As the old saying goes, "if you are not growing, you're dying.”
That's why restaurant magazines are so important - they serve to inform, inspire, and help you grow as a modern restaurateur.
Working with restaurant professionals for a living, I recommend to all my clients that they begin a subscription to the following 7 restaurant magazines. Just like you, they are having a hard time keeping up with the chaos of a day in the restaurant business.
I know they (and you) don’t have the time to read each one cover to cover, but I believe it's worthwhile to - at the very least - look them through. Something may catch your eye, like an interview with a successful chef on his legendary secrets or a news piece on the latest restaurant technology.
You don’t need to read everything, you just need to find inspiration.
You will notice that some of the magazines on the list are trade-specific to the restaurant business, some are just general current events, and some more business-specific. The one thing they all have in common is a different perspective of the world than yours.
1) Restaurant Startup and Growth
Restaurant Startup and Growth is likely the most hands-on magazine listed here. It offers very detailed how-to articles for the future or current restaurant operator. My one disclaimer is that the magazine has a slight bias toward quick-service operations, but it is still a fantastic resource for the independent operator of any single or multi-unit restaurant. Their articles are generally written by industry experts that have operated restaurants, which means you'll get your hands on much more specific advice.
Price: Free for 12 issues
2) Restaurant Business
Restaurant Business is definitely more geared toward the business side of restaurants and even more geared toward the multi-unit, larger establishments. Even if your restaurant doesn't fit that bill, you can still learn about other restaurant chains, new technology, and read valuable articles. I don’t love all their “trend” articles...but maybe that's just me.
Price: Free to those who qualify
Time Magazine is just a great recap of the week's activities all around the world. While the articles usually offer nothing at all specific to the restaurant owner other than a quick recap of what has happened and what is happening, I believe that in order to be a great leader you have to be well-rounded in your knowledge of the world. Since history tends to repeat itself far more often than we think, by studying current events, we can better predict the future.
Price: Free for 4 issues / $40 annually with online access / $30 annually without online access
4) Food Network Magazine
Food Network Magazine offers the restaurant owner/operator insight into what the home cook is being exposed to. This, to me, is the most important magazine a restaurant owner could read. The people reading this magazine are the same ones sitting in your dining room. Customers return and recommend businesses that exceed their expectations, and it’s almost impossible to exceed an expectation if you don’t know that it is. By keeping up on the food that is being broadcast into your customers' homes 24 hours a day, you can see what their expectations are, and then easily exceed them.
Price: $13 annually with print and online / $12 annually for print or online
5) Food & Wine Magazine
Food & Wine Magazine is on the list for similar reasons to Food Network Magazine, except Food & Wine also does an amazing job of featuring the hottest restaurants around the world. Again, if your customers know more about restaurants in your area and trends around the world than you do, how are you ever supposed to exceed their expectations?
Price: All Access - $39 for 36 issues / $28 for 28 / $15 for 12 / Print - $30 for 36 / $22 for 24 / $12 for 12
6) Entrepreneur Magazine
Entrepreneur Magazine helps round of the list of magazines I recommend because of its more business-centric focus. The magazine tends to give technology companies a bit more of a spotlight than brick-and-mortar, but that is where the growth is these days! The important thing is to read between the lines. Don’t dismiss an articles as “not important to you” because it's featuring a tech company that sells products online. Business is business and there are lessons to be learned all over the place if we are open to them. I get fantastic ideas to share with clients (or your team) from this magazines plus there are book recommendations and exposure all kinds of business tools that you would not normally run into if you were not looking for them.
Price: $10.99 annually for print and digital / $9.99 for print or digital
7) Success Magazine
Success Magazine is another one of my favorites because it reaches past general business into more a personal development world. There are always fantastic articles about management, leadership, time management, work life balance (which is kind of a myth) and all aspects of success. If you are new to personal development and don’t want to commit to one “guru” like a Tony Robbins, then Success is a great starting point for you. You will also find a contributor that you like and might choose to go deeper with their work.
Price: $29.95 annually for print and digital / $19.99 annually for digital only
Using Restaurant Magazines to Fuel Business and Personal Development
In my joint role of chef, restaurant consultant, and business coach, I'm often asked one question (besides what my best dish is). It is, “what is your best business tip?" The answer to that one is easy - find a great coach or mentor.
Then I usually joke and say "I'm available tomorrow at 4:00 pm if that works for you."
In all seriousness, I work with two coaches ever week, one is my business coach and one is my life coach. I have studied from Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, John Maxwell, Taki Moore, Ryan Deiss, Jeff Walker, and so many more mentors that I can’t name them all. They are the reasons for any of my success and I can’t emphasize the importance of finding continues inspiration to fuel your fire and a coach or mentor to help you execute it.
The magazines I have recommended in this article will provide you with the inspiration and introduce you to potential experts where you can continue your education and growth.
(But seriously, as a coach myself that specializes in working with restaurant owners and operators, I would be honored to speak with you if your interested.)
Heads up: The prices listed are as of March 2017 and are subject to change!