Leadership skills

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: July 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: July 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative June book selections will take your front and back of house to the next level, and help develop your leadership skills.

To review the book recommendations from June 2023, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon (Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon)

This is the English-language edition of the 2012 World Gourmand Book of the Year. You can pick it up at Amazon via this link, but it will cost you over $150 to do so. So, here’s the link to the book from the Au Pied de Cochon online store.

Those who have read this book describe it as one part recipe book, one part art piece. It’s difficult to categorize this book at all, really. It’s a journal, a recipe book, a culinary masterpiece, and a collection of scientific knowledge. In less than 400 pages, Martin Picard chronicles a year in the life of his restaurant, and shares 100 recipes and 2000 photographs, along a depth of culinary information, the value of which can’t be overstated. Pick it up today or find it at a library if you can.

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

If you look at your role in foodservice as more than just a paycheck, you already view cooking as important. It has real value and inspires you, stoking your passion for this business. But what if the importance of cooking is beyond just “important”? What if it’s directly responsible for human evolution? This book by anthropologist and primatologist Richard Wrangham puts forth and defends this evolutionary theory.

From Amazon: “In a groundbreaking theory of our origins, Wrangham shows that the shift from raw to cooked foods was the key factor in human evolution. When our ancestors adapted to using fire, humanity began. Once our hominid ancestors began cooking their food, the human digestive tract shrank and the brain grew. Time once spent chewing tough raw food could be used instead to hunt and to tend camp. Cooking became the basis for pair bonding and marriage, created the household, and even led to a sexual division of labor.

“Tracing the contemporary implications of our ancestors diets, Catching Fire sheds new light on how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today. A pathbreaking new theory of human evolution, Catching Fire will provoke controversy and fascinate anyone interested in our ancient origins – or in our modern eating habits.”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

If you prefer your self-improvement and leadership books coated in gobs of sugar and wrapped in sheets of positivity, prepare for a shock. Author Mark Manson isn’t a sunshine, daisies, unicorns, and lemons-to-lemonade type of person. Instead, Manson thinks people need to toughen up and learn how to simply deal with being handed lemons. However, this isn’t a nonstop punch to the gut or blast to the chops. Rather, Manson wants people to change their mindset and focus on what should matter.

From Amazon: “Manson makes the argument, backed by both academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited – “not everybody can be extraordinary; there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault”. Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

“There are only so many things we can give a f*ck about, so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.”

Pick this book up here!

Samsung Rising: The Inside Story of the South Korean Giant That Set Out to Beat Apple and Conquer Tech

During a recent team meeting, KRG Hospitality executive chef and culinary expert Nathen Dubé recommended this book. And while it’s the story of a massive corporation, it doesn’t read like a collection of boring essays. Rather, Samsung Rising is the true story of a family-run business that has grown from 40 employees to more than 300,000. After taking big risks and committing to building a technology empire, Samsung has nearly doubled in size in comparison to rivals Apple and Google. However, the road to creating a dynasty has been anything but smooth.

From Amazon: “Forty years ago, Samsung was a rickety Korean agricultural conglomerate that produced sugar, paper, and fertilizer, located in a backward country with a third-world economy. With the rise of the PC revolution, though, Chairman Lee Byung-chul began a bold experiment: to make Samsung a major supplier of computer chips. The multimillion- dollar plan was incredibly risky. But Lee, wowed by a young Steve Jobs, who sat down with the chairman to offer his advice, became obsessed with creating a tech empire. And in Samsung Rising, we follow Samsung behind the scenes as the company fights its way to the top of tech. It is one of Apple’s chief suppliers of technology critical to the iPhone, and its own Galaxy phone outsells the iPhone.”

Grab Samsung Rising today.

Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook

Recently, we had the opportunity to attend a pre-opening event for the first Las Vegas location of Salt & Straw. Those who have visited a Salt & Straw ice cream shop know how creative the brand is when it comes to flavors. We also found their team’s service to be impeccable.

The Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook, as you may imagine, shares the brand’s recipes. Impressively, these all spring from a “base” recipe that takes just five minutes to make. This recipe book should help to inspire your own desserts.

From Amazon: “Based out of Portland, Oregon, Salt & Straw is the brainchild of two cousins, Tyler and Kim Malek, who had a vision but no recipes. They turned to their friends for advice—chefs, chocolatiers, brewers, and food experts of all kinds—and what came out is a super-simple base that takes five minutes to make, and an ice cream company that sees new flavors and inspiration everywhere they look.

“Using that base recipe, you can make dozens of Salt & Straw’s most beloved, unique (and a little controversial) flavors, including Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Roasted Strawberry and Toasted White Chocolate, and Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.

“But more importantly, this book reveals what they’ve learned, how to tap your own creativity, and how to invent flavors of your own, based on whatever you see around you. Because ice cream isn’t just a thing you eat, it’s a way to live.”

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Business Coach. Restaurant Coach. Hotel Coach. Hospitality Coach. Mindset Coach.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Use this Powerful Communication Style

The Powerful Communication Style You Should Be Using

by Jennifer Radkey

Graffiti that reads, "It doesn't have to be so complicated"

There’s a powerful method of communication operators can learn to use that promotes workplace collaboration and solves problems.

How to communicate with team members is a topic that comes up regularly in my coaching sessions with restaurant, bar, and hotel owners. Most of the concerns center around how to speak to employees when they are not following company policy; their level of service is not meeting company standards; or the quality of their work has decreased.

These are legitimate concerns when you are attempting to not only run a successful business but foster a positive work culture in your establishment.

After coaching my clients through understanding what their current style of communication looks like and how it is or is not working for them, I introduce them to a style of communication that I feel leads to the most effective overall results: the use of declarative language.

The declarative language approach was first introduced to me through a positive parenting online conference I attended. Author Linda Murphy wrote the Declarative Language Handbook, which teaches parents, caregivers, educators, and others how to communicate with children (particularly those with social learning challenges) to feel competent, connected, and understood.

As I dove into learning about this style of communication, I realized just how powerful it would be in the workplace. It is a method that can promote respect, collaboration, and empowerment. It can also, in turn, remove judgment, assumptions, hostility, and blame.

What is Declarative Language?

To answer this question, I’ll need to take you back for a quick grammar lesson.

Sentences can be categorized under four main types: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory.

Declarative sentences are statements. These can be a statement of a fact, an observation, or a feeling. For example: “It is raining out.” “I’m going to open a new bar next month.” “Pineapple should never be on pizza.”

Interrogative sentences ask a question: “Why are you late for your shift?” “How can I make a million dollars this quarter?” “Who ever thought it was a good idea to put pineapple on pizza?”

Imperative sentences give a command. “Go clean those tables.” “Follow me.” “Pick off the pineapple from that pizza.”

Exclamatory sentences show something that we would shout or emphasize with an exclamation mark: “I made a million dollars this quarter!” “Yikes!” “Pineapple on pizza is the best ever!”

Powerful Communication

So, now that you’ve had a grammar refresher, let’s take a look at how declarative language can be a powerful method for communicating, and why the other styles may not be creating the results you want to see.

As an owner or manager, you may often find yourself falling into the use of interrogative and imperative statements. The problem with this is that both styles can stir up negative emotions in the person on the receiving end.

Interrogative statements (questions) tend to incite the fight, flight, or freeze mode. People feel put on the spot and may become defensive or anxious.

Imperative statements (commands) tend to be authoritarian in nature and have the potential to create fear and/or resentment. Employees are looking for team leaders who they can respect and turn to for guidance, not someone who is constantly telling them what to do.

Declarative language, when used to state observations, can be a way to open up discussions without defensiveness or fear. It also leaves room for facts instead of assumptions. The declarative language approach that I suggest my clients use looks something like this:

  • Make an observation statement.
  • Be silent.
  • Actively listen.
  • Collaborate.
  • Actively listen.
  • Proactively decide on solutions.
  • Gratitude/Positivity.

The easiest way to demonstrate this practice is through an example or two. First, we’ll look at an example with “Sam.”

Example #1

Sam just showed up for his shift at the quick-service restaurant he works at out of uniform. His manager notices and approaches him. The declarative language approach would look something like the example below.

Manager: Hey Sam, I notice that you aren’t wearing your uniform. (Declarative observation that quietly gives time for Sam to respond.)

Sam: Yeah, sorry, I spilled coffee all down the front of my shirt on the way here and didn’t have time to go home to change.

Manager: Okay, I understand, life happens. Any ideas on how we can resolve this? (Puts power to solve the problem in Sam’s hands.)

Sam: Do you have an extra shirt I can borrow for today’s shift?

Manager: Yeah, I actually do. Great plan. Let me go grab it for you and you can use the staff washroom to get changed.

Sam: Thanks.

Manager: No problem. Have a great shift! See you out there.

As you can see from this exchange, the manager did not make any assumptions as to why Sam wasn’t in uniform. Instead, they demonstrated empathy and respect. By asking if Sam had any ideas for resolving the issue, the manager provided room for collaboration as a team. Further, this approach empowered Sam to take responsibility and come up with the solution.

Example #2

Now, let’s look at “Lisa.”

Lisa is typically very punctual for her shift working concierge at a hotel. However, the past two weeks she has been regularly showing up 10 to 15 minutes late. Below, how the owner of the hotel would use the declarative language approach to discuss this issue with Lisa.

Owner: Hi Lisa, I’ve noticed that you have been starting your shift 10 to 15 mins late the past couple of weeks. You aren’t typically late for work. I’m curious about what’s changed. (Declarative observation; the owner then waits quietly for Lisa to respond.)

Lisa: I’m so sorry, I had to switch my child’s daycare and it’s on the other side of town. I’m struggling making it here on time with traffic.

Owner: That sounds stressful. What do you think we can do to work with this change to ensure that you can still arrive on time for your shifts?

Lisa: Would it be possible to switch my shift to a later time?

Owner: Let me look into that option for you. You are an asset to our team and I’m sure we will find a solution to this. I’ll get back to you later with some options, and you can let me know what would work best.

Lisa: Thank you so much for understanding.

In this exchange, the owner does not make assumptions as to why Lisa has been late. Rather, they show genuine curiosity as to what’s going on. Again, the owner empathizes with Lisa’s situation and then places power back into Lisa’s hands to think of a solution. The conversation ends on a positive note with gained clarity, respect, and appreciation.

Lead by Example

If you are looking to build a team of empowered individuals who can solve problems and collaborate, you need to lead by example. The use of declarative language can help you accomplish exactly that.

However, it is crucial to note that if you decide to try this method of communication, your intention needs to be positive. Declarative statements will not be as successful if your tone is sarcastic or accusing. Your approach must be casual, caring, respectful, and matter of fact.

Additionally, not every conversation will go smoothly using this method. You may receive “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” as an answer. But for the most part, this method of communication allows for respectful discussion that acknowledges facts, promotes responsibility for one’s own actions, and decreases assumptions.

If you would like more information on how to use the declarative language approach, or would like to set up a coaching session to be coached on how to use this communication style with your team, please reach out to me!

Cheers to professional and personal well-being!

Image: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality Mindset Coaching, 2023 Icon

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our engaging and informative April book selections will help you take your bar, restaurant or hotel to higher levels, and develop your leadership skills.

To review the book recommendations from March 2023, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

When Will Guidara took over the famous Eleven Madison Park, the restaurant had just two stars and he was only in his mid-twenties. Before his 40th birthday, the changes and strategies he implemented helped the restaurant earn the title of the Best Restaurant in the World.

One of cornerstone’s of Guidara’s was “bespoke hospitality.” He and his team truly went above and beyond. Examples of the Eleven Madison Park team’s approach to hospitality illustrate just how over the top they went to deliver memorable guest experiences. If you’re looking for inspiration to step up your hospitality, pick up or download Unreasonable Hospitality today.

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

I’m going to address the viability of the blue ocean strategy before getting into the book. Creating a hospitality concept without competition isn’t really feasible. Go too far into “blue waters” and there won’t be any “fish” (traffic). And where, exactly, would one put their restaurant, bar, or hotel where there’s no competition but still enough traffic to generate a profit?

Those issues addressed, this book is still valuable to owners and operators. One need not eliminate competition completely to take lessons from the blue ocean strategy. Businesses must still differentiate themselves from competitors, and they must look for unique opportunities to help them stand out. Blue Ocean Strategy may not work perfectly but much is still very helpful.

Contagious Culture: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization that Thrives

Anese Cavanaugh’s Contagious Culture addresses a topic that we often discuss with clients, in our articles, and during speaking engagements: workplace culture. From large corporations and regional or national restaurant chains, to independent restaurants, bars, and hotels, culture will make or break an organization. Cavanaugh’s techniques will improve your workplace culture and energize your team, an undeniable key to success.

From Amazon: “This is Contagious Culture, a game-changing guide to transforming corporate culture from within, developed by the award-winning creator of The IEP Method to strengthen your ‘Intentional Energetic Presence.’ This is more than a leadership book―this is your future calling.”

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

Doug Radkey is the founder, president, and lead strategist of KRG Hospitality. He’s also a hospitality industry speaker, educator, and author. This is his first book, Bar Hacks, which is also the name of the podcast we produce through KRG Hospitality.

Now, while the title states this book is a guide for developing and running an epic bar, the strategies carry over to restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality concepts. It’s difficult—if not impossible—to elevate one’s skills and service without first mastering the fundamentals. Whether you’re new to the industry or are a veteran who feels the need to reset and revisit the fundamentals, Bar Hacks is your guide.

Hacking the New Normal: Hitting the Reset Button on the Hospitality Industry

There’s a first book, which means there must be at least one other one, right? Right! Hacking the New Normal is Doug’s second book.

This book is a direct response to the pandemic, what it did to the industry, and the issues many operators would prefer to ignore. However, the devastation is so great that ignoring the changes that should have been made decades ago isn’t a viable option. With a spotlight on hybrid business models, real estate, profit margins, technology, guest experiences, culture, diversity, and mindset, Hacking the New Normal will position you for success in our new hospitality landscape.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Consultant. Consulting. Culinary. Bar. Hotel. Mixology. Technology.

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

Do Goals Have an Expiration Date?

Do Goals Expire?

by Jennifer Radkey

Hourglass against red background

A compelling question came up in a recent coaching call with a client: When is the last time you took inventory of your goals?

Like many other people, my client is a goal-setter, and not just small goals but big life goals. These goals follow all of the “rules” of goal setting: they are clearly written, attainable, and measurable.

Some of the goals are achieved and checked off the list and new goals have been made. And yet there is still a feeling of dissatisfaction.

So where is this feeling coming from?

We are always changing and adapting to the world around us. We are changed by life circumstances. We’re influenced by the places we visit and the people we meet. We grow, and over time we come to deeper understandings of what we value and want from life.

As we grow and change our goals do as well…but what do we do with our old goals? What do we do with goals that are no longer applicable to our life?

Do goals expire?

The answer is yes. Goals can expire. What you wanted for your life when you were 16 is most likely not what you want for your life now. The career goals you set in your early 20s probably do not apply to you in your 30s. The goals geared towards interests you had in your 30s may not apply in your 40s, etc.

This doesn’t just apply to personal goals, either.

If you own a business, the goals you have for your business can expire as well. It’s why business plans need to be revisited yearly.

The goals you had when you first opened may have changed in the year(s) since. A business can be likened to a living, breathing entity. It grows and adapts and interacts with the environment surrounding it.

Targets will be hit, new objectives will be identified. So, what do we do with our old goals?

If old, unmet goals are not recognized and processed, they will sit as unfinished business in the back of your mind. You may be acquiring all kinds of levels of success and achieving new goals, but if you are allowing old goals to remain without acknowledging them, it will show up in your mindset.

This can manifest as dissatisfaction, disappointment, confusion, anxiousness, a general feeling that something is “off,” or a never-ending quest for perfection.

So, what do we do with expired goals?

It’s time to sit down and take inventory of all of the goals you have for your life or business. The new and the old. The unmet and those in progress.

If you are like many of us on the path to success and self-improvement, this may be a lengthy list. Try categorizing goals to make them more approachable.

Once you have listed all of your goals it’s time to get real with them and ask yourself some questions:

  • Why was this goal unmet?
  • Why was it important, at the time, to have this goal?
  • What feelings are associated with this goal?
  • Most importantly: Does this goal serve me now?

If the goal no longer fits in your life, if it no longer serves a purpose, it is time for that goal to expire.

It’s okay to let go and move on.

Make peace with the fact that a goal can belong in a previous part of your life but does not need to be a part of your life now.

Accept that it was not completed, give yourself compassion, and move on. That goal does not need to take up space in your thoughts anymore.

If a goal still serves a purpose now and you would like to keep it, ask yourself why it is so important to you to keep that goal. Then ask yourself why it hasn’t been achieved yet.

Is this goal important enough to keep it and strategize new ways to break it down and make it achievable? If the answer is yes, great! Sit down with that goal, rewrite it, and come up with a new action plan to achieve it.

If the answer is no, let that goal expire, and let it go.

This process will take time and introspection but will provide you with overwhelming relief and a new sense of clarity.

Life is too short to hold onto expired dreams and goals! Give yourself freedom to be present and future focused, without unfinished business holding you down.

Cheers to personal and professional growth!

Image: Daniele Franchi on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality Mindset Coaching, 2023 Icon

Top