Guerilla Training Blog by Matt Jones


Learning from Failure: Intro

Well, I finally did it. I decided to close my restaurant after a year of hard work, a lot of struggles, and even more soul searching. Over a hundred thousand dollars invested in trying to “turn around” a failed upscale eatery. And as I unwind the affairs of the restaurant, I must confess, it is a very bitter-sweet experience for me. I had to lay off nearly 20 good employees, walk away from a large capital investment, and more importantly, admit to myself that I am very capable of making ... Read More »

Learning from Failure: Lesson One.

So I closed the restaurant after a year. We had grown sales about 20% over the year and were continuing to grow in sales and margin every month, while controlling costs and growing margin, but we were still another year from turning a profit. Because of the down turn in real estate, the pressures from my core business (real estate and real estate related technology) I felt I needed to really focus my attention on them. Continuing to subsidize a restaurant during the housing downturn would have brought our company’s ... Read More »

Learning from Failure: Lesson Two.

In the last installment, I compared the restaurant manufacturing operation with real estate. In this installment, we’ll look at a restaurant as a sales organization. While the back of the house (the kitchen) is all about manufacturing, the front of the house (the dining room) is all about sales. Meeting customers, setting expectations and exceeding them, and attention to detail are crucial elements in any sales organization. A restaurant is no exception. Everything is important — from the elegant music, to the dress code of the staff, to the words ... Read More »

Learning from Failure: Lesson Three.

Ok. I closed the restaurant– well, it’s more like I am in the seemingly eternal process of closing the restaurant. I can tell you one lesson: It’s a lot easier to start something than it is to stop it. Buying a point of sale system takes a morning. Selling one takes weeks. Buying inventory is a quick and steady process involving a few minutes a day. Disposing of inventory takes forever. The same with everything, from leases, to advertising, to accounting, to tax returns. So what’s the lesson? Take the ... Read More »

Learning from Failure: Lesson Four.

As I’m sure you know, it is difficult to operate a business in today’s economic climate. It is more difficult to operate a start-up business, particularly a restaurant. That’s why I bought a going concern. During the course of my due diligence, I was given P&Ls for the previous six years of operation, all certified by a CPA. The most recent six months’ financials, however, were not available. I did, however, have numbers from the previous owner that showed consistent sales for those last two quarters, as well the owner’s ... Read More »

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