Season 1,

65: How to Lose Money by Opening a Trendsetting Restaurant with Rene’ Boer

July 07, 2017

Rene’ began his business career working full-time at Pizza Hut while earning a BS in Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. He has over 30 year’s restaurant industry experience working with well-known brands such as Pizza Hut, Arby’s and Jamba Juice. He’s been a franchisee, corporate executive and small business owner.

Since 2008, he’s worked with over 50 privately-owned companies helping owners and their leadership teams implement EOS, The Entrepreneurial Operating System. He’s the co-author with Gino Wickman, of “How to Be a Great Boss” published by BenBella Books in 2016. A life-long cyclist, he created a unique cycling event that, since 2010, has raised more than $500,000 to support Parkinson’s research.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[3:10] After leaving the restaurant industry due to burnout, René started doing consulting. He enjoyed helping people and a friend told him about Gino Wickman, whom he contacted. René ended up being one of the first implementers to join Gino and Don expanding EOS, The Entrepreneurial Operating System.

[5:05] EOS is high-touch, low tech system that helps people have a successful business.

[7:22] After 20 years in the fast food industry, René bought into the emerging concept of fast casual, joining casual dining with fast food, and decided to do Japanese food in the San Francisco area.

[9:00] René developed an operating process to deliver high quality food fast, made a menu with a chef, raised money and 9 months of talking to a landlord, he opened up a restaurant south of San Francisco.

[10:30] My Dashi was profitable from month 2, a rare thing for restaurants. Their target market was white collar workers, and that’s what made lunch the best time.

[11:40] Looking to expand to dinner time, he opened up two more restaurants where dinner might be more successful, without first understanding the market research about dinner.

[12:20] When the dotcom bubble burst, entire companies closed doors which badly hurt the business. They decided to close the newer restaurants within a year of opening.

[13:00] The Japanese food concept worked because it was an easy take out lunch, compared to the other restaurants around. The restaurant concept René was doing was ahead of the times.

[14:55] 9/11 happened; that reduced travel and in turn, reduced business travel to the international companies near the restaurant. People stopped visiting the restaurant.

[16:30] Making the decision to close My Dashi, René talked to his employees and promised that if they stayed with him for the 6 week closing process, he would help them find a new job.

[19:50] Selling off what he could before Christmas, right after New Year’s Day, he got sued but managed to save himself from bankruptcy.

[21:44] Failing Forward Segment

  • What is the bottom line reason of this failure? – “My ego got in the way. A few years ago, I had the chance to read Marshall Goldsmith’s article called 4 delusions of success, I had those AHA moments…”
  • What is the single most important lesson you learned from this? – “I think a couple of things: one of them was we were riding a booming economy and not really understanding what the driver was. The biggest thing, you think back, alright moving forward next chapter in my life am I going to keep doing what I was doing or is this an opportunity…to reflect on… what’s my next step.”
  • What are the major ways you protect yourself from future failures? – “Understanding what’s really driving results.”
  • Who do you turn to when you need help? – “I have a handful of friends and great family support.”
  • What advice would you give to someone in a similar position? – “The first thing is what really matters. The things that we get for free we take for granted and you put a lot value on things that quite frankly, you’ll live another day. Stay humble, don’t believe your own press.”

[36:19] You can find information about René’s book “How to be a Great Boss” in where he talks about leadership and tells you to remember that if you want to be great, be humble.

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