Harlan Scott

Harlan Scott

President at Harlan Scott Hospitality

COMMUNICATE. Hardly anyone in our business does this effectively which is why customers are confused, company cultures are toxic, turnover is rampant, service is inconsistent, and we work harder instead of smarter. Communicate your vision to your staff, to your customers, and to your superiors (by being your own cheerleader.) Regularly scheduled meetings, thoughtful and prompt emails, thorough training material, a cohesive narrative that your customers can easily understand make your job immeasurably easier and more secure while increasing the likelihood for success in your job or for your business.

Transparency. Transparency. Transparency. Being transparent goes hand in hand with communication. Whenever I tell my staff to do something or make a policy change, I always let everyone know the WHY and the consequences to them, to me, and the business if we don’t execute correctly. If I bleed, the staff knows it, if we have a victory, the staff shares in that accomplishment with me.
I want to make the world a better a place by making my employees believe that our restaurant is how all restaurants should run — changing the paradigm that restaurant culture has to be chaotic and abusive.
I listen to Audiobooks and podcasts regularly when driving. I read the Austin Business Journal and local food blogs like Eater that keep you abreast of all new developments in our industry.
The books that are are the most essential for me are The E-myth by Michael E. Gerber and Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek.
Those that are able to make this a career and achieve wealth AND quality of life have to separate themselves from the romanticized drama of restaurant culture, and practice self-discipline. Rise above the muck. This will sometimes alienate you from peers, but your goal can’t be to be everyone’s peer.
I cannot do my job without Microsoft Outlook.
When I was in college, I was the Corps of Cadets for all four years at Texas A&M, immersing me in a 24/7 military environment. From my experience as freshman, being at the bottom, being hazed, having to sacrifice all worldly pleasures and being strained mentally and physically gave me empathy for my subordinates by the time I was a senior. To this day, when I talk to a dishwasher, server, or line cook, I remember what it’s like to be at the bottom and get my hands dirty. It changes the WAY I ask them to do things and the way I judge their performance. I’ve been there.
After working with one restaurant group from 21 to 28, starting as a server and leaving as director of operations, only to lose it all, I was faced with a choice. Do I go back to school and live a “normal” life, or do I acknowledge the skills that got me the far and develop them further? That’s when I admitted to myself that I loved this industry and was damn good at it.
The skills I feel are the most important to have when working in hospitality consulting is a grasp of the latest technology and strong communication skills.
I find Inspiration while traveling, both locally and internationally. Eating and drinking at local bars and restaurants can give you a real sense of the culture and expose you to new ingredients, flavors, and techniques.
Professional l skills that we take for granted in “the real world” are very uncommon in our business. Can you type and communicate your ideas well when speaking? Can you use simple technology like word and excel, not just the flashy new restaurant POS? You are an extension of me; you are representing my business, and therefore you need to be better than a casual restaurant manager.

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