What is Culture ?

Part I

My wife and I were on vacation and we saw a restaurant on line and wanted to check it out. So we made a reservation. However, the second we walked in we instantly had a very strange and bad feeling. There was a very weird and dark vibe in the place. We felt very un-welcomed. So we left almost immediately.

    – Have you ever walked into a restaurant or business and instantly thought something isn’t right here? OR

    – Have you ever walked into a restaurant or business and instantly felt at peace, welcomed, happy?

    – Either way what you are experiencing is Culture

 Webster defines culture as “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group

  – Culture is the environment of the organization established by the beliefs and priorities of the business and the buy-in of the employees.

– Think of culture in the word Agriculture. In this example, culture is the soil. The soil must be rich in nutrients to help the seed (team member) grow and thrive.

Culture Part 2 The Importance of Culture

Having a great culture is a proactive way to eliminate many future challenges you would face as a restaurateur. In addition, there are some excellent outcomes that occur when you create a great culture. For instance….

Having a great culture will help you develop and cast VISION for your organization.                                                                          

-Taking the time to really determine what is important to you will help you determine what your culture should look like.                                                              


– What would YOU want to experience as a guest?  
– What kind of a culture would YOU want to work around and in as an employee?  

Having a great culture will help you LEAD your restaurant team. This is because it helps you determine which candidates would make a great leader in your restaurant. There are many great Mission Statements out there. Every restaurant group I ever worked for had great Mission Statements.

What most of those companies didn’t have was great leadership. Having the right leadership that is inline with your culture is critical to not only the success of the organization but also to maintaining a great culture.

Leading your team by example is the best way to not only implement your culture but also champion the vision and Mission Statement. Having a written Mission Statement also allows you and your leaders to effectively communicate the vision you have and gets everyone inline with the goals and strategy. This in turn communicates your culture clearly to the team.  Having great culture will help you RECRUIT great talent. Everyone wants to be on a great team. Whether you are a pro athlete or working for Amazon or working in a restaurant everyone wants to be on a winning team. And everyone wants to contribute to something bigger than themselves. They want to be part of something that makes a difference. 

Culture Part 3- How to Maintain Culture

One of the hardest parts of having a successful culture in your organization is maintaining that culture. About 2 years ago, I heard something so simple yet so profound while listening to Dave Ramsey’s Entre-leader podcast. The host of the podcast was talking with someone who compared culture to Agriculture. 


What are the 5 components that farmers use in Agriculture?

You have…….
(SOIL) – CULTURE (or environment as we learned earlier)

The Restaurateur must create a healthy environment by adding the right players to the team. This begins with you. 

-Are you leading correctly? 
-Have you hired the right leaders? 
-Do you have a healthy environment?
-Have you selected the right players that fit your culture? 

If you want an orange tree you have to plant orange seeds (team). If these team members are placed in a healthy environment, they can flourish. When objectives and responsibilities have been properly communicated and when proper training and coaching have been implemented, the team is given what it needs to grow. And everyone wants to be recognized for their contribution and to feel significant. By validating the team and treating them like human beings, they feel empowered and appreciated. Finally, YOU MUST remove the toxic people in your organization or you will never build a healthy culture.

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