Do You Really Want Success Using Systems? You Need An Implementor

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It doesn’t matter if you need to get control of your restaurant or just want to find a few percentage points, the journey is the same: if you implement a system for every aspect of your restaurant, you can ultimately work on your business, rather than in it.

Working on your business solves the challenges most restaurant owners bring to us, such as an out of control food cost, a timeclock that seems to bleed money, a management team that is not doing what you expect and getting your life back.

Here’s a truism if you want systems to be successful in your restaurant: You must have an implementor. You need someone who gets work done.

Here at, we work with every type and size of restaurant and catering business. Some operations are so small there currently is no management team, while others are so large there are many manager/supervisor types on payroll. No matter the size of the operation, there is the same amount of work for all of them.

Before I go into how you get all of this work done, I want to be perfectly clear that I don’t care how fast you move toward implementing systems. As long as you keep taking action and keep moving forward, I will always be supportive. Everyone’s journey will be different. However, the moment you start making excuses for not moving forward at all, I will not be so nice. It’s my job to keep you moving forward.

Now, how do you get all of this work done? The answer is you MUST have help and you need at least one key person to be successful. We call this person “The Implementor!”

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When I first started our restaurant coaching and training company in 2003, I would do everything in my power to get a restaurant owner absolutely motived to do the work. I would cajole, cheer, scold and everything in between. It became very apparent to me after a few year years in that I would almost NEVER get an entrepreneurial restaurant owner to do the work, at least consistently. I also noticed that those who got the biggest results were owners who had at least one person on their team who got things done. I named this person “The Implementor.”

Who is your implementor?

Your implementor is someone on your team, from key employee to general manager, who buys into the journey of systems. Your implementor is a key person who:

  1. Has buy-in to your vision for success
  2. Is loyal to you and the business
  3. Has a great work ethic
  4. Is willing to ask for help
  5. Is engaged and asks good questions
  6. Doesn’t view change as just more work, but sees the benefits of the changes
  7. Is always looking for ways to do thing better

To this person, titles don’t matter, but results do. Give your implementor a task to do and you always know it gets done.

How to identify your implementor

Look, I understand you might be thinking to yourself as you read this, “I don’t have an implementor.” I also understand that you’ve probably tried to have managers or key employees help you in the past with mixed success. What I want to do is share with you how you can easily identify your implementor and how you can make sure they are successful. Here’s what you do: let the candidates identify themselves.

Stop looking at your people and picking who you think would be best. This works only some of the time. A better way is to let the implementor/future managers in training identify themselves without knowing they are interviewing for the job.

Post on your employee bulletin board that you are looking for people who would like to help you with special projects, such as recipe costing cards, creating checklists, setting up your inventory systems, etc. Let them come to you. Don’t try and influence the process by suggesting to certain people you want them to raise their hands and don’t write some people off, even if you think they would not be right. When they start completing the special projects, you’ll get to see if they have the skill sets and work ethic an implementor/manager in training needs. You’d be surprised at who makes the cut. It’s sometime the person you least expect.

If they don’t do a good job for you, your worst-case scenario is they just don’t do any more special projects for you. If they do a good job, you’ve identified one or more people who demonstrate they have what you are looking for in your implementor.

For those of you who have managers, you’re going to know who your implementor is within two or three weeks of starting the implementation of systems. They will quickly show you whether or not they are going to do the work and help. You’ve heard the phrase, “actions speak louder than words?” Your managers are either going to do the work or not. You’ll see what is actually accomplished because you’ll have specific tasks that need to be accomplished to move forward.

Why systems are important

It doesn’t matter the reason or reasons you joined All that matters is you have to get the work done or it’s a waste of time and money. If you get the work done and ensure it’s done every day, you will see the benefits – lower food and labor cost, an accountable management team, and you’ll have your life back. This is why you need systems:

  1. They allow you to impose your will without being there. It’s the same reason the huge chain restaurants can operate without owners in them. You are so specific and clear on what you want done, how you want it done, how well you want it done and by when, that you leave no room for the use of common sense (which I am sorry to say, does not exist).
  2. With systems, you are able to train the way you want things done and be specific and clear the whole way.
  3. After the expectations have been set and they have been trained, you are able to hold people accountable because there is no gray area, no excuses and no conflict. You either have done the job or you have not.

With all that said, it’s work and you need help to get the work done. Don’t waste any more time and money. Let’s identify your implementor and get you on your way to making more money, simplifying your operations, creating managers who know their job, and ultimately, get your life back.

David Scott Peters
David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. Download a free report to discover the #1 secret to lowering food and labor costs and running the independent restaurant you’ve always dreamed of. Learn more about how David can help you at