Let me tell you a story about when I used to work at Hyatt Hotels in 1981 and got promoted. I was in a managers meeting with Jim Beard my food and beverage director and he told us we had to drive sales or increase margin. We couldn’t just sit back and relax because the hotel was busy. We had to be proactive. We couldn’t wait around for things to happen, we needed to make it happen.
I went to work that day and pondered everything I could do. I thought, “I could give out flyers around the hotel like I did when I was younger under the train station at Kings Highway to get more people to get their haircut on slow days for my mom’s hair salon.” I could even walk around the neighborhood, which at the time was Inner Harbor Baltimore, and introduce myself to people in the area and invite them to have lunch.
I still remember on that day I had a sore throat so I thought I would take it easy and have some tea and think about the situation. When the server gave me the tea, I started wondering about margin and asked what the highest margin item in this restaurant was – the item they make the most money on. I figured if I wanted to improve the margin at my job, I needed to observe how others did so. If I sold hot tea for breakfast and iced tea for lunch to as many people as I could, I could increase the profit. I would even walk around with the refills in a cool pitcher. Tea has little waste and is easy to make and serve. Tea is actually the #1 highest margin item a restaurant could sell.
Sure enough, the margin zoomed and profit in my coffee shop was improving. I did what Jim Beard asked me to do, which was to make something happen. It’s all about the road to progress, happiness, and a big, fat promotion for me.
Anyways, what’s your tea? What item is your best and are you making that item better? More profitable? Are you selling that item to as many people as you can?
Mariano Rivera found his tea – the cutter and he threw that pitch over and over, eventually becoming the greatest closer ever. McDoanlds has their Big Mac, Nathan’s has their hot dog, Soul Cycle has a simple bike in a small room with loud music. Ask yourself this, are you thinking about what’s next? You don’t always have to invent something; sometimes improving the thing you do best can be a game changer.