Schedulefly Stories

Growing a software business one restaurant at a time

Month: April 2013

Train people to replace yourself (new video)

Chris Sommers (Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. and Gringo in St. Louis) talks about why he hires great people and gives them opportunities to grow within his restaurants, by letting them take on more and more of the important aspects of running his business.

(If you’re reading this in email and don’t see the vid, it’s here).

Chris’s third video will cover the importance of putting the right partnership agreements in place, and we’ll be serving it up soon.

The Schedulefly Crew

ROU Raw – Restaurant social media

Chris Sommers (Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. and Gringo in St. Louis) talks about why he likes social media, the gap he saw in responding to social media mentions of his restaurants, and why he developed Sqwid to help make it easier to reward his happy customers and satisfy the occasional few that complain…

(If you’re reading this in email and don’t see the vid, it’s here)

The Schedulefly Crew

P.s. The “ROU Raw” videos contain footage we shot while filming for the Restaurant Owners Uncorked video series. We decided not to put this content into a finished video, but we liked it enough to share it here.

Money can’t buy that

Wil forwarded this to me today, and since I doubt I would have found it otherwise, I figured many of you wouldn’t either. It’s a great video with a wonderful message at the end…

If you can’t see this video in an email – here it is on Vimeo.


ROU Raw – Thoughts on food trucks

Here’s some raw footage from my discussion with Chris Sommers of Pi Pizzeria and Gringo in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. He’s talking about the pros and cons of food trucks, and since we weren’t able to get film of any of his trucks, we aren’t producing this segment as a finished video. But it’s still really, really good because he offers up lots of really insightful advice…

(If you are reading this in an email and don’t see the vid, it’s here)

Chris’s next video covers the importance of surrounding yourself with people who can run your business as well or better than you could. It’ll be finished soon.


How to negotiate the right lease for your restaurant (new video)

Chris Sommers of Pi Pizzeria and Gringo in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. talks about the importance of effective lease negotiation in the restaurant business:

If you liked this video, check out the entire Restaurant Owners Uncorked video series here, and you might also enjoy our book, “Restaurant Owners Uncorked: Twenty Owners Share Their Recipes for Success.”
The Schedulefly Crew

Pics from our recent video shoot in St. Louis….

Last week Luke Pearson (Lift Films) and I were in St. Louis, filming with Chris Sommers of Pi Pizzeria for the Restaurant Owners Uncorked video series. We had an incredible time, at some ridiculously good pizza, and got all sorts of advice and wisdom from Chris on film.

Here’s a few pics from the trip…

The first of Chris’s three vids will be ready soon.


The fundamentals can take you very far

I read a great blog post recently about designing software for people and how the term “User Experience” (or “UX”) is thrown around so much these days – and it can mean a lot of different things to different kinds of people. This term spun off of the term “User Interface” (or “UI”) – which is more simply, how a human interacts the software. The end of the post, which explained why UX usually confuses matters, was this sentence…

“But for software makers, I recommend starting with a strong understanding of UI by itself. The fundamentals can take you very far.”

This rings so true in nearly every thing I can think of. As a non-business example, the worlds best golfers have a strong understanding of the fundamentals – and they practice the fundamentals every day. Nothing more. They focus on the simple fundamentals of the game – the same thing the best golfers from 60 years ago focused on. Things like a good grip, good posture and good balance throughout the swing. These things solve the problem of hitting a golf ball well. No one is ever going to come along with some new swing feature that is going to make golfers any better. The best in the world beat the others by consistently applying the fundamentals.

So in terms of software and business, what I got out of the article today is that people are sort of forgetting that the fundamentals of software can really take them a long way. Very basic user interface design being the fundamentals – might be all you ever need. It’s really true. I think with all the problems (simple and complicated) in the world that are good candidates for needing a software solution – most are seeing over complicated solutions. Part of that is the excitement about how many millions (or billions) of people might end up needing it – so it attracts huge amounts of venture capital that it doesn’t need. So it then has no other option but to get bigger and more complicated by creating and selling more features in order to create a bigger return for the investors. Not many investors will be happy with a simple, useful design that solves just one problem well – would they? Another part of it is that people apply either the wrong technology or too much technology – simply because it exists and they can. They started out with a good idea and a simple solution to a core problem and then decided to try and make it better by adding too much and solving too many problems. In many cases, the problem did not change, but the solution did anyway.

I bet, in the future, we see more people getting back to the basics of problem solving and focusing on the fundamentals. Taking baby steps, when solving a problem successfully, might be the only steps people ever need to take.


p.s Here is the article from software designer Ryan Singer. He is a smart person.

A big thank you to all restaurant owners and staff…

Last night I thanked my wife for making dinner and for some reason blurted out, “I am always thankful to anybody who nourishes me.” That got me to thinking about how much I appreciate restaurants. How thankful I am not only to be a part of a business that serves them, but simply that they exist as a vital part of every community.

Restaurants provide people with a place to gather with friends, a place to come in from the cold and have a warm meal, a place to cool off and replenish, a place to take your significant other for a quiet, romantic evening, a place to relax while somebody provides you sustenance, and so on. I could make this list a mile long.

So, thank you. Thank you to all of you who own, manage and work for restaurants. I tip my hat to you and offer my absolute appreciation for what you do.

Thank you to the hosts and hostesses who greet us with a smile when we walk in your door, and happily find us a nice table where we can take a load off and enjoy our meal.

Thank you to the servers who also greet us with a smile, and then spend the next 30-60 minutes taking care of us, offering recommendations, noticing when our water is empty, checking in to make sure all is well, and so forth.

Thank you to the bartenders who mix up our drinks with passion and attention to detail, who somehow manage to juggle 50 things at once and still get it all right without breaking a sweat.

Thank you to the managers who genuinely care if we are enjoying our meal and our time in your establishments and stop by to check on us, who see everything that’s happening and make adjustments on the fly to make sure everything runs smoothly each and every meal.

Thank you to the cooks who prepare the meals that nourish us. You are mostly behind the scenes but your work is like art and it’s what gives our bodies the nourishment we need to continue our day.

Thank you to all of the other roles and positions I’ve left out. Every single one of you is absolutely critical to the success of our visits to your establishments.

Finally, thank you to the restaurant owners who’ve hung an “Open” sign on your door and welcome us into your establishments day in and day out. You’ve taken significant risks, you’ve poured your hearts and sweat and tears into the success of your businesses, you’ve provided your entire team with an opportunity to earn a living, and you do more for your communities than most people will ever know.

I couldn’t be happier, and more proud, that Schedulefly serves businesses like yours!


Advice for aspiring restaurant owners

Tad Peelen (Joe’s Real BBQ, Joe’s Farm Grill) rattles off some excellent advice for anybody who thinks they’d like to be a restaurant owner. This is really, really good stuff and will set you on the right track and help you minimize the many risks involved….

This wraps up our series of vids with Tad and his biz partner Joe Johnston. Luke ( and I are heading to St. Louis next week to film the next edition of this series.


If you like this video, here’s the entire Restaurant Owners Uncorked video collection.

Powered by