The restaurant business is something we live and breathe. We're in the restaurant for countless hours every week. We talk about it all the time to customers, staff and friends. We think about it constantly. And yet... the success we'd really like to have often eludes us.

The challenge isn't that we're not bright enough or don't have the proper education. It's not that we don't work hard enough. And it's not that we don't have enough experience. No. The problem is one that virtually every one of us experiences. The problem is that we all have "blind spots". We can't see what we're missing.

No one is immune to this. Regardless of age, experience, education, or intelligence, there are problems and solutions we just can't see. The impact of never seeing your blind spots is that they will continue to limit your success. They limit your growth as a person and as a business. And until they are revealed to you, the issues holding you back remain a mystery.

Many people go about growing their business by putting their head down, plowing ahead, and doing the same thing over and over again. The result, of course, is that they basically continue to get the same results they've always gotten. So (because they're determined to succeed) they resolve to work even harder. They put in longer hours, read more, and analyze more. And all that effort does help, but only incrementally. They only see marginally better results.

And then there are others who decide to push beyond what the rest are willing to do. They work harder than everyone else, put in more hours, and invest more emotion that anyone else they know. Unfortunately, the truth is that working harder and harder actually produces worse results! It becomes counter-productive.

Other people take a different approach. They'll hear about a sales or marketing strategy that someone else had success with and decide to implement it. But what they often fail to realize is that the strategy they're implementing was a good fit for the personality of the owner or it was a great fit for the concept of the restaurant it was used with. The result? They don't get very good results. It can be very frustrating and very discouraging.

But there are a handful of restaurateurs who are able to break through to new levels of success. They are able to grow beyond the typical 5%-10% that most others get, and generate 50%+ growth, even leading to expansion into other locations.

They do this by getting past their blind spots. We have blind spots in what we believe, we have blind spots in how we think, and we have blind spots relative to the actions we take. I see this issue time after time with my restaurant clients. They can't see the mistakes in their menu, in their concept, in their floor layout, in their marketing,... You get the idea. They simply can't see what's wrong.

Blind Spots in our Beliefs:
We all have blind spots in our beliefs. These beliefs are self-limiting and are often at odds with the goals we say we want. Many people know that somehow they're undermining or limiting their own success. The challenge is that they've held onto their beliefs for so long that they're blind to them. In fact, these beliefs come to "define" us. They can feel like the "truth", but in fact are only "your" truth, not "the" truth. By allowing these conflicting and limiting beliefs to continue, they act to minimize your results.

Blind Spots in our Thinking:
The same thinking that got you where you are today can't take you beyond where you are. If you keep thinking in the same way, you'll keep coming up with the same kinds of solutions. You'll stay locked into marginal improvements instead of seeing significant growth. If you hang onto limited thinking you can't think in expansive ways. Your blind spots will affect your capacity to rely on your own ability to succeed and to resolve things. You'll short-change yourself over and over again. A shift in thinking is what is needed in order to have a shift in action. When you continue to think in the same way, you can't even BEGIN to consider acting in a new way.

Blind Spots in our Actions:
Many people get attached to the process of how their success will be achieved. When that happens, they act as if they have blinders on. They get tunnel-vision with respect to HOW to reach their goals. And when that happens, they work harder and harder, do the same thing over and over until they eventually burn out. They'll try to duplicate what others are doing, even though they don't get good results from the effort, or they'll accept mediocre results and "ride it out", or they'll refuse to consider proven strategies because "it's just not what I do".

It doesn't matter how smart you are, how much education you've had, or how experienced you are, we all have some blind spots that hold us back - sometimes severely. Taking your business to the next level can require any number of changes. It can require new ways of thinking, new levels of belief, new marketing strategies, new systems, and less effort.

The biggest challenge in getting past our blind spots is that we can't see them! It's almost impossible to do this on your own. You first need to identify the beliefs, thoughts and actions that are holding you back. You then need to release them so they no longer control you. And finally, you need to adopt new perspectives. You need to add new beliefs, new thoughts and new actions. The reality is that you almost ALWAYS need someone to point them out to you and then guide the way. In addition, each of us has our own unique blind spots. There is no "One Size Fits All" answer.

Find someone outside your business to help you rise above your self-limitations and reach the level of success you know you're capable of achieving. Don't rely on partners or spouses - they're too close to you and your situation. Often, an experienced restaurant consultant or business coach can fill that role. The biggest mistake I made early in my career was not looking outside for help. Don't make the same mistake I did in my early years.

Author's Bio: 

Written by Michael Beck, Restaurant Consultant. He is the Principal Consultant at Restaurant Business Group, a restaurant consulting firm specializing in restaurant marketing, cost control, and profit improvement. Please visit to learn more. Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2011 Michael Beck International, Inc.