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Foundations Come First

I had the opportunity to meet with two of my favorite restaurateurs recently to talk about their business. At the head of our conversation we discussed their interest in branding and selling some of their “homemade” products. Being familiar with their food I thought this a winning idea and shared with them the learning I had gained at the foot of a former client, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. If you don’t know, this product started out as a special table seasoning that “Lawry” (short for Lawrence) Frank used in his prime rib restaurants. It was a perfect accompaniment to his savory dishes that was snapped up by all his customers. Being the attentive entrepreneur that he was, Lawrence packaged and sold his spice blend as Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and the rest is history.

However my conversation regarding creating a line of private label products quickly migrated to other more pressing business issues. These two owners had been working feverishly, expanding their business and adding locations over the past years and were currently bursting at the seams. They needed space to produce and store their menu items which necessitated a new warehouse. Like many other successful restaurateurs they were experiencing personnel pains as new locations required hiring quality employees to meet the standards set by their restaurant. And of course all of this required financing.

In short before they could dive into a conversation about marketing a new line of products they needed to strengthen their operations. Once they had this new foundation in place they could begin producing, packing and selling their own line of goods. While disappointed they were not ready to proceed now, I immediately saw the strength of their thinking. In order to grow your brand, you need a strong foundation. I preach this to my clients all the time … focus on brand positioning first, before building a new web site, or designing new marketing materials, etc.

So as it turns out my two friends are doing the exact right thing. They are strengthening their business so when the time comes to expand their brand with a new private label line they will be prepared. Not a bad lesson ... learn more at

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