Pyramid describing three areas of focus. Happy employees being the foundation and largest section. Loyal customers the middle section. Steady revenue is the top of the pyramid.

In order to successfully run a restaurant, you have to maintain focus. That’s where philosopher Isaiah Berlin’s hedgehog principle comes in. It’s based on an ancient Greek parable, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing,” 

Berlin notes that foxes pursue many goals and interests at the same time, resulting in scattered, unfocused thinking and little achievement. By contrast, hedgehogs focus on a single, overarching — and achievable — vision, with improved outcomes. 

So, what does this have to do with running your restaurant? And what should that overarching vision be? 

Employees are your “hedgehog”

It’s natural to assume success hinges on stellar customer service — but not so fast. There’s no way to have satisfied customers without having happy employees first. So, let’s flip the script and say your employees are your “hedgehog”.

When your staff feels cared for, respected and supported, you set them up for success. You cultivate loyalty. You create a “family” that then gives it their all, and wants to. Enter better retention, better customer service, an increase in check totals and higher tips. 

Equipping your restaurant and — perhaps most importantly, your team — with resources helps deliver a stellar dining experience for your customers. That is enlightened hospitality at work.

Customers come next 

When customers feel cared for, by happy servers, they feel good about the money — and time — they spend at your establishment. They tell their friends and family members, who in turn come to dine at your restaurant themselves. 

Happy employees are the key to creating satisfied, loyal customers, but they’re also your greatest asset when it comes to turning customers into brand evangelists — no marketing budget required. 

Revenue rounds it all off

Following the logic that happy employees who please customers get better tips (which further feeds into employee satisfaction and improved retention), chances are those same customers will spend more at your restaurant.

Want proof?

According to American Express, seven out of 10 U.S. consumers note they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service. Meanwhile, a researcher at Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating resulted in a 5-9% increase in revenue.

By following the hedgehog principle with its pyramidal approach, you’re positioning yourself to thrive. And you’re differentiating yourself from the competition, at a time when staffing shortages and poor retention plague the industry. At the end of the day, you can’t afford not to invest in your employees. They’re your greatest asset and your most important selling tool.

Table Needs is a restaurant management solution built on the principle of making things better for restaurant employees. If you’d like to learn more about how Table Needs POS system and other restaurant management tools can help improve your restaurant’s employee and customer experience, let’s talk. And be sure to explore our blog for more industry tips.

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