In the first of the two “wheels”, Amazon focused on creating a low-cost structure. This in turn enabled their sellers to offer products at lower prices. These lower prices created the first desired result – a great customer experience.
Second, as the customer experience improved at Amazon, word got out and increased traffic to Amazon’s marketplace. Higher traffic counts drew more and more sellers to the platform. The increase in the number of sellers in turn broadened the selection of products to shoppers on Amazon. This increase in selection improved the original desired result – a great customer experience. With the proper flywheel dynamics in place, the business transformed.
What are the flywheel elements of a restaurant business?
When the executive team, district managers, managers, and staff are aware of the flywheel elements and how they build upon each other, they can improve a restaurant’s effectiveness in each step of the process.
There are parallels to how Amazon’s flywheel principles apply to a multi-unit restaurant business, and one correlation is the first desired result. Amazon’s first desired result is a strong customer experience. For a restaurant, it is store-level profitability. A restaurant only succeeds and grows if an operator can find a way to serve great food and make money doing it.
If a restaurant can’t make money “within the four walls” of a store, it won’t be open very long. The presence of any investors, owners, future franchisees, lenders, and the future employees of future locations depend on the ability to turn a profit out of one original location. Once profitability is accomplished at one location, it can be scaled and leveraged into something that will transform the business.
So, where does a restaurant begin its flywheel? The first step in the first cycle of the restaurant flywheel is to invest in technology. To make money, operators need to be able to leverage technology to eliminate redundant tasks, track info and data, and keep everyone on the same page. The initial investment in technology might include a POS system, inventory, recipes, and scheduling.