On the Food Network television show “Restaurant Impossible”, celebrity chef Robert Irvine takes a failing business and turns it out around in two days on a $10,000 budget.
Unlike other Food Network shows, this one isn’t just a food competition. Restaurant Impossible touches on all the aspects of running a business, including hiring, management, service, revenue, and more.
The similarities between restaurants and a startup are incredible.
Starting a restaurant and starting a tech startup seem super glamorous. Everyone dreams of being the boss at their own restaurant, sitting back with a Manhattan while the place runs itself and customers pour in.
And if you read TechCrunch every day, you will get the impression that starting a company is easy. Everyone is raising tons of money and gaining traction.
But that’s wrong. It’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. It doesn’t matter how many employees you have. You have to give it 110%.
The most common scenario on “Restaurant Impossible” is when a restaurant that was once thriving has lost its way. The reasons are almost identical to why a startup might fail:
- The business stops innovating. You can’t let this happen. You have to keep changing and evolving. Your comptition will.
- Employee quality goes down. You might make a mediocre hire, then another, then another. All of a sudden the quality of your team is way down. You need to cut them loose.
- Your design gets stale. You must always be refreshing and giving customers something new and exciting.
- The business is not metrics driven. There is no way to scale a company if you aren’t looking at metrics. Even restaurants need to understand their “users”.
- Service quality goes down. It’s hard to scale this, but it’s important to keep overall sentiment and word of mouth positive.
- The business owner loses motivation. You can’t give up. It’s up to you to keep pushing forward and keep your team excited.
- Pricing doesn’t sustain the business. Often restaurants don’t raise their prices for years, even though costs have gone up. Similarly, startups sometimes never even find a business model.
A business owner or startup founder/CEO is trying to keep an existing business running, while still looking ahead to where the business needs to be in 3 or 5 years.
If you stop moving forward, you’ll slowly see that you’re actually moving backwards, as users leave and go elsewhere.