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Stephen Kagawa, FSS, LUTCF

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A restaurant owner needed to reconfigure his businses during the lockdown.

When restaurants in California were closed to patrons due to the pandemic, I worked with a client to address the economic challenges he was experiencing as a restaurant owner.

It was hard to be of help to him at first, as he doesn’t like people knowing when he’s struggling. But if I can help clients to get through tough times or make life better, I’m happy to do so, especially for people like him who never ask for help.

The first step I took was to stop him from continuously reacting to the economy’s challenges he was hearing about in the media, which was paralyzing him from taking proper action. 

Through our conversations, I discovered his deepest fears and concerns about the loss of his restaurant, and established a better understanding of his hopes and ultimate plans for his business. 

I reviewed his financials and had him share the details of his customers’ habits. Which dishes did they order most and why? We also looked at what his restaurant was best at preparing and delivering while maintaining great quality. We identified which of these popular items were most profitable to him and his restaurant.

We also looked at who his regulars were and established a list of his most loyal ones. The names on this list would be asked for advice as centers of influence for his suddenly changing business. Of course, they were ecstatic and proud to be asked. We did this while also helping him find ways to access the benefits offered by the government for small-business owners.

He quickly adjusted by making a new takeout menu, established by what his regular customers were partial toward. We also inquired as to items they wished were on the menu. We then reviewed which of those were dishes he could prepare and deliver, while maintaining high quality. We also looked for those that offered the most profit margin to him.

He created takeout plates and family menus based on this information. He asked his best customers to help promote the new plates and his establishment to those they thought would enjoy the same meals.

He’s now in the “what should we keep and what should we change when we reopen to the world” stage, as we are still unable to dine in here in Los Angeles County. Data is now his friend, and his regular customers are looking to him more as an extension of their kitchen. We’ve done financial forecasting, and he is obtaining data that’s helping him with that too.

Of course, this all affects his family, and they are all quite energized and involved with the proactive measures. Insofar as his financial plan is concerned, little has changed, other than taking advantage of the opportunities that are availing themselves to him.

He already introduces me to the kinds of people I enjoy working with most of all, people of character like him. So, I’m helping him because that’s what we do and what makes me happy. 

Stephen Kagawa is a 27-year MDRT member from Monrovia, California. Contact him at


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