For those of you who weren’t there, my team and I set up shop at the RFMA (Restaurant Facilities Management Association) Annual Conference in Phoenix this year.  We had this grand idea to bring all of our marketing & podcast equipment, which is a bit foreign to this industry, and engage in thoughtful and insightful conversations with several facility managers from across the nation.

Well, we definitely failed to account for something; people actually wanting to get mic’d up and talk into fancy gold microphones while being recorded live across every major social network.  Now that I write it, okay, I guess it makes sense…

But we did get one very interesting guest on the show.  His name was Anthony Coniglio from Longhorn Steakhouse and the information he was willing to share was worth its weight in gold (microphones).

A lot of people stress the importance of communication, and it’s the very foundation that Windy City Equipment was built on.  But few people are able to offer valuable or constructive advice for improvement.  Well such wasn’t the case with Mr. Coniglio; he threw on the headphones, stepped right up to the mic, and said “You want some advice”?  I’ve got some advice for you…”


“While the rest of the world lives in hours or days, restaurants live in 9 minutes.” I was immediately intrigued and excited to hear how Mr. Coniglio was going to elaborate.

In a nutshell, it’s like this:  If a manager, owner, chef, or somebody else calls you with a question, or needs to place a service call, you have NINE MINUTES to respond.  The sheer brilliance of this is absolutely remarkable.  He went on to explain, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have an immediate solution for the caller, what matters is that if you respond in 9 minutes you are automatically matching their sense of urgency.  They know that your intent is real and a resolution has begun.  This is the most important aspect of communication, and wouldn’t you know, it has absolutely nothing to do with what’s being communicated!


Well, this part isn’t rocket science, I implemented it company-wide the day after we returned from RFMA.  You need to communicate with your staff that when a message is left, or when an email comes in, that it is to be responded to immediately.  At least acknowledged to the customer that it was received and we are working toward a solution.  Personally, I integrated this philosophy with my existing philosophy of “Under Promise, Over Deliver” (more on that in another post).

I had always known there was a process or system that could be implemented into my existing communication structure, but I always struggled to figure out exactly what it was or what to call it.  Well, now I know.  Thanks to Mr. Anthony Coniglio for the most valuable piece of information taken away from that conference, and for changing a fast growing company for the better.

It’s amazing how communicating that you have absolutely nothing to communicate can improve communication…

Josh Zolin, CEO

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