#11: Running a Restaurant: One Owner's Journey of Success Through the Pandemic

December 30, 2020 by David Scott Peters

In this episode of The Restaurant Prosperity Formula podcast, I talk with restaurant owner Karen Fagnilli, owner of The Lake House Inn Resort in Ohio on Lake Erie. Karen and her family purchased the inn about 20 years ago and added the restaurant in 2005. Then in 2012, they expanded the restaurant and have been on a quest to make money in the restaurant ever since.

Karen was already greatly focused on taking care of the guest, using locally sourced products and using systems. But like many others, found the restaurant was sucking up both time and money, and they weren’t getting the results they need. Fast forward to March of 2020 and the COVID-19 business restrictions forced her to close her dining room. Instead of looking at it as a negative, she turned it into a positive.

Karen is a rock star when it comes to leading her team in getting things done. Listen in on our conversation as she shares with you how she was able to transform both her business and life in a short eight months, all while the restaurant industry as a whole was on fire.

During our conversation she talks about:  
  • The reality of having an inn with a restaurant that was bleeding the rest of the business dry.
  • What and who she invested in to get to transform it into a revenue center that actually produces money.
  • How her knowledge and experience in health care both helped and hindered her in the hospitality business.
  • Why she and her team had to remove the emotion from their decision making and what helped them do that.
  • The importance of your relationship with your financial person – bookkeeper, accountant, etc.
  • Proof that beating a dead horse with your messaging eventually will get through.
  • How systems can lift the feast and famine mindset of seasonal businesses.
  • The benefits of using a restaurant business coach.
  • The role of the restaurant owner as the leader in the business.
  • How you can be an owner of a restaurant without having to do the day-to-day operational work.
  • Key systems that helped Karen and her team turn such a big corner and find more money and more time for themselves.
  • The shift in costs from using the systems, staying on message and being a leader.
  • Why investing in solutions is one thing but following up on the investment is critical.

It is really an awesome episode. After listening to our conversation, you’ll understand how combining leadership and taking action with systems and training, and then holding yourself and everyone else accountable, puts you and your restaurant on the path to prosperity.


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