you watch your cooks put plates in the window that don’t meet the standard?

Do you have dirty restrooms and under-performing sales people? Are you the man with the plan, the only one in your restaurant who can do it the right way? Do have a hard time finding people who know how to do their job, the right way?

Are you the smartest kid in the dumb class?

The truth is that most restaurants have these same exact problems…

When I was a young chef, I worked my ass off 65-75 hours a week, seven days a week, my restaurants had great food. I used to look down at restaurants like Applebee’s and Olive Garden, because my food was better than their food.

As I have gotten older I have realized a few things. Applebee’s and Olive Garden have hundreds of restaurants that turn consistently good food day after day. It may not be GREAT, but it’s good enough.

Applebee's and Olive Garden measure their sales by the Billion, and their profits by - Hundreds of Millions. Their CEO can take a day off every week and a nice vacation every year. Their CEO get’s paid Millions of dollars a year and has a great retirement package.

The difference is they have SYSTEMS - that train their people and I did not!

It is the quality of the system that makes things work. When they lose an employee, they have a system to hire and train the next employee.

When I lose a cook, I have to post a job on Craigslist and do the work myself, until someone good shows up… You know exactly what I’m talking about - right? I’m sure you do…

There has to be a better way

Let’s move on to… THING TWO: Management…

Management is Simple – It is not easy – But it is simple. The owner decides what they want done and then they hire managers and work with the managers to build a repeatable system to bring their dream to life and make it happen over and over again, day after day, for the next 10 to 20 years.

The System is the who, what, where, when, why and how of your restaurant. The system tells your people how we do it here. The system is the answers to the most frequently asked questions. The system is the recipe book, with pictures of every dish and every procedure in the business.

You need a system for each key part of your restaurant. You need a Money Management System to collect money from your customers and get it ALL into the bank. Then you need a system for spending the money – this is called a budget.

You need a Marketing System to get people from the street into your restaurant. You need a system to Deliver the Customer Promise, that’s what we promise to do for the customer in exchange for their money. Your sales people need to know the steps of service so they don’t bring the entrée before the appetizers. Hey don’t laugh, some people don’t understand that simple concept - because they have even eaten in a good restaurant, people need to be taught the basic basics from the very beginning.

You need an in store Sales System for your waiters who are also known as sales people.

Your waiters and sales people need a script, to guide them and the customer through the steps of service.

You need a system to Recruit, Hire, Train and Manage your Team… Got it,

Ok, Let’s move on to THING THREE:

Management works like this. Imagine that you are the only employee of your restaurant. It would be pretty easy to do because you know exactly what you want to happen from start to finish. You can make it up as you go. You can adapt on the fly.

Now imagine that you want to take a day off and have the restaurant stay open. This means you would have to get someone else to run the restaurant for you. This means you would have to train them or teach them – how to do the job. Think about that - You would not just hand them the keys and say – the restaurant is over there – have fun, see you tomorrow, would you? Of course not - You would spend time with them and teach them exactly what to do and how to do it.

You would use these different techniques:

· Show & Tell

· Written Instructions

· Picture & Video

Remember - This is your restaurant and your business. It is your duty to make it succeed.

You are not a cook, you are not a bartender. You are a leader, your job is to lead!

If you are listening to this podcast you are most likely the owner, the manager or the leader.

You must give your people the answers. You must teach them exactly what to do and exactly how to do it. And you must work with them until they do it exactly the way you want it done, every time, every day for the next 10 – 20 years. You must have a long term mindset.

Here’s is a really important thing – I want you to pay attention. Your people need a checklist of everything that they are supposed to do from the time they walk in the door until they leave.

This check list should be divided into three parts.

1. Opening Duties

2. During Shift Duties

3. Closing Duties

The opening duties must be inspected by a manager before the restaurant opens.

The During Shift Duties must be supervised and monitored by a manager during service.

The closing checklist must be checked off at the end of the shift and signed by the employee. The checklist is then given to the shift leader for their inspection, approval and signature.

Then these lists must be placed on the office desk for inspection by the opening manager or owner in the morning, and the process begins again and again, over and over and over.


If you really want to win – you must build a system. Then you must work with your people and train them to operate that system by themselves, every day for the next 10 – 20 years… YES, your people will change, but your system will not. The system is the glue that holds it all together.

The Best restaurants and the best chefs have the best systems.

If your people cannot operate the system without you – you have one of two problems.

1. Your system sucks or

2. Your people suck

Now hear this – 90% of the time when something goes wrong, it is NOT the fault of the employee. It is the fault of the system, this is a management problem and then it is an ownership problem.

Here’s how it is supposed to work: The Owner Supports the Managers

The Managers support the Employees & Team Members.

The Employees and Team Members Serve and Support the Customer.

If you are the owner, you must work with your managers to develop a system that works.

If you are a manager, it is your duty to build and operate a system that makes your owner proud of you and the restaurant. When you do this – you will become Very Valuable - and you will deserve a bigger reward.

If your boss has to come in a bail you out – over and over again – she will not be happy and you will probably not be getting a raise any time soon.

The job of a Manager is to Manage the business for the owner. The best way to get a bigger reward is to provide more profit to the owner. This sounds really simple and logical because it is.

Whether you are the owner or a manager – It is YOUR Duty to achieve RESULTS.

The World rewards people based on RESUTS - not how hard they work - or how much they bitch. Time and effort is irrelevant. RESULTS Matter. It’s time to stop being a Martyr and start thinking, managing and leading…


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

If you really want to turn your restaurant and your life around in the next 90-Days, here’s my three step Plan.

1- SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PODCAST - This weekly pep talk will keep you on your toes and give you inspiration to keep moving forward.

2- BUY MY BOOK - I have written a book called Restauranting 101, it focuses on Eight Basic Fundamentals and it has the power to change your life and it's available on Amazon today. This book will catapult your knowledge into the top 5% of all restaurant owners.

Then, after that you can

3- SIGN UP FOR A FREE CONSULTATION - We will have a discussion about you and your restaurant, if we agree that I can help you, we can move to step four.

4- ONE ON ONE COACHING - We all need a Coach… as a restaurant owner you need someone to talk to who understands your struggles and can hold you ACCOUNTABLE for the results. I want to be your coach…

As always, If you have any questions or comments or an idea for a future podcast, please send me an email at foodguru@foodguru.comI would love to hear from you.

Thanks for listening

Now I want you to get out there and – Build a Better System…!

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