263: Embracing Change w/ John Buchanan of Lettuce Entertain You Consulting



john-buchanan-4Chicago Born, John Buchanan, is a psychology graduate of Northern Illinois University. His career at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE) began at Evanston’s Fritz, That’s It, in 1978.  When Rich Melman, LEYE founder and Chairman of the Board, realized the need for a Human Resources Department, he selected Buchanan to head up the project. He currently holds the title of Senior Vice President of LEYE and His ability to teach and motivate has led to the position of President of Lettuce Consulting Group.

Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor

Hospitality Tips From the World's Best (1)

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

From the Wizard of Oz- “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Focus on the goals, what do I need to do? Rather than focusing on a certain rulebook, or “the man behind the curtain”.

Career Challenge or Failure

I used to have a short temper at times and would tend to lash out and not be very sympathetic to other people.

Takeaway: Understand yourself and your motives.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success.

    • Do the job as best you can, and then ask for more.Confidence in your knowledge and ability. Set a goal, and achieve it. Be intentional.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Optimism. I want to take on and help every client, and in some cases, they don’t want to be helped.
  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    • People need to feel as though they accomplish things themselves. You give them the tools, the lessons, and resources, but in the end, they need to feel like they did it themselves.
  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • I ask myself, “Do I like this person?” It’s very easy to be giving to people you like, it’s not so easy to be giving to people you don’t like. The second thing I ask myself is “Is this person going to make my life easier down the road?”Men are more important than tools. If you don’t believe that’s true; put a good tool in the hands of a poor worker.
  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Juggling too many projects, and getting into situations where there are too many time shortages.
  6. What’s one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    • Knowing when to embrace change. “You don’t have to stumble and fall to lose the race, all you have to do is slow down.”
  7. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?


  8. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    • Use technology that increases discipline.
  9. With all the knowledge you have now if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, what would it be and why?

    • I would tell myself to be a little more adventurous, to trust myself, and not second guess myself.

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Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to John Buchanan for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!