Brian Erickson enjoyed a three year stretch of increasing revenue by 23% year-over-year for his Washington D.C. based restaurants. During this time period, he also enjoyed an 18-month period of 100% employee retention. Want to know how he did it? By focusing on two things: 1.) Customers 2.) Employees
In addition to previously owning / operating restaurants, Erickson is best known in the mobile food community for operating a huge event in Austin called Truck by Truckwest. In 2013, the event featured over 60 food trucks and included a $10,000 grand prize for the best rated truck. In addition to organizing the yearly event, Erickson provides consulting for restaurants and is involved in commercial real estate.
If you want happier customers, better employees, and more profits, I highly recommend tuning in to this week’s interview with Brian Erickson.
People will put in so much heart and soul if they know that you care. – Brian Erickson on managing employees.
If my customers aren’t connected to me in some way then they’re not going to be loyal to me. There just going to go someplace else. – Brian Erickson on restaurant branding and customer communication.
You’ve got to tell the story somehow. If the story is missing, we’ll go get our grilled cheese from anywhere. – Brian Erickson on the importance of developing a unique story for your business.
People really want that. They want to support local. The economy is shifting so that they (customers) will go to a smaller business or a food truck even over a large restaurant. They want to support the local economy. – Brian Erickson on local trends.
What You’ll Learn
- The importance of being willing to listen to your customers and employees. Even if that means being vulnerable as the “boss.”
- How Erickson had an 18 month stretch of employee retention and how consistent schedules can play a role in that.
- How to attract and retain quality employees.
- Why consistency of staff on certain days of the week can mean more revenue for your business. Your regulars will come in for their favorite server.
- If your employees hate going to work. That mood can rub off on your customers. If employees are generally satisfied with their work environment that will flow over to customers.
- The importance of the hiring process of finding quality employees. How implementing pre-employment training like menu tests, interviews, and a trial period for new hires can drastically improve the percentage of valuable employees.
- Tips for identifying low quality employees.
- Brand consistency across your restaurant is critical. The menu, the ambiance, the food, the staff, direct mail pieces… Every element should connect and make sense together.
- A critical analysis of the fast-casual eating concept that’s popular in restaurants like Panera
- The importance of shifting mindset into a place of joy when operating a business.
Employee Focus: You need to develop clear written policies, procedures and schedules for employees. Coincidently, taking these measures will also improve the overall customer experience and often productivity of staff.
Customer Focus: Branding, messaging, and listening to customers is critical for increasing the perceived value of your overall performance. Take customer and employee experience seriously and you will yield higher profits over time.
Mentioned in the Podcast
Truck by Truckwest – This is the huge Austin food truck event that our guest Brian Erickson was instrumental in organizing. This mobile food extravaganza will be returning to Austin in 2014.
Brian Erickson’s Hubpage – Peruse articles written by Erickson on the topics of managing food costs and hiring the right employees for your restaurant.
Hey! You Gonna Eat or What? – This is the food truck that won the 2013 Truck by TruckWest contest. The winner was selected by customers of the event.
Mellizoz Tacos – Another Austin based food truck that performed extremely well at Truck by TruckWest in 2013.
White Whale Truck – Graham, co-owner of Denver’s coolest gourmet ice cream truck was kind enough to leave an iTunes review. If you live in Denver, keep track of these guys in the summer of 2014. If you’re an experience food truck operator, they’re also hiring!
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