Restaurant Success Stories & Testimonials
Synergy Restaurant Consultants is proud to showcase the following testimonials from some of our favorite clients.
When I first reached out to Synergy to help me develop the concept for my pizzeria, here in Israel, I did not know what to expect. And I had my doubts as to how we would be able to work closely with them considering the geographic distance and the difference in markets. I had serious doubts before signing on and flying out to LA to follow their concept development program but had faith in Dean and his team.
Throughout the three-day discovery tour with Dean and the Synergy team, we ate a lot of pizza and had some in-depth conversations about the many directions in which we could take my new venture. Only with hindsight do I understand how crucial that process has been, how much I have learned and how far I have come from my original vision to a fully formed concept. Since I have returned to my home, I have not felt alone, they really do care and have worked with me to ensure my success.
We’ve been working together across the Atlantic ever since, and they are as professional and kind as it gets. If you know you want to get into the food business and take yourself seriously you need to talk to Dean.
Don’t have any doubts about the distance affecting their ability to support your project. Based on my experience, Dean and the synergy guys will not let u down.
Seth Cotlon, Super Foods Cafe
Collections Café a vibrant restaurant connected to Chihuly Garden & Glass. The restaurant has an amazing aesthetic but had troubles, quarter after quarter, with finding the right market and managing the bottom line. After a very successful engagement with Synergy in a previous company, contacting Dean Small and his team was, in retrospect, an incredible decision.
Synergy has been incredibly helpful in guiding our management team, and myself, in developing, implementing, and carrying out strategies to help increase our efficiency and profitability. We experienced a fairly immediate turn after the engagement kicked off and the Synergy team took us from an operating loss to a profit in just four months. Today all arrows are pointing in the right direction and Synergy’s contributions to our company have been absolutely quantifiable and measurable. Labor productivity is well over PY and beat budget; costs and expenses are well under goal. We attribute a lot of our extraordinary turnaround and our operating excitement to what we learned from our work with Synergy.
John C., Chihuly Garden & Glass
Simply Viet Eatery is a small Vietnamese Fast Casual restaurant that has been struggling for years to improve profitability. We decided that we needed some professional advice to guide us in growing sales and reducing labor costs. In addition, due to a tight labor market and turnover we were also experiencing consistency issues so we contacted Synergy Restaurant Consultants hoping they could help us.
The Synergy team spent two days on site evaluating every aspect of our business including our financials, recipes, food preparation and labor scheduling. The information and recommendations they shared with us was eye opening and very insightful for making changes in our business. They also provided us with a detailed action plan that helped us lower our food cost, improve consistency, increased sales and we eliminated over 60 labor hours per week.
Mai Vo, Simple Viet
Opening a new restaurant can be overwhelming! The Synergy Team helped with all stages from conception and menu selections to layout and design.
Besides being a very talented group of industry professionals they are a pleasure to work with. We couldn’t have come this far without you. Thanks guys!
Craig Nicholson, Fire and Smoke – A New Classic Steakhouse
In search of an outside analysis for our stand-alone restaurant we engaged Synergy Restaurant Consultants. We were seeking an overall assessment of our operation to determine potential profitability, strengths, weakness, and an assessment of our banquet and catering department. Brad miller was assigned to our engagement based on his experience with clubs and resort-type businesses. Our restaurant and cafe are within a large scale Homeowner Association as an amenity to owners, as well as open to the public.
His assessment started with multiple phone calls leading up to a three-day site review where Brad familiarized himself with our staff, inventory and reporting systems, FOH, BOH, and our banquet and catering services. The evaluation included our systems and controls, prep lines, dishwashing and food supplies, inventory practices, cleanliness, as well as our quality consistency and value.
After Brad completed the fieldwork, he stayed in contact with us as he prepared his final review. He continued to ask questions, requested more financial data, and was overall very thorough. We were provided with an assessment of our operation that covered the areas above, as well as a few potential problems we had not considered. We have implemented many of his suggestions including a new system of tracking our bread waste and using a new read vendor. We are pleased with the report and consider engaging Synergy Restaurant Consultants a good investments for improvement of our restaurant operation.
Julie Ridolfi, Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association
As you have seen, via Facebook, Marco T’s Pizzeria has been getting good press from our local newspaper’s food critic and in turn bringing in the Anchorage food enthusiasts. In chatting with the tables, one of the first response to my “how was your pizza” is the amazing crust, they enjoy the toppings of coarse but it’s the crust that gets mentioned the most by those who know and enjoy their food. The greatest complements come from those who have lived on the East coast and have been exposed to true Italian pizzas, when they say “finally a pizza I can eat in Anchorage” I know we are on the right course. You remember the Italian delicatessen were you and Ethan bought some spicy sopressatta, well the Anzilotti’s owners of Originala, either come in or order out pizzas for the family once a week, so I think we are on to something.
Tim, we want to thank you for your dedication to the art of creating Real Pizzas and sharing your enthusiasm and expertise with Ethan and our staff. You truly are part of the Team that ”set Marco T’s apart in a busy pizzeria scene”.
Mark Harlan, Marco T’s Pizzeria
Just a note to say thanks for the excellent work Tim and you did for us this past week. I have spoken with many in the ownership team since arriving home yesterday and their excitement over the opportunity to put into action the things you shared with us. I’ve had the chance over the years to work with many, many consultants coming into my plants to help us improve. I would categorize your approach to be quite different. Other consultants with whom I’ve worked seemed to arrive with a predetermined model that my team was expected to embrace and implement. Your approach was to evaluate who we are, what we do, how we do it, and what our competitors are doing and then develop the action plans that we can implement to improve. I like that process much better and I can see from my partners that they are liking it to.
I would also add that the interpersonal skill of Tim and you are very complimentary to the work you do.
The go forward plan for us now will be to get your report into the hands of every partner, let them digest it, convene as a group and determine our strategy to implement an action plan that will include continuing to partner with Synergy as we move alone our growth/improvement path. Thanks again.
Tom Masselli, President of Hudson Valley Italian Restaurants
Working with Clyde and the Synergy Team you feel that the troops have rolled in and that everything will be alright.
The Synergy Team has a gift to look at a restaurant not just as a restaurant business, but tries to understand the dynamics of the company culture and the people that run the business. Synergy has a special talent for bringing out each persons unique skill sets that helps make the restaurant a success so they feel that their contributions matter.
The Synergy Team will be straight forward on showing you whats wrong, what can be improved upon and present tangible recommendations with compassion to help make it right. I should have hired this company years ago!
Dee Arabian, President of Dee’s Brick Oven Pizza
I really enjoyed working with Clyde of Synergy Consultants and would recommend them to anyone wanting or needing any sort restaurant help. He is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the hospitality industry, he is concise and he was always attentive to my needs. He assisted in transforming and organizing my business in a timely and professional manner, his services are/were greatly appreciated.
Slade McPherson, owner of Country Barbecue, High Point, NC
Clyde of Synergy Consultants was very instrumental to the current success of Mastoris Restaurant. He has a strong skill set in teaching every aspect of management in all facets of our industry. From baking, soups, sauces, meats, front of house management and service , Clyde is a true professional and our business benefited greatly from the training he gave me. Thanks very much.
Nick Mastoris, owner of Mastoris Diner.
We found Synergy to be a turn key solution.
Their team consisted of passionate professionals with expertise in virtually every area of the food service space. They assisted us every step of the way starting with concept and recipe development, financial modeling and ending with training and opening support. I would highly recommend them to anyone thinking about opening a restaurant.
Bill McPherson, CEO, IronStone Pizza
Toppers Pizza has worked with Synergy on several projects and we have found them to be instrumental in helping us create strategies surrounding changes to our menu and product line. With Synergy’s out of the box thinking and practical approach to each project, we have been able to reduce operational complexity and improve profitability.
Synergy provided the type of menu analysis, operations savvy and strategic product development that allows Toppers Pizza to remain ahead of the competition.
Synergy remains a trusted consulting partner to Toppers Pizza due to our excellent experience in working with their talented team.
Scott Iversen, Vice President of Marketing, Toppers Pizza Inc.
I worked directly with the Synergy team over multiple operations, menu and concept development projects and as an extension of that collaboration, worked
with Jim Campbell for about a year on improving the supply chain programs for Great Wolf Lodge. Jim and I worked well together and I always found his communication with both myself and other Great Wolf team members was excellent. Together we determined the best course for the supply chain project. Jim worked directly with vendors to complete a distribution analysis and ultimately he recommended we change our distributor resulting in approximately $200,000 in annual savings. When we agreed to go through the change in distributors, Jim managed the initial implementation. There were several other key individual product projects within supply chain that he worked on for Great Wolf. Product savings for new suppliers and renegotiated price agreements from existing price agreements amounted to $300,000. Key products in the product savings number were bacon, chicken tenders, fries, and eggs. Combined distribution and product savings came to $500,000 for our company.
What was eye opening was that our new owners brought in two high profile consulting companies specifically for procurement. They estimated we had about
a million in F&B savings that could be achieved in partnership by leveraging their other big brands. As they looked closer at ‘our spend’, they realized we are just super tight with our buying since we worked with Jim and Synergy. Bottom line is even these procurement consultants couldn’t find any more savings for us. I felt it is also important to mention as you navigated that agreement with USF and Foodbuy, we have managed to expand it and drive more savings so you should get the credit here for setting that foundation which allowed Great Wolf Lodge save an additional $500K
Synergy exceeded expectations and we were very satisfied with the results. I would not hesitate to recommend them to other restaurateurs for operational or supply chain projects.
Christopher M. Hammond, Corporate Director of Food and Beverage, Great Wolf Lodge
When we were first developing LYFE Kitchen, we knew from experience that our concept would need a highly skilled team of consultants that could help us design our kitchen, fine-tune a sustainable menu and formulate a system of service and operations. We interviewed several firms, but Synergy’s passion and experience made it stand out. Synergy brought its best and brightest to our multi-disciplinary requirements and helped create our amazing first restaurant, which is now a huge success in Palo Alto.
I worked directly with Jim and the Synergy group for over 4 years during the development and launch of LYFE Kitchen. Jim is not only one of the most skilled supply chain executives in the industry, but bot he and the entire Synergy team have always collaborated with our operating team at the very highest level. He created great working relationships and a successful supply chain process through consistently clear and concise communication.
I highly recommend Synergy and Jim for any supply chain projects and am confident he will bring the same positive results that he brought to our company.
Mike Roberts, CEO (Former President of McDonald’s)
I utilized Synergy Restaurant Consultants in 2009 while I was serving as Director of Operational Efficiency for California Pizza Kitchen. Dean, Danny and their team performed a time and motion study on 350 prep ingredients and about 100 plate recipes. They delivered the study on time and in a very user-friendly format that allowed CPK to then use that information to determine the labor portion of the fully burdened margin for every menu item. This allowed the company to then make much better menu pricing decisions as well as re-engineer recipes for items with good sales but a low margin. The time/motion information also allowed CPK the ability to assign a prep time for each item on a daily prep list to better allocate necessary prep hours and hold employees accountable for completing that list on time.
Based on this good work by Synergy, I used its services again in late 2009 and early 2010 for a BOH Operations Assessment, where we spent a week in 3 units identifying inefficiencies within CPK’s production model. Based on the recommendations in that study, CPK was able to remove 40 to 60 BOH hours per unit per week from the labor schedules, which was quite impressive. I very much enjoyed working with Dean and Danny and appreciated their in-depth knowledge of the operational aspects of our business.
Dave Dwyer, Real Mex Restaurants, Inc.
As part of the preparation for Capriotti’s brand expansion, our team hired Synergy to develop a standardized bread program that would allow us to expand nationally while maintaining our high-quality standards. Synergy researched, tested and presented several cooking platforms including proof and bake plus combi oven technology. Synergy also evaluated new cooking methods and products for our in-house protein roasting, leading to improvements in energy usage, a decrease in cook times, increased yields and ultimately a final product that is both easier and safer for staff to produce while enhancing taste.
Synergy made progress in a matter of months that would have taken us much longer to achieve without its help. Mark and the Synergy team were extremely professional throughout the process. I would not hesitate to recommend Synergy to anyone looking to develop a new product or move to a new cooking technology.
Patrick Walls, President & COO
At Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., operator of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants, we recently engaged Synergy Restaurant Consultants to perform a very focused operational assessment and cost optimization project around a pilot market that will become a model for system-wide rollout. The Synergy team was very easy to work with, had a broad base of knowledge to pull from and provided practical solutions that can be executed in our environment. They worked in partnership with a broad cross-section of our team, supported the process to bring solutions to places we felt we had issues and uncovered additional opportunities that our team was able to implement. I was very pleased with the work product and look forward to working with the Synergy team on future projects.
David Goronkin, Chief Executive Officer, Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp.
The work we have done so far with Synergy has been very useful. We have really opened our eyes and mind to figure the long-term future of the company. We appreciate the guidance that Warren, Danny and Clyde have given us. I think we have a great long-term relationship with Synergy and I’m sure we’ll continue to work together in the near future.
Jaime Pun, President and CEO, Tai Pak
Pollo Campero is a passionate place, and your team brought your passion to the table as well. Your professional and straightforward comments were invaluable. With your help and insight, we were able to streamline our operations and BOH design in our new prototype, which will allow us to reach our goals.
The multiple projects were completed flawlessly and allowed us to increase efficiencies while still improving our food quality. We look forward to working with Synergy again if the need arises.
Roberto Denegri, President and COO, Campero USA
I want you to know that my team and I are very impressed by the thorough, comprehensive and professional job done by you and your associates. We have implemented a number of your recommendations with great success, and there are many more suggested action steps that we are working on.
The primary benefit to date has been that our team has taken a fresh look at our food, our presentations, our beverage offerings, our physical plant and our service standards. Your insights and suggestions relative to all aspects of our restaurant have had a catalytic effect, prompting our management to come up with many ideas for improvement on their own.
You gave us three reports: Branding and Marketing, Decor and Atmosphere and an extremely comprehensive and detailed analysis of our operations containing 15 sections. Every time I read each of these, I uncover insights and ideas I had overlooked before. All in all, I find the work you have done for us to be a trove of actionable ideas and a roadmap of how to turn a mediocre money-losing operation into a profitable one based on an enhanced brand, much improved offerings and procedures, and more effective marketing. Our sales have increased and I know customer satisfaction is up—and the food tastes better!
As a former CEO of a large restaurant chain, I have had experience with a number of consulting firms with stellar reputations. Synergy does not take a back seat to anyone. The work you have done for Ignite Bistro and Wine Spot is top notch, and your fee was quite reasonable. I look forward to having you help me in the future on other endeavors.
Frank Day, Concept Restaurants, Inc.
I want to take a moment to tell you how pleased we are with the operational review of our company you performed. The results of your study have given us a clear picture of where we are, with an exceptional step-by-step plan we can use that will set us up for major growth. You and your company provide a truly unique set of skills that has been immensely beneficial to us.
Tim McEnery, CEO & Founder, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant
For five consecutive years, Romano’s Macaroni Grill has won the coveted Restaurant and Institutions Platinum Award as America’s Choice of Chains. Even so, we felt a little too close to our own business at times to move our brand to the next level. This is where Synergy comes in.
What started as a simple desire to increase consistency and quality, reduce unnecessary efforts, and simplify layers of complication built on 17 years of evolution resulted in a plethora of new and innovative approaches we never thought possible. Not only did our executive team fully embrace the recommendations, but our front-line managers also saw them as heroes and a voice for change.
The experience was well worth our time and money. Dean and Danny delivered beyond our expectations. I highly recommend Synergy to any restaurant operator seeking assistance to make an operation better.
John Miller, Former President, Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Fantastic job! Both of you are so incredibly professional and talented, and your ability to work seamlessly in our restaurants with our Corporate Executive Chef and Chef Partners was particularly appreciated. You’ve helped us to take a new look at how we execute our menu, recommending creative ways to take signature menu items up several notches. Moreover, you counseled us on various techniques to improve productivity and quality.
Having the benefit of your experience and expertise has truly made a difference in improving all aspects of our business.
Skip Fox, President, Fleming’s Prime Steak House and Wine Bar
After much research, Roli Roti found Synergy to be the most comprehensive restaurant consulting company. Following a number of meetings to determine our detailed goals, Synergy created a Strategic Plan to grow the company. With a Brand Assessment & Concept Book, we were given a clear path for the goals to be achieved, a plan that included all the necessary tools to increase brand awareness and overall profitability. Through marketing strategies, menu development, detailed core values and SWOT analysis, we have made informed decisions to increase success.
We appreciate the expertise of Synergy’s team and the objective-driven approach they had to guide Roli Roti in the right business direction.
Thomas Odermatt, Founder/CEO
As a result of Synergy’s efforts, we have seen significant improvement in guest frequency, improved operating efficiencies, increased sales and guest satisfaction scores and improved bottom-line profits. I would strongly recommend Dean and Danny to any organization with a desire to improve food quality, upgrade menu selections and objectively assess current operations with an eye toward positive improvement.
Jim Nowodworski, CFO, Burgerville Restaurants
We entered a relationship with Synergy Restaurant Consultants that began with a thorough Operations Assessment and Operations War College involving nearly a dozen of our key associates. As a result, Synergy has completely revamped our menu offerings, instituted professional management practices, provided training, monitored execution and followed up extensively as we progressed through our makeover. We have significantly reduced both food and labor costs. Additionally, our customer counts are improving for the first time in two years, with the first quarter being the best in the history of our company.
The restaurant industry is a challenging business! After we implemented the Synergy restaurant management program, a $20 million, 8-unit restaurant chain increased sales by 5% while reducing food cost 2% and overall labor a full 3%.
Bradley S. Lomax, President, Water Street, Inc.
Danny and Dean spent the time necessary to completely understand the Saltgrass operating system by working numerous hours in many of our units. The Synergy team made change easy with their ability to create all the operational documents, manuals and recipes necessary for fast and effective change. Synergy’s talent for recognizing strengths, weaknesses and opportunities has made Saltgrass Steak House a more profitable and efficient business.
Mitch Murray, Executive VP Operations Saltgrass Inc.
Over the period of two to three months, Dean and Danny have worked tirelessly with our team to not only understand the food production process and operational flow of a Vietnamese restaurant, but also study the cultural aspects of the operations. The end product is a meticulously assembled set of documents that we believe not only provide a structural approach to the operations system-wide, but also deliver a consistent handling of our products.
Eddy Thio, Director of Operations Aureflam
We were developing a steak and seafood restaurant concept and had limited restaurant experience, and wanted to avoid expensive pit stops along the way. After my initial meeting with Dean, I told my financial backer that if we hired Synergy Restaurant Consultants our restaurant would win awards. Synergy played an integral role in every step of the process in the creation of Corbin’s Grille. It took less than six months to be awarded Utah’s Best Kept Secret by well-regarded Utah Business magazine. Retaining Synergy as a partner was unequivocally the best decision I made.
Jake Garn, President, Corbin’s Grille
We engaged Synergy Restaurant Consultants to leverage its knowledge of the restaurant world as we developed a new television series for NBC that involved launching a small restaurant chain as a prize. As the producers of Top Chef, we know the food world quite well, but the inner workings of how restaurants get opened and how they’re operated was a bit more foreign to us.
Synergy delivered precisely the analysis we needed well within the aggressive timeline we had set. As a result, we were able to take a very well thought out plan to NBC that had a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with the endeavor plus a timeline for us to work from. In the end, NBC ordered the project to series and the work Synergy did for us was invaluable.
Ross Jacobson, COO, Magical Elves Productions
The knowledge and experience that the Synergy team brought to the table was instrumental in our ability to put a complicated deal together with multiple entities. Our first meeting exceeded our expectations by a long shot, and I was amazed at what we were able to accomplish in a limited period of time. Synergy’s “out-of-the-box” thinking and expertise in concept development, branding, financial modeling and development of our business plan added a degree of experience and professionalism that very well could of been the deciding factor in us getting a sizeable loan. Having the Synergy team on our side was a great investment.
Things here could not be better. We are currently West Virginia’s largest independent restaurant according to our Sysco representative. We are looking to reach $3 million in our first year! We currently employ 72 people, and if our offsite catering continues to grow, we will have to add more.
Thank you and your Synergy team for giving us the tools and confidence to have such a tremendous start.
Robert Sydenstricker, Founder and President, FireSide Grille
We interviewed numerous consultants and finally decided that Dean and Danny of Synergy Restaurant Consultants were best suited to support this endeavor because of their vast experience working with chains and their culinary, operations and training knowledge.
The Synergy partners played a pivotal role facilitating a Best Practices Round Table with our senior management team, facilitating updates of all our operations manuals, training manuals and recipe books.
We recognized the value of having Dean and Danny as our culinary partners; they were instrumental in filling the pipeline with numerous menu items that are signature to our brand. These guys are food gurus—hire them!
Stephen Silverstein, Not Your Average Joe’s, Founder
We hired Dean and the team at Synergy to help us mold our restaurant idea into a viable concept for the Washington, D.C. market. With Dean’s guidance, our original idea, that in hindsight was somewhat one-dimensional, has evolved into an exciting brand that has the potential for great success and scalability. I highly recommend Synergy for restaurant startup services and welcome the opportunity to work with its team in the future on additional phases of our restaurant project.
Mike Halpern, CEO, Franchise Consulting, LLC
Synergy has been enormously helpful to our food service business here in Saudi Arabia. Initially, its team conducted a rapid but thorough review of our current steakhouse operations and food offering, identifying a range of improvement options, many of which we are now implementing. Subsequently, Synergy assisted in the recruitment process for the new food service business Managing Director, screening hundreds of candidates to provide us with a shortlist of top-quality individuals. We’ve now just hired our preferred candidate, bringing to our business the elusive mix of hard and soft skills required to succeed in this unique market. Overall, Synergy has delivered professional work that has truly supported our business in moving to the next level. I recommend them highly.
Dirk Kalaff, Head of Strategic Performance Management