Ken Burgin

Is this Your Hero’s Journey to Restaurant Success?

You’ve seen the story in Hollywood movies, adventure novels and the rags-to-riches business stories. They often follow a classic structure called ‘The Hero’s Journey’ – it’s been used since mythological times.

Here’s how the structure works (watch the video first), and think about what parts of it you could share with customers and staff – they love to be inspired. We often overlook the way our own story would fascinate and inspire others. Each step along the journey could be a short blog or Facebook post, building the adventure and your status as a business hero. Seriously!

Life in the Ordinary World – the regular job, the same routine, but there’s a dream you have about your own cafe, bar or restaurant.

Get a Call to Adventure – you travel and your eyes open, or hear about someone just like you who’s started a business. Daily life may be feeling a bit ordinary, so this call is all the more tempting. Maybe you see a cafe that’s closed and the landlord is desperate…

First Refuse the Call – you weigh up the ideas, and decide that because of money, responsibilities or the opinions of friends, it’s not the right decision.

Meet the Mentor or Sage – a person who challenges you and shares new insights. You talk first-hand with some successful operators, attend some business courses or read books that show that this dream can be a reality.

Cross the Threshold to Adventure – it’s time to quit the job, take out a loan, or take on a new job where you’ll be working in a cafe or bar and learning how a good business operate.

Tests, Allies and Enemies – the work is harder than you thought, and setup is more expensive than imagined. Government approvals and uncaring landlords stand in the way – you learn new skills at negotiating. Your enthusiasm and positive outlook also wins you friends in unexpected places.

Overcome Fear of the Innermost Cave – you sign the lease on premises, for a length and cost that’s much greater than anything you’ve ever committed to. What if you lose everything? 😮

Face the Supreme Ordeal – the first year in business is hard! Long, long hours, you don’t see friends, relationships may not survive and you have to find more financial help. Customers are indifferent to what you thought would be a great concept, but you’re constantly adapting and finding out what does work. You move to a smaller apartment to save costs.

Reward for Hard Work – it’s two years later and you are now generating a good profit, creditors are happy and customer numbers are improving all the time. There are good reviews and a solid team of committed staff.

The Road Back to Life – it’s time to find more balance in your life and reconnect with family, your health and the area you live in. You take the first holiday you’ve had since you started the new business.

Resurrection as a New Person – maybe there’s a new relationship, you move to a more comfortable home, go back to the gym or start a regular morning walk. You’re listening to music again, and can afford the concerts you’ve always wanted to attend. You have a holiday to Japan, Paris and New York  – all eye-opening experiences. You make new friends who are successful like you – previous friends have dropped away, because they don’t understand your new priorities.

Return to Where You Started. But things will never be the same again – you still love your family, friends and staff, but see them  with new eyes. They see you are different – some miss the ‘old you’, and most of them love the new maturity, wisdom and prosperity you’ve created.

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