What I do as a restaurant consultant

08 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
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The Sunday News

BEFORE I go into what I do as a restaurant consultant maybe let’s start by how I became one. My wife and I met in the foyer of Crowne Plaza hotel in 2005. She was guest services manager and meeting success director and I was creative head and founder of Tatu Advertising. I did work following closely and studying and adhering to standards manuals of the hotels and Nelsy was my client for most of that time.

Five years later Nelsy and I would hook up and consequently get married while she was working for Royal Caribbean Cruises ship while I was starting a new chapter as a stand-up comedian. We decided while on our honeymoon that our marriage would be based on three things — travelling, food and laughter. We also agreed Tourizim would be our business and we would find a route to influence in that sector.

Consultancy fell into our lap early on and as a comedian as we would often stay in hotels, eat in restaurants courtesy of our promoters. Within each country we reviewed and met owners who would often ask our opinions on matters to do with their service and we quickly became favourites due to our candid, truthful yet solution-based reviews.

Again we would often be brought into establishments to do comedy nights as a way to introduce my fan base to new establishments or energise older ones. We realised the opportunity and started requesting to do comedy on dead nights or in struggling restaurants and bars or places certain target audiences would not think of going. We ended up turning around an almost dying boutique hotel in a small town and turned it into a little tourist stop. Nelsy and I were well on our way to something special.

In the background, using my experience of working with standards manuals I started developing a manual to help hotels and restaurants whose big challenge was the lack of general managers in the market. You had good chefs,  good waiters but no overall general managers available.

We used ourselves as the first test of my system. I first called the general managers playbook. This was a 400-page manual on running a restaurant or boutique hotel complete with checklists, strategies and tips. This worked well for me but it needed to be simplified.

We kept consulting a number of restaurants in different capacities until I compressed my handbook into a clever and simple framework I called GARNISH. This was a way to diagnose problems in a restaurant in a linear manner using the acronym Growth Asset Management Revenues Niching Innovations Systems and Human resources. The acronym would then allow us to solve the issues in a linear way backwards focusing on Human Resources Systems Innovations Niching Revenues and finally Growth.

This system while not popular with most restaurant owners has given us such a huge insight into why restaurants fail, can’t nurture or build talent, miss out revenue streams, don’t have great visibility and why most importantly Zimbabwe lacks a distinctly local culinary identity.

Our Garnish process has allowed us to be able to figure out how restaurants or local brands can be turned into franchises or scaled to multiple branches.

Our Jacana Private Homestead project seeks to take GARNISH to the next level. Firstly, by establishing a test kitchen to accurately cost ingredients, setup a database of recipes and create an environment outside restaurants for focus groups and research into some theories we have established in our research so far. Our project will also look into training manuals, sustainability practices and supplier databases which will help super charge our processes.

How does this fit into  Rural Zimbabwe et cetera? Well our main hypothesis is that rural loving lifestyle and history offers the key to authentic Zimbabwean hospitality, systems, training, recipes and the circular economy. Our work in rural Zimbabwe has certainly been at the core of developing the GARNISH model.

When you watch the Best Ever Food Review Show clip in which I feature, you will notice how I could effortlessly create an authentic Zimbabwean food experience practically with short notice at any establishment and that’s thanks to GARNISH which has a cooking or recipe concept in the Systems part of the acronym called the Six Ts, that is Taste, Texture, Technique, Temperature, Time and Theatre.

Long post I know! But I wanted to share with you exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it. Our work has a national agenda to create TOURIZIM assets that really celebrate the past, present and future of the Zimbabwean Hospitality narrative globally!

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