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Bulli For you…..

Optimize Blog - March 11, 2013 - 0 comments

El Bulli is or was a Michelin 3 star restaurant situated near the town of Roses in the Catalonian region of Spain. At one time described as “the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet” the restaurant was judged by Restaurant Magazine to be Number One on its Top 50 list of the world’s best restaurants in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 and it was at #2 in 2010.
Historically reservations had to be made at least 6 months in advance due to its overwhelming popularity and in its limited season in 2010 bookings for the next year were taken in a single day!
However the restaurant has not been a standalone commercial success despite the average cost of a meal being $325. More revenues are generated through the sale of books and lectures by the owner and Kitchen Head, Ferran Adria.
Last year Sènior Adria announced that the restaurant would close and that he and the staff would be taking two years away to take a step back and plan the future for the restaurant. The vision is to create a culinary academy and restaurant when it re-opens in 2014 focused on “the limits of creativity from an interdisciplinary view”.
Having run its course as a successful albeit loss-making restaurant, it is interesting to watch this transformation unfold and here at Zeitgeist it prompted us to think about planning and strategy.
Clearly most businesses do not have the luxury of being able to close the doors for a couple of years to get things sorted out – the rest of us have to consider the future while still running a business on a day to day basis. Not too long ago we were part of a strategy session where an organization took four senior directors and two other key operations people out of their jobs for six months to work on the company strategy. Their existing roles were temporarily backfilled while the strategy work was completed.
The process was successful and the quality of the thinking and output was exceptional because there was a separation from day to day operating distractions. The business continued to move forward while the strategic work was undertaken concurrently.
Too often we see clients trying to develop strategy from off the side of their desks without really putting the quality of thought into the analysis and planning. This is one reason that the majority of strategies fail and often strategy ends up being a ‘to-do’ list or a description of what the company does.
Ultimately a company cannot compromise on its strategic planning. If your company is making up strategy ‘on the fly’ this needs to change. Not having the luxury of closing the doors for two years does not mean that there are not innovative ways of getting the strategic planning work done. It is a critical part of the role of the senior team. Start planning on how to start planning…….

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