Author Archives: SynergyConsultants

About SynergyConsultants

Co-Founder and Managing Partner Dean Small possesses a passion for the restaurant business, and compassion for those seeking to compete in it. As a result, he took his many years of valuable experience in all facets of the industry and co-founded Synergy Restaurant Consultants in 1988. Twenty years later, Dean is still a very active Managing Partner in what is one of the most prominent of such elite consulting firms. Dean has worked vigorously on the front lines, creating trend setting and profit-generating changes for over 200 of the country’s top restaurant companies across the entire dining experience spectrum. With over 40 years of experience in hundreds of restaurants and kitchens Dean’s company has become one of the most the trusted authorities on fashioning cutting-edge culinary programs and top flight efficiency strategies for an increasingly competitive environment. Major accomplishments include the initial launch of Boston Market’s superior food and operations strategy as well as the thorough financial and operations turnarounds for Sizzler North America, Pollo Tropical, Waterstreet Seafood Company and Rock Bottom Brewery. Dean Small is a contributing food writer to Plate and Flavor On-The-Menu trade publications. Dean’s extensive food, beverage, operations and restaurant financial experience has given him the skills to assess the complete needs of any size restaurant organization and provide tangible solutions to improve financial performance. In 1988 Dean Small combined his culinary ardor, business knowledge and desire to help others succeed to found Synergy Restaurant Consultants. As a Managing Partner he dedicated himself to providing the hospitality industry with integrated solutions focusing on emerging restaurants and turnarounds. Today, with 20 years of success to back them, Synergy Restaurant Consultants span an entire spectrum of industries: restaurants, packaged goods, retail, financial services, healthcare retail dining, resorts, country clubs, hospitals and commercial real-estate. Dean’s recent client list reads like a Who’s Who of culinary America: Raising Cane’s Chicken, Macaroni Grill, Flemings Prime Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Martini Park, Johnny Carino’s, Quizno’s, Saltgrass Steakhouse, Caribou Coffee, Brinker International, Rock Bottom Restaurants, Ruby’s Diner, Johnny Rockets, Cool River Café, Buffalo Wild Wings, Mazzio’s, Shrimp Market, Marie Callender’s and Lawry Prime Rib just to name but a few. And if corporate appreciation and applause wasn’t enough, Synergy Restaurant Consultants also boasts official and patriotic endorsement status. Dean’s firm is an approved foodservice contractor to the Department Of Defense to support their Family and Morale Recreational dining needs. Most recently Synergy Restaurant Consultants has been retained by Ocean Mist Farms to support their sales, marketing and culinary program aimed at national restaurant accounts. Dean’s Background Widely recognized as an authority on restaurant operating efficiencies, Dean is a graduate of the internationally acclaimed Culinary Institute of America, and individually holds advanced business degrees from Hofstra University. Dean served as the Director of Culinary Development and Purchasing Manager for the El Torito Mexican Restaurant chain -- the leader in the Mexican Dinner House segment with over 220 units, 12 unique restaurant concepts and annual sales in excess of $420 million. Other industry experience includes: President and CEO of Le Cuisinier Caterers of Aspen Colorado, Aspen Baking Company, Aspen Breakfast In Bed, Le Cuisinier Of Snowmass Charcuerie & Patiserie, Aspen Cooking School and Health Works The Original Juice Bistro in Laguna Niguel, California. In 1991 Dean Small and Danny Bendas started Dean & Danny’s Custom Foods, a line of distinctive seasonings for home and commercial use. Today, Dean Small can be found in his Laguna Nigel office doing exactly what he has been for the last 20 years, being passionately involved in the restaurant industry and compassionately helping restaurant owners find success. Friendly and accessible, you can contact Dean with question or quest by email

Our Trip to HOST Milan

Milan is often regarded as the fashion capital of the world. However, every two years, professionals in the hospitality industry flock here to preview innovations in food and beverage. While attending the 2017 HOST show in Milan, Danny and I were able to check out the latest and greatest in restaurant technology and also traverse our way throughout Italy feasting our taste buds in delight.

Read more here.

CIA Worlds of Flavor

CIA Worlds of Flavor

The Culinary Institute of America just wrapped up their 19th annual Worlds of Flavor® conference and festival, World Flavors: Casual by Design. The highly anticipated event featured culinary experts and renowned chefs from around the globe sharing delicious food and insights with hundreds of attendees. (Fun fact: Did you know that the founders of Synergy Restaurants Consultants are both CIA trained chefs?) Read on here.

The Food Hall Trend

Food Halls

Ever try going out to eat with a group of friends but can’t agree on a place? Mary wants Greek, but Tim’s craving Thai. Susan, however, has a hankering for New York style pizza. Well, the food hall is your answer, and they’re on the rise!

Read the entire article here: Food Halls are Replacing the Tired Old Food Courts

Marketing for your Restaurant– A blog series

Restaurant Branding and Marketing


“I don’t have time to market my business (or the money).”

When I speak with clients, 9 out of 10 times I hear the same thing. Small chains and start-ups don’t have the benefit of having a marketing department, and those that do, often wait for the “field marketing team” to step in and help build sales. After all, “Isn’t that what the marketing folks get paid for?” It’s a mindset that affects too many operators and brands. Read on here:

Improve the Financial Performance of your Pizzeria



I had wonderful time this year at the International Pizza Expo. It was amazing to try pies from different pizza artists and speak with genuinely pizza-passionate restaurant owners. During my time at the expo, I had the pleasure of presenting to attendees during my session on, “Controlling Food and Labor Costs in a Pizzeria.” I spoke about five simple strategies to reduce food and labor costs to help the overall financial performance of your restaurant. Read the rest here: Controlling Food and Labor Costs in a Pizzeria.

6 Tips for Recruiting an Amazing Restaurant Manager

Restaurant Recruitment

Many people open restaurants based on their big dreams for sharing their food or their concept with others as well as to turn out a large profit. But as many as 60% of new restaurants that open up fail within the first year and a whopping 80% tank in less than five years, according to Business Insider.

Read the entire article here.