Key business metrics

I remember a year or so ago, I listened to this conversation between celebrity chef Mario Batali and David Kamp, author of United States of Arugula.

Mario Batali explains why he only has restaurants in two cities in the US: New York and Las Vegas.

Why? Because you can turn the tables three times per night in those places, because there are people who eat really late, and there are people who eat really early.

That means you can make more money, and that means you can pay more for quality people, and you can create a better restaurant.

The other day I was having breakfast at Boogaloos in The Mission in San Francisco, and I happened sit next to a journalism student writing an article about the place that day. So we chatted, and we chatted with the manager, Suzanne.

And Suzanne revealed the secret to Boogaloos is their kitchen is super-super fast. Your food is ready in less than five minutes.

That may not sound spectacular, but when you experience it, you realize just how spectacular it is. Like you don’t notice when the music stops, only when it begins again? That sort of experience.

Like I’d just brought out my cell phone to do something while I waited, but I didn’t even get started doing anything with it before the food was there. “Wait, but I *just* gave you my order?” Oh, well. Telepathic kitchen, perhaps? ;)

Cooking so quickly in turn means they can turn the tables in 30-40 minutes on average, which means they can serve a lot of customers and make a lot of money. Customers are happy, owners are happy.

Don’t know what they do with the money, if they invest it in the people or the art on the walls or in charity, or they just take it off the table.

But knowing the key metric is smart.

Try Boogaloos next time you’re in the city, and see for yourself just how that kitchen is.