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The Logical Mistake That Almost Doomed My Business

The restaurant was struggling. The bills were barely getting paid and making payroll felt like a high-wire act that could go wrong anytime. 

I racked my brain, “how do I increase sales? How do I get out of this jam?” 

Then it occurred to me “well … we aren’t open for breakfast, I could start opening for breakfast!” 

As I thought about the solution I began to reassure myself that my logic was solid “I mean I’m already paying for the rent here, I might as well use the space in the morning too”. 

What you’ve just read is a completely fictional story that outlines the flawed thinking that leads to hospitality hospitalizations and death. 

It’s a sad story and a mistake in logic that I’ve made before (I just caught my mistake before the business completely died.) 

So I write to my fellow food and beverage business owners in a desperate attempt to convince you all to stop adding random shit to your menu. 

Do NOT randomly add products, expand hours, and pray that the existing 5 visitors you have now will somehow spend their entire income at your store and keep your lights on. It won’t work and you will probably accelerate your demise. 

Let me explain. 

Five Guys, Chick-Fil-A, Cinnabon, and Chipotle. Whether you love or hate these brands we can agree that doing revenue numbers like them would be fucking incredible.

Interestingly, if I asked you to tell me what these brands serve you could answer in one or two words:

  • Five Guys: Burgers & Fries

  • Chick-Fil-A: Chicken Sandwiches 

  • Cinnabon: Cinnamon Buns

  •  Chipotle: Burritos 

Now I understand that these brands have a few add-on products — they sell drinks and some sides, but, 80% of their revenue comes from these core products. 

What do you serve? What are you known for? If you can’t easily answer this question ask 10 of your customers. What is it that you do better than anyone else? 

People struggle to connect a single brand to more than one idea. Therefore, it’s very hard for you to own some real estate in the mind of your customer if your menu is the same length as a major religious text. 

Also, expanding menus and hours of operations; increases labor costs, inventory costs, and maintenance costs. 

Now, you might be thinking “okay but I’m struggling what should I do right now, nothing?” 

Of course not, you need to take massive action. You need to delete 80% of your lowest-performing products, you need to double down on what you do well and you need to get more people in the front door. 

Run ads about your specialty. Own the local market for that one thing. 

If you can’t get people into your store for 1 awesome thing, you definitely won’t be able to get them in for 10 kinda okay mediocre things. 

Thanks for reading — if you enjoyed this, please like it and come check out my other work at

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