Lesson from the Red Sox
The Perfect Mix
Yes, the restaurant looks great: it’s clean, it’s inviting, and it’s comfortable. Lighting is just right and conversations can be had without whispering or screaming. The parking lot has easy access from the street, the lot is well-lit, and parking spaces are well laid out. The menu seems to be iron-clad: tried and tested. Yet, the customers are staying away in droves. Sales are struggling to reach half of what was originally planned.
I now live near Boston. I was born and raised, and lived most of my life in this area. Of course I’m a Red Sox fan. This year, the Red Sox were predicted to win it all: they had all the pieces in place. Before the season, optimism was so high that many were saying that this could be one of the great teams of all time. They failed to make the playoffs. They failed to execute. They failed to perform. What should we do when seemingly, we have all the pieces in place and it’s just not gelling?
It happens in baseball and it happens in restaurants. Watching this team was like watching Jell-O: all the ingredients seemed right, but early on it was obvious that it wasn’t gelling -some more ingredients were added -it seemed to be working, but came apart when things warmed up.
How many restaurants and concepts seemed to have all the right ingredients, yet never really come together? The 2004 Red Sox weren’t gelling, so around mid-season they traded the best shortstop that they ever had and replaced him with a journeyman second-tier infielder. From mid-season on that year, they played as a team and went on to win their first World Series in eighty-six years.
pectin [PEHK-tihn] ..this substance is used for its thickening properties in the preparation of jams, jellies, Jell-O….. Pectin only works properly when mixed with the correct balance of sugar and acid. (Food Lover’s Companion)
How the frig are we supposed to find the proper chemistry in human beings, the “correct balance of sugar and acid,” among the teams we assemble? We have managers, chefs, kitchen help, wait staff and bar staff: all focused on one objective.
Or are they all focused on their own objectives? There are no easy answers here. It is easy to point fingers. When things go awry fingers will get pointed all over the place. Ultimately it is usually the person who made the staffing decisions who owns the responsibility: that’s normally the person with the checkbook.
Yes, there are a million ways to lose money in the restaurant business. Maybe the Red Sox might have helped us become aware of one. Of course you know all this stuff. Now stop dillydallying and smile your way back into the kitchen and cook some more frigg’n peas.
Life is like a grindstone: whether it grinds you down or polishes you up depends on
what you are made of. — anon