Today was a great day, spent doing one of my favorite things. One of my clients, El Cazador Mexican Restaurant in Tifton, recently purchased a new location and is knee-deep in a major renovation. They’re getting new walls, new ceilings, new floors, new fountains… just about everything but the kitchen sink is being replaced. They’ll be leaving an old cramped building that could barely hold 100 people and moving into (what will be) a clean, modern location seating about 250. And what was my role? I got to spend the day above their ceiling, pulling wire for their new network and trying to avoid the insulation. It was awesome!
I decided to mention this client because the past 5 years have been full of bad news for so many local businesses. We haven’t heard enough stories about South Georgia businesses that are thriving. I spend a great deal of time with my clients, so when they do well, I get to enjoy it with them. Sometimes, I’ll even brag about them.
I met the owners of El Cazador – Jonas, Berna, and Sam – about 2 years ago when they were shopping for POS systems to help manage the crowds at their 3 restaurants. They bought a system for the Tifton location first, and, as usually happens, we soon became friends. Later, I spent more time with them installing systems in Hinesville and Savannah.
I often tell people that Mexican restaurants can be successful without having great food. Although great food does help (and El Cazador’s food is wonderful), I think patrons are even more interested in the experience. I can’t think of another type of restaurant where “atmosphere” is so important, and that’s where Jonas, Berna, and Sam really excel. Not just on Friday or Saturday, but nearly every night of the week they have a line of people extending out the door, waiting to get inside. If you like a nice quiet meal, you should probably go somewhere else because it’s usually loud inside El Cazador. The good folks of Tifton come to eat, drink, and be merry while joking around with their servers and the managers. The owners and staff know many of their customers by name because they don’t just greet them, they actually talk to them.
I could lie and say that El Cazador is profitable because of their POS system. (It did eliminate kitchen mistakes, and they no longer have servers “forgetting” to charge for cheese dip and margaritas.) But the restaurant really does well because of old-fashioned hard work and a love of working hard. Anyone who’s done it will tell you that working in a restaurant is tough. But beyond that, the owners and managers at El Cazador actually love what they do. You can see in their faces and in the line of people waiting to get inside.
If your business isn’t doing so well, you might ask yourself how it compares to this restaurant. Are your customers thrilled to be there? Are you?