A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

Video Professor

Video Professor Review

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With interactive lessons, many find themselves learning sooner than they have with other programs – which they spent hundreds of dollars, and hours upon hours of study on. Now, the courses are available on the internet, so even those with the most basic of internet skill are able to learn with ease, on their own schedule, through the use of the convenient internet applications that demonstrate examples and teach lessons as each tutorial evolves.

How do you know these lessons are right for you? An hour is the average length of the video professor tutorials, and people are always shocked at how much they were able to learn within one short hour. Although many of the lessons go over an hour, the information presented is organized in such a fashion that it teaches as much as possible in the shortest period of time. Each lesson has been fine-tuned to be as effective as possible, and can be watched again and again to brush up on the skills learned within the interactive tutorial. Even one of the most difficult programs to master, Microsoft Excel, sees success when students are taught by video professor.

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Scottsdale Culinary Arts School

Getting a formal education for whatever career you want to pursue allows you to get a secured position in the industry. But to succeed in any field, your mind should be in tune with what your heart desires. It's true, is not it? How can you last in a job that you are not happy doing? This also applies in the world of culinary arts. If you believe deep in your heart that your greatest passion is cooking, then you have a bright future in the food service industry.

Before you aim in getting a higher position in the industry, you should first get a formal education in culinary that many top culinary school provide, such as Scottsdale culinary school – the Scottsdale Culinary Institute or SCI. There is no better way to prepare you for a career in the field of culinary than taking the world-restructured courses included in the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts program. The institute gained its international popularity from the quality culinary programs of Le Cordon Bleu in culinary or patisserie and baking. SCI is accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology and the Culinary Arts Program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute Accrediting Commission.

This top Scottsdale culinary school, SCI, offers degree programs that prepare students for an exciting and rewarding career in the field of culinary arts. With a stern emphasis on hands-on training, the school's programs provide graduates with a degree and the experience to immediately advance in their careers. Beside the student study center and library, the campus houses 8 kitchens, bakery, and meat shop- all equipped with the latest culinary equipment in the industry, enabling the students to keep up with the modernization of today's food service establishments.

To help you set your goal in the food industry, here are some of the Culinary Arts and related courses of study and degree programs of Scottsdale culinary school:

Associate Degree of Occupational Studies in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary, which can be completed in as early as 15 months and an externship that will last for 3 months at a food service establishment of facility of your choice.
Bachelor Degree in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Management, an advanced program of Scottsdale culinary school that provides advanced culinary education together with the management and communication skills required managing a restaurant. If your goal is set in a way that you run a business in food service industry, this program of Scottsdale school of culinary arts is the best for you.

Associate Degree in Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality and Restaurant Management, a combination of culinary arts program with practical knowledge of restaurant and guest service operations, which prepares students for entry-level positions.

Your Business Mission – What the Heck Do You Do, Anyway?

Do you really need a business mission statement? Is it just some fancy words to put in that business plan that collections dust on your shelf, or is there really more to it?

One of the key attributes of successful businesses is that they clearly know what they do. Defining the goal or the "mission" of your business can be the key to your success.

A good mission statement does three things:

"States what business you are in." Defines your target market. "Provides inspiration for your business.

One of the best examples of a mission statement comes from Levi Strauss & Co. [http://www.levistrauss.com/Company/ValuesAndVision.aspx]

"We will market and distribute the most appealing and widely worn apparel brands. Our products define quality, style and function. We will clothe the world."

Clothing the world is a pretty lofty goal, but Levi Strauss has the ability to do this for one reason — Their founder, Levi Strauss, started the business with a mission and focus.

Levi started his wholesale dry goods business in San Francisco February, 1853. Rather than hoping to make his fortune in the Gold Rush, he created a fortune by wholesaling clothing and fabric to the small stores supplying the thousands of miners and later, families of the West.

In 1872, he was contacted by Jacob Davis, a tailor who had developed a method to rivet the stress points of the pants he made from fabric he bought from-you guessed it — Levi Strauss. Jacob did not have the funds to patent the process, so he teamed up with Levi Strauss to patent the original blue jean in 1873. The rest is history.

Now, if Levi Strauss was your typical small business, he would probably have spun off in ten different directions in their early years, but the company remained focused on supplying quality clothing and fabrics to the working men and women of the West, and later the world. Rather than focusing on their core market, they would have fallen into the AFAB method … Anything for a Buck.

Most small businesses suffer from this lack of focus.

When we work with struggling business owners, the first thing we ask them is "What is your bread and butter?" What one product or service provides you with the majority of your business profit?

Unfortunately, most business owners can not answer that question. They did not define their core product or service and target market when they started, and end up doing a little bit of everything, and nothing well.

Or, they focus most of their time on a product or service line that they like, without knowing whether it actually is their most profitable.

Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this problem.

You have to determine your gross profit margin from each of your product lines or services. Get together with your accountant, and figure out what you need to do to separate your revenue and expenses by the major product lines of your business. Then, you can find out your gross profit margin, or the percentage of gross profit you receive from each activity.

The product or service with the highest gross profit margin is your core business activity. It is the bread and butter of your business, and the key to your company profits.

Now, you must focus as much of your company resources as possible on this core activity. Market it, systemize it, and turn your business into a machine for duplicating this product or service over and over again.

What happens?

Well, rather than running around like a chicken with your head cut off, putting out fires all over your business, you suddenly have the focus to know where to spend your time and energy. You know your core, and you can work to make a good thing even better.

This focus will transform your business and your life.

Remember the term "Jack of All Trades, but Master of None"? You can not really really good at something without focus, and focusing on your most profitable core product or service will make your business even more efficient.

Does this mean that you should never expand beyond your core? Of course not, but you must make sure you are really good at your core product or service before you venture into different directions. Creating a strong bread and butter business will give you the base necessary to expand.

Your core product or service is the foundation for your business. Build it well.