There are a lot of restaurant consulting companies out there and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are good, some are not so good. Some solve your problems; some leave you with more problems. In the search for the consulting company that is right for you, look first at the company culture to determine if they are fit. If they cannot articulate their culture, then move on to the next name on your google search.
For Blue Orbit, our well-established culture sets the guardrails for every interaction, every proposal, and every solution. We keep the client informed every step of the way, and we correct course when necessary. Our culture drives every decision that we make. It is not just printed on a piece of paper that you sign when you get the company handbook. We talk about it in every Monday meeting, and we use it as the standard measure when we conduct team member evaluations and when we evaluate success during project wrap ups. Annually we reevaluate this foundation to keep our business sound and more importantly to ensure that we are providing what our clients need in an ever-changing hospitality. environment. We also evaluate and evolve our culture to ensure we consistently offer our clients more than our competitors.
We are so proud of our belief structure, that we would like to share some of it with you.
Capable of Handling the Job Being capable first means we have the resources with the right expertise. Our leadership consists of two industry veterans that have operated businesses in all facets of the hospitality industry. Their network is strong helping them to stay abreast of what is happening in the industry. Our Culinary Director has run numerous acclaimed kitchens and is well respected throughout the country; and our Creative Director has a flair for both restaurant design and graphic design, something that is rarely found in the same person. The rest of our team brings a wide variety of experience from daily operations to research and analysis.
Creatively we have designed numerous successful concepts and evaluated them carefully to make sure they will be financially successful. Capable also means we all have operations experience. If your restaurant has problems, we arrive on site, put your team at ease, make friends and start finding the solutions together. If we need to wash dishes to give you time to sit and talk with us for an hour, we wash dishes.
Approachable First and foremost, approachable means that we listen. We listen with the intention of understanding. All restaurants are different, even two different units in the same standardized brand, can be vastly different in their operational challenges. If we do not understand the problem, we can never fix them. Secondly, approachable means we build sincere and trusting relationships. This leads to collaboration throughout the project which allows us to not only get to the best solutions but to also develop solutions that you can implement and maintain after we are gone. We build lasting friendships, the kind that leave you feeling comfortable calling your project manager two years later to talk through a new challenge and get some feedback.
Industry Experts We joke often that so many Consulting Firms are “a guy with a laptop who used to work in a restaurant.” These are not industry experts. Our expertise runs from the standard restaurant model to food halls, entertainment complexes, ski resorts, large chain and small boutique hotels, breweries, movie theatres, and so much more. If we have not worked with your particular type of hospitality business, we know someone who has. Our team members all participate in the continuing education process, and we challenge ourselves to learn something new every day. The “guy with a laptop” knows one thing and one way. We know a lot of things and understand that what worked yesterday does not always work today.
Emotionally Aware Emotions run high in the hospitality industry. When we create something new or fix something that is broken, we are always working with someone’s dream. We do not take that lightly. Emotional reactions have worth. They highlight ‘sacred cows” and help us to understand tolerances. We thrive in an atmosphere of emotions because we can turn any negative emotions into positive ones creating an environment of pride and growth.
Most of all it needs to be fun, even the parts that are hard work. If you are not having fun, you should not be doing it. That goes for our team and our clients. Often, we work with owners and operators who are tired and worn down from years of daily operational challenges. We first help them to remember the things they loved about the business and then we charge full steam ahead to get them back to that place.
Value Finally, everything we do should add value to the project. A phone call should help a client to see their path more clearly or plan their time more wisely. An assessment should come with a list of quick fixes that will immediately bring more money to the bottom line along with the more long-range solution. A profit model should point out financial cliffs to avoid. A business plan should make landlords want to give you the best lease deal to have you in their development and a concept book should provide direction to shave off hours of work for architects and kitchen designers. These are only some of the services we provide, but they illustrate our commitment to adding value to everything we do.
At Blue Orbit Restaurant Consulting, we have been at this a long time, and we have learned much along the way. We are proud of what we do and how we do. We are equally proud of the relationships we maintain with our clients long after their project is finished. We honestly believe that we are unlike any other hospitality consulting firm, and we also believe that it is our commitment to our culture that drives that difference.
Michael Maxwell – Partner, Blue Orbit Restaurant Consulting