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The Secret Ingredient for Staying Popular & Profitable | FoodPower is a restaurant consulting firm that coaches industry leaders to leverage strengths, create concepts, refine menus & identify opportunities to increase revenue & capatalize on the changes in today's dining out patterns.
At FoodPower, we are always keeping a lookout for innovative trends, money-making ideas, and great restaurants where the experience is worth shouting about!

But what is it that we do? If I had a dollar for every time I heard that question...

Well, we're a restaurant consultancy group - we provide independent restaurants with the tools and resources of a corporate office - we coach and consult innovative restaurateurs to remain relevant and we are often the "secret ingredient for helping them stay popular & profitable."  But how do we do it?

Each restaurant is different with varying concepts, locations, audiences, challenges and - my favorite - profit centers. I go into a restaurant and evaluate the strength of its brand, I define the concept (Is it current or outdated? Is it attractiing a broad base of customers, are the menus strong?), I determine its strengths and weaknesses, and then I identify opportunities to increase revenue.
 
My main objective is to provide restaurants with the cohesive power to prosper and grow with the flow.
 
Sounds simple, right? Actually, it is, but it requires patience, organization, a gift for understanding change and a plan! Perfect time for a plan is when a new concept is being developed, after the first year to access what's working and what's not and then in five year increments. Menus need constant re-evaluations and great operators are always tweeking their concept. 

There's always room to grow -- whether it be a new idea or a new approach, or if it's a small tweak or larger renovation -- if you want to turn things around, call me and we'll MAP it out. MAP is the MakeOver Action Plan I create once I've done the intial consultation and evaluation of a restaurant. I like to present a "Stimulus Package" to give restaurants a boost, and provide a short- and long-term plan to thrive.

In this series of newsletters, I'm going to show you how I approached a specific project and built its brand in order to double its annual revenue and prime it for location #2.
The restaurant is San Francisco's Rigolo, but before I ever delve into a restaurant, I get to know the owners – they are the heart & soul of the establishment.

In this case, the owner in question is Doug Mathieux.

What I  learned about Doug: born and raised in France – attended Berkeley – is an international techie with an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management – has a beautiful and supportive wife and two girls 
– adores Marcel Marceau (internationally acclaimed French actor and mime most famous for his character "Bip the Clown") LOVES great French cafes and wanted to open a few in the Bay area.

Most important to start was to understood his vision and personal style in order to come up with realistic goals: double Rigolo's annual revenue from $1M to $2M – have more FUN owning a restaurant - work with a good team - keep the kid-friendly elements while building dinner – dispel incorrect notions about the brand – build the brand so that a second location could open.

My assessment took only two days on site. I observed the internal workings of the operation from the back of the house to the front.  I watched the preparation and delivery of the food, and the interaction of guests with the Rigolo team and the space. I took hundreds of photos from the inside out to help my team understand the concept and the incredible opportunities I discovered for expanding sales at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I ate my way through the key items on the menu and photographed the merchandising  to understand how to build their take-out business.  Doug and I studied the neighborhood and the competition. 

At the end of the assessement, I understood the strengths  and the  challenges from the kitchen to the customer hospitality. I have been told I have eyes in the back of my head and I'm always looking for dollar signs in every corner. If there's a missed opportunity, I'll find it. I'll help you see any operation from both the operator's and customer's point of view.
From everything I learned, I knew that Doug's passion for great food, his business savvy (and extensive education), and his desire to have lots of FUN were a recipe for success, but there seemed to be a disconnect between him and the restaurant.

We began with the logo – it was extremely confusing.  What did Rigolo mean?  Most people thought it was Italian.  Here was an obvious disconnect.

To find some clarity, our team began by defining the term Rigolo, which means "a little funny" in French. Synonymous with humor, whimsy, fun, amusing... what an opportunity!  Nothing is more fun to implement than fun....especially in a casual restaurant. 

We liked the idea behind the name, because, at its core, it captured Doug's personality.  So we decided to tell the story ourselves -- a story of a whimsical, bustling French-style cafe in the heart of San Francisco called Rigolo!  We gave Doug and Laura Mathieux several taglines and they decided on -- "Un Petit Cafe Amusant" -- which said it all.
 
As we continued our research on whimsical French influences and Marcel Marceau, the famous mime, we kept running into the funky French parasols or Pagoda umbrellas...when we inserted it into the logo -- magic.

AND VOILA! A logo was born!