Wes and I have an idea for a restaurant. I have no idea if we’ll ever do it, but if we do, I’m confident we’ll run it very similarly to how we run Schedulefly.
Just as we currently focus on having a very simple, high quality, carefully designed software, I’m confident our restaurant menu would be very simple, carefully planned, and using only high quality ingredients. The core product simply has to be awesome, whether it’s software or food. I wouldn’t be a part of a business that didn’t have an absolutely exceptional product. Why bother? I can’t imagine waking up every day and being a part of a business that had an average, uninspiring product.
Just as we take excellent care of our Schedulefly customers and never forget that they are the reason we are so lucky to be able to work on our business every day, we’d make sure we and our team did the same in a restaurant. Anything less just wouldn’t cut it. Again, why bother being in business unless you plan to take extremely good care of your customers and be extremely easy to do business with? For example, I recently blogged about how a restaurant owner reacted to an exploded ketchup bottle – I guarantee we’d respond the same way.
Just as we only bring the very best people onto the Schedulefly team (there are now 5 of us), we’d do the same at our restaurant. As Tad Peelen of Joe’s Real BBQ told me recently, “It’s very important to be patient when you hire. Don’t hire somebody quickly just to fill a spot. Wait to hire the BEST person for that spot. It’s always worth the wait to ensure you get the best person.” In the last 15 months, we’ve hired Charles and Hank here at Schedulefly. We literally could not have found better people, no matter how hard we tried. They are both top, top shelf – guys we’re extremely proud to have on our team, and guys who know how to treat customers the same way we do. Nobody has to coach them – and we’d never want to have to coach people on how to take care of customers at a restaurant. Happy to train them on how to bartend – but not on how to make people feel special when they are in our place. That skill would be an absolute, unconditional pre-requisite.
Just as we don’t do any conventional marketing at Schedulefly (no emails, no ads, etc.), but rather prefer to invest back into the restaurant community with things like our video series or our book, we’d do the same with or restaurant. We’d invest into cool community events, schools, non-profits, and so forth by providing free catering, gift certificates, etc. I’m convinced that the best way to a healthy bottom line is ironically to focus not on your bottom line, but rather on giving to your community. Doing right by your community will not only be meaningful to the people and events you invest in, but ultimately to your business.
Finally, just as we’ve built Schedulefly one customer at a time over nearly six years, letting word-of-mouth be our best “marketing” and our happy users be our informal “ambassadors” (we have no formal “ambassador” program, and we never will), we’d build our restaurant the same way. Slow but steady, with the long term vision always in place, which would be to build an institution in the community that endures and ages like a fine wine, getting better over time and drawing more people through the doors every year.
I’m not saying I know how to run a successful restaurant, or that our way is the right way. In fact, there is no right way, and I know that because I’ve interviewed a bunch of successful restaurant owners for our Restaurant Owners Uncorked projects, and they’ve all been successful for doing things their own way. And I guess that’s the point – if we ever do get into the restaurant business, we’ll do it the only way we know how, which is how we’re running Schedulefly.
If you like this you might also like a brief video I made about Our Strategy here at Schedulefly. It was made before we hired Charles and Hank. But the strategy hasn’t changed one bit.