Does Your Restaurant Commit Any Of These Deadly Sins?

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3 Of The 7 Deadly Sins A Restaurant Should Avoid / Posted by Donald Burns in Restaurant Management

On the surface, running a restaurant seems relatively easy. New restaurants open every day. It’s estimated that over 4000 new restaurants are opened every year. If you’re looking for a simple formula for restaurant success the recipe would be something like this:

  • Provide great food in a clean, inviting atmosphere.
  • Offer attentive, professional service that focuses on guest satisfaction.
  • Market your brand across a variety of media platforms.

Then why do so many restaurants fail? It’s quite simple: they ignored the seven deadly restaurant sins that are the demise of restaurant dreams.

Running a restaurant is (in theory) relatively simple. It’s the mindset of the owner or operator that is the chokehold to growth. If your restaurant is not operating at its maximum potential, then take a look at the following and see if you are guilty of any of these restaurant sins.

1. Ignorance

Contrary to the popular saying that ignorance is bliss, it’s not. Ignorance is just ignorance. There are a lot of duties and details involved in running a successful restaurant. Many operators purely focus in on the things they like to do. You can easily identify problem areas in any restaurant operation by the using the word “should.”

“I know I should cost out my menu.”

“I know I should start an Instagram account.”

“I know I should fire the manager who drinks in the office.”

“I know I should hire an outside assessor or mystery shopper.”

Most restaurant operators basically just “should” all over themselves. The tipping point in a restaurant is when the owner or operator turns their “should” into must.

2. Mediocrity

Remember the bell curve in school? It was based on law of average. Many restaurants in today’s market live in the middle of that bell curve. It’s the addiction to average that is killing most restaurants. The sad thing is that most restaurants are capable of becoming outstanding. Think about it. All restaurants have access to the same products, the same labor pool, and the same marketing channels.

Why do some thrive and others just survive? Quite simply they settled and stopped pushing themselves. No one opens a restaurant thinking to themselves, “I just want to have an average business.” No. They want to be great, they want to stand out, they want to be a huge success. Then, they faced a few challenges. Ran into a few obstacles. Then slowly they started to compromise on their standards. They sold out their integrity and after that they headed down the path of mediocrity.

The easiest way to stop that downward spiral is to raise your standards. Reposition the bar for what you will except and for what you will not tolerate. Stop selling yourself so short.

“The saddest thing about selling out is just how cheaply most of us do it for.” – James Bernard Frost

3. Pride

This might be the sin that has closed more restaurants than a bad economy. Its common partner is ignorance. Together, these two work to stop the growth of the business. Many a restaurant owner has closed their doors thanks to foolish pride.

Even the Bible calls pride one of the original Seven Deadly Sins. Yeah, it’s that bad. When you allow your pride to override growth and opportunity, you’re pretty much done.

Successful restaurant owners and operators are always looking for the opportunity to increase production, quality, efficiency, operations, and profitability. That requires conviction, confidence, and respect.

Pride, when inwardly directed, is a negative impact on your business. Pride, when outwardly directed, builds teams and communities, and pulls people together. The problems come when we use pride to close the door to opportunity and growth.


I recently drove around to check out some new locations and noticed how many restaurants we used to go to years ago that are closed!!! I know one in particular has changed management/ownership numerous times. They were a well known chain years ago. I tried on numerous occasions to reach out to corporate to help them with their customer service. The people were very nice just not knowledgeable in the service industry. The other restaurant had management issues. Maybe if restaurants would be more aware of the 7 Deadly Sins and learn how to improve their customer experiences through better training they would still be OPEN…

If you are a restaurant or hotel owner or general manager that is interested in keeping the doors open and want to know how to give quality customer experiences please contact Debbie at The Hart Experience 602.717.3271 or

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