How Ben Blonde Helps Make Business Profitable
Increasing revenue and profitability are fundamental goals for business owners. But, getting consistent results isn’t easy. Ben Blonde knows these troubles well, as he’s been a key player in the foodservice industry for 18 years.
As Ben says, “Throughout my career, I’ve been the person who went to a place that was struggling, underperforming, or mired in a slump of mediocrity. I was always given the assignment to see if I could make it run better and achieve the results that others only thought possible.”
He got his start in fast-paced environments where rapid decision making was essential. Ben tackled roles like a multi-site general manager, operations manager, and food service director during his career. While working with corporations such as Sterling Culinary and Aramark, Ben partnered with well-known organizations like Deloitte and Citigroup. Along with studying business administration, he recently obtained a Master’s degree in Leadership.
His dedication paid off as he devised basic strategies to “make an operation run better and become profitable.” Ben took on projects where the company faced significant operational challenges. In each situation, he implemented changes that delivered stellar results. For example:
- A large, Atlanta, Georgia client lost $200k in a fiscal year. Ben increased sales by 7% during the first year, improved the middle of the profit and loss statement (P&L) by 15%, and grew profitability by $150k.
- Operating standards, hospitality, client relations, and sales growth plagued a multi-site South Florida company. Ben stepped in to help. Over three years, they grew the business by 41% ($2.5 million in sales), improved annual profitability by $100k, and became the benchmark for food quality and hospitality.
- An Alabama utility company with three locations faced five unprofitable years before enlisting a consultant. During the first six months, Ben worked with the team to make $50k, putting them on pace for a profitable year.
Ben understands that all businesses, from restaurants to non-profits, experience problems with revenue. Many times, there isn’t one cause. Instead, unprofitable companies suffer from employee retention issues, internal stakeholder pressures, and inefficient operations. Ben overcomes these challenges by applying custom solutions based on basic strategies.
The challenge: Make companies profitable
You can’t click a switch and instantly grow revenue. Yet, companies struggle to find the causes of their problems while applying solutions. Throughout the years, Ben worked with numerous organizations that were tired of taking a loss. According to Ben, “These places all had historically high turnover in their management teams, inconsistent performance, and a lack of profitability. These trends caused client issues, poor hospitality for guests, and pressure from corporate teams to cut your way to prosperity.”
Underperforming operations require swift action. However, Ben notes that “every operation presented the challenge of improving profitability, but each location had unique hurdles that required more than one solution.”
The solution: Turn the big picture into actionable solutions
Ben spends time looking at a top view of the organization. Once he understands where there’s a breakdown in operations, he devises specific actions to make lasting changes. The solution “requires a change in culture and development of new managers and teams for each client.” But, companies also need quick operational fixes while more systemic problems are approached and changed.
Address problems with corporate culture
Ben believes it’s vital to tackle issues with a company’s culture before moving forward with changes. In each failing operation, he noted three common problems:
- Change was impossible because “this is the way it’s always been.”
- Excellence wasn’t expected or required. Mediocrity was acceptable.
- The status quo had become tolerable by people at all levels.
Ben’s approach unpacked these ideas to achieve buy-in from management and hourly teams. He says, “Many people who were long-term were looking to improve the workplace and create a better guest experience and work environment.” To produce results, Ben shifts cultures towards growth-worthy beliefs, such as:
- Change is a good thing. We will try something new if it gives guests and clients a better experience.
- Excellence is the norm. You inspect what you expect.
- Never turn an eye or your back on a standard.
Develop people and teams
Businesses rely on engaged and active employees. The road to profitability begins with investing in your people. Ben suggests that entrepreneurs use three key strategies to build robust and high-performing teams:
- Prioritize value. Make sure people know “why” they’re important to the business and you. Help employees understand that success begins with them and why they’re invaluable.
- Ennoble teams. Focus first on a person’s dignity, so people recognize their worth first as a human and better see their value as an employee and member of your team.
- Develop new leaders from within. When employees see you prioritize development and provide opportunities, they’re encouraged to step up their performance.
Apply quick operational fixes
Improving culture and developing employees takes time. Most companies can’t afford to put off revenue goals. Ben says, “These quick fixes provided the opportunity to gain some traction while the solutions above were in process. It gave time for those solutions to take root and become more impactful.” Incorporate a quick win by:
Looking for new revenue opportunities. Too often, companies and leaders want to cut their way to profitability. Ben recommends looking for easy ways to increase sales and profitability without requiring extra resources. For instance, one client explored new, consistent outside catering options while another sold bottled water to their onsite teams. Each service used existing staff but gave a cushion in sales and revenue.
Using easy operational fixes. Small things add up, so it’s vital to review the basics of your operation. Ben advises owners to “look at purchasing, like items that had become free for guests but were not normally free at other foodservice locations. Review contracts with clients and vendors to ensure the best terms. And manage the flow of receiving while checking vendors for accuracy.”
Bringing operations to a baseline. Many companies think expansion is a requirement for profitability. However, Ben urges owners to “make sure that operating standards are clear, staffing is at appropriate levels, and key performance indicators (KPIs) are met. Once the basics are in place and performed with excellence, sales go up, and it’s easier to scale with staff and solutions.”
Achieve your vision with the right strategies
Improve profitability in operations with the right culture and valued, well-developed teams who consistently exceed excellence standards. Explore ways to turn your business into a thriving brand by scheduling a call with Ben Blonde.