What Business Are We In?

I first declared my answer to this question in 1978 and it has never changed. We are in the respect business. Everything we do, whether in the view of the guest or not, is an opportunity to convey respect, or fail to. I guarantee you, if you accept this premise, any time you are uncertain about how read more


I very frequently have conversations with people thinking about opening a restaurant.  I enjoy these conversations.  I wish I could have had such a conversation in 1976, when I was starting Bel Canto!

At the close of these often rambling conversations I like to ask “What was most useful to read more

Good Profit and Bad

Our friend and mentor John Case coined the term Open-Book Management when he was an editor at Inc. magazine. He has written extensively about it for over twenty years.

His thoughts about the ethics of Profit form a cornerstone of our work. This article on the topic is reprinted here with his read more


All Staff: As soon as you become aware of a guest whose satisfaction is “at risk,” no matter how trivial it seems, inform the Manager on Duty. This is called an “At Risk Report,” or “ARR.”

Here is how it works:

Any staff member can get the undivided attention of the MOD by saying “Arrrr” read more

“How’s Everything Here?”

“How’s Everything Here?”

Our server’s perfunctory question, asked across her shoulder with her torso pointing where she was headed next, got the answer she was seeking: “Great, fine, all good.”

This ritual Ask-and-Answer does have a purpose: Were something missing or really, really wrong read more