The Front Burner

The Front Burner – October 2019


In this section every quarter, I will give you a business update.  I like the name, The Front Burner, because I think that it is important for our business results to get equal “front burner” billing with our passion for hospitality (service and food).  There are usually at least two front burners on every stove, but in our case,  there are three.  Results, Hospitality and our People and I want those things to all have equal oxygen and love.

With that said we had a crazy summer.  Three new restaurants came online this spring (Traymore by Michael Schwartz, MGFD Cleveland and Tigertail and Mary).  All so different for so many reasons.  But all three launched with great success!  I am so proud of everyone involved.  We have launched six restaurants in 18 months, and they have not all been nearly as smooth as these three which tells me we have learned a ton from our mistakes.  We are getting pretty good at it.

MGFD Cleveland has received terrific reviews.  We are learning a new market and that is hard, and we are far away and that is challenging too.  But we have been very very pleased with the solid start

Tigertail is like a freight train. It has been a phenomenon.  The team there has created a rabid fan base and an intimate supportive culture so quickly.  Its remarkable.  The restaurant is beating our projections by 30-50% and some weeks it does more sales than even Amara or MGFD Miami.

The Traymore is delivering beautiful food.  And the partner, Como Hotels, is super happy with it.  We will continue to invest more and more marketing into it, and we are excited about the re-launch of the bar program coming up soon.

Our other existing restaurants are chugging away and despite lots of new competition, they are holding their own.  We have so many exciting initiatives coming up for MGFD Miami and Amara.  I will tell you more about them as we finalize plans.  And of course, Ella is the little engine that could.  Forgive all the train references in this note.

Our pizzerias are solid.  Coconut Grove is a machine!  And Aventura is now growing by around 20% versus last year with the new Apple Store opened next door.  We are in full “new opening mode” for our new Harry’s Pizzeria on Miami Beach will launch early next year.

And our new “virtual delivery only” deli opened last week and there is so much excitement about it.  We will continue to expand our delivery area over time and who knows, maybe we will do more virtual concepts.

Other than that, we likely won’t open anything new next year.  We will focus on investing in our team and tightening up our operations and business processes to maximize the success of what we have.  We will then we will get back to “expansion” in 2021 and beyond.  This coming year you will see new processes, better communication and more investment into our infrastructure, our team, and the services we provide to you over the coming months.  And of course, you will experience a tiny bit more formality like an increased focus on the numbers and maybe even a few more meetings (Booo!) also.

I will drill down on more specific business results in future newsletters but for this first one, I thought folks might like to know where we stand.  Growth this fast has been TOUGH.  It costs a lot.  Mistakes hurt.  Folks are stretched.  But we take accountability for all that and celebrate our successes along the way.

None of this would be possible without the terrific group we have who make our restaurants what they are.  The best!  So, thanks a ton.

More to come….