In the restaurant business (or in any business, really), when there’s two people in a room, somehow there’s going to be three opinions. While this can be frustrating, any smart operator knows the value of opinions and harnesses that as a secret weapon as they develop their concept.
In the service industry, opinions never stop. People (involved or not….experienced or not…) have opinions every step of the way during planning, strategic growth, concept development and implementation. And we’re not just talking about your designer, Director of Operations or Chef … we’re talking about your Mother, or your fish purveyor or your landlord. And the opinions don’t stop once you’ve made and implemented your decisions: in fact, a slew of new opinions will begin to flow the moment guests walk through the door.
A strategic operator knows that the earlier you seek out opinions – from those related to your project and not – the better prepared you will be for the public reception of your project. Nothing is more frustrating that getting feedback on something that is too late to change. The earlier you seek out opinions – from your designer and chef but also your mother or newspaper deliveryman – the less you’ll have to rethink a decision you spent money and time on.
Now, we’re not saying to grab the next person who walks by on the street – be strategic in your opinion seekers, and seek balanced, informed people to weigh in. Opinions are subjective and it’s important to remember that the foodie friend you ask for feedback on your menu may just not like salmon. But the more of the right people you consult, the more you are doing research on how the public and consumer will receive your venture. And this may save you headache – and heartache – in the long run.