SOS – Our Restaurants Need Help

By Andrew Parr




SOS is an urgent appeal for help; an international code signal of extreme distress, used especially by ships at sea. Some believe it means “save our ship” and others believe it means “save our souls.” Either would be appropriate for the current state of our restaurant industry, for the ships are the restaurants themselves, and the souls are the millions of employees who have lost their jobs. The reality is that SOS means neither. SOS is a continuous string in Morse Code of three dots, three dashes and three dots (…---…) with no spaces or stops. Why? Because it was the best and most efficient way to get the job done; a method to communicate to anyone listening, a signal of distress and a means of attracting attention to a dire situation.


In the restaurant industry, we are accomplished at implementing the best and most efficient way to get the job done when it comes to putting plates in the window or drinks on the rail. What we have not excelled at, in many instances, is determining the same efficiencies for running our businesses; and it has cost us dearly. The system is broken, and it is not so because of COVID. It has been in this state for a long time; yet it’s now that our broken nature has been exposed for all to see. SOS is a method of communication. In furtherance of communication, Jensen Cummings of Best Served Podcast partnered with Connor Holmes’s & Gertie Harris’s Fireside at Five to create a five part panel discussion on topics of immediate and long range importance in our industry. Each panel discussion, approximately an hour in length, was comprised of four panelists with a range of perspectives and experiences across the segment.


Cummings has also developed the Paragon Pillars, the “North Star” guiding all of his conversations. The Paragon Pillars set the lofty goals of creating an environment in which restaurants can attain 75% employee retention and satisfaction coupled with 19% net profit at flow state. The end result is to find equitable, profitable and sustainable solutions not only for operating restaurants, but also for the next generation of restaurant dreamers as well.


How to Watch, Listen & Read:


Watch & listen to the original panels on YouTube:



Read the original articles on Medium:



The articles on Medium, collaboratively written by Andrew Parr, Founder of Angry Olive Consulting, summarize the content of the panel discussions as well as provide valuable additional links to outside resources based on each individual conversation. Communicating amongst ourselves and asking for help is not anything we have ever been good at as an industry. We are, however, getting better and stronger with those skill sets. Take a few minutes to engage, seek help where it is available, and know that your SOS is being heard.




Andrew Parr, Angry Olive Consulting's Founder and Best Served Creative’s CHO, is a restaurant and hospitality industry leader with over 25 years of experience including consulting, project management, restaurant operations and talent acquisition. His education includes a BA in Psychology and History from the University of Wisconsin along with a JD from Hamline University School of Law.


Andrew was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Denver with his wife Jody and their dog Cooper. Andrew is a Past President of the Board of Directors for the Scleroderma Foundation – Rocky Mountain Chapter.


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