What Startups and Restaurants Have in Common

Restaurants and startups have more in common than you might think. They face many of the same core challenges, such as building a business from the ground up, attracting and retaining customers, and recruiting people who can bake things from scratch. I grew up in a food family – both my parents are chefs who have owned catering companies and restaurants my entire life. Here are a few things I learned from them that can be applied to entrepreneurship.

  • Hire people that understand the food (product) you’re cooking (building) and that get your vision.
  • Hire people that can bake (build) things from scratch.
  • Hire people with good ideas for new dishes (features.)
  • Supply your team with tools and room to experiment and execute on their ideas.
  • Iterate on a recipe (feature) until you get it right.
  • Every kitchen (office) needs a leader. A great leader produces more great leaders.
  • There really is such thing as too many cooks (founders) in the kitchen.
  • Customers (users) will pay for quality experiences. Don’t skimp on the details.
  • Treat customers (users) using discounts or promotions as if they are paying full price to turn them into repeat customers.
  • The best marketing is your customers (users) telling their friends about you, and then bringing their friends back for the experience. Create an experience worth sharing.
  • Your loyal customers (super users) are your brand ambassadors. Reward them in a special way by sending them free dessert or early access to a new feature.
  • Get to know the names of your most loyal customers (super users.) Ask them for feedback and ideas for how you can improve your menu (product.)
  • Be prepared to put out a lot of fires. Literally and figuratively.

Bottom line:

Make your customers (users) happy, and they will come back to your restaurant (website) and share the experience with their friends.

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