Run a Small Business with Evernote: Great Food Group Inc. (Business Series)

Tips & Stories | 2012-10-16 | sgupta 16 Oct 2012 | By sgupta

  • Name: Patrick Albrecht
  • Profession: Restaurateur, owner of Great Food Group Inc.
  • Company: Great Food Group Inc. (total staff: 160)
  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Website: Great Food Group Inc.


Patrick Albrecht is the owner of Great Food Group Inc., an Atlanta-based restaurant group. He runs three restaurants in the Atlanta area (Paul’s, Social Vinings and The Vinings Fish Company). Patrick started working in the restaurant business when he was fourteen years old and spent nine years traveling throughout Europe and expanding his knowledge of world cuisine before returning home to Atlanta. He co-founded Great Food Group Inc. with his father, Chef Paul Albrecht, in 2005.

Watch Patrick and his restaurant team in action.

Evernote, Everywhere:

Evernote Partner Apps I Use:

  • Inkiness for turning my iPad into a sketchpad and sending handwritten notes to Evernote

I use Evernote for…

I basically run my business in Evernote. When I first discovered it, I started using it as a to-do list manager, but then something just clicked and I thought, “I could do so much for my business with this tool.” My managers, accountant and even my repairman all use Evernote. We all have Premium accounts and billing is super easy for me to manage thanks to Sponsored Groups.

I’m always on the go, so I need to be able to access files and information wherever I am, whether I have my iPhone or laptop with me. I have a vision for being the first entirely paperless restaurant business in America and with Evernote, we’re almost there:

  • We structure our workflow in Evernote: Tasks, to-dos and daily employee recaps are shared in Evernote. With shared notebooks, everyone knows to check in to see what they’re responsible for that day. [Learn how to start sharing notes]

Above: Keeping track of our chef’s weekly food order and a shared repair list with our contractor

    • Evernote is our business’s electronic filing cabinet: All invoices, credit card receipts, alcohol licenses and employee files are scanned into Evernote, so they’re all searchable and always accessible. Whether one of our chefs is trying to figure out the price inflation on red peppers, our accountant is looking for a specific line item, or I’m meeting with a contractor off-site and need to access an important document, all we need is Evernote. All of the information is found by entering a few keywords into the search box. [How to use the Evernote search box]

  • Evernote is a great way to standardize and centralize training and hiring procedures: For a restaurant, that’s huge. We’re able to efficiently organize new hire documentation, record notable incidents, and review employees on an ongoing basis. Each employee has an individual profile and record of achievements. Any issues that have been escalated are noted and saved in Evernote as well. Evernote is an HR lifesaver.
  • When you run a small business, you have to always be prepared for things big and small: Evernote helps us collaborate on major projects (like launching our fourth restaurant), and it’s also the place where we save pictures and specs for every type of lightbulb any one of our restaurants might need. When I’m at the hardware store, I never have to rack my brain about what needs to be purchased or where in the restaurant something needs to be replaced.

Evernote: your personal, paperless, always-available assistant

I have an entire closet devoted to my last restaurant. It’s just been sitting in my house. Now I scan everything and throw it in the trash.  Even if I am filling out a contract, I just pull out my phone and take a picture. People ask, “What are you doing?” and I reply, “Oh, I’m putting it in our filing cabinet.” I don’t want a copy, I throw it away.

Right now, we’re building a new restaurant and I’ve got meetings every thirty minutes in the day. I catalog every step I’ve taken at the new restaurant: I’ve taken pictures of the plumbing and floor, pictures of artwork, carpets, audio-visual equipment, plates, lighting, kitchen equipment (the price, dimensions, how much power it needs, gas line needed), and potential uniforms. For a new restaurant, Evernote is a lifesaver.

Keeping Track of People and Places in Evernote

I have a People notebook and all of the different restaurants’ managers are in there. Whenever I meet with any of them, I pull up the notes associated with their names, so I know exactly what we have to discuss. I record conversations with contractors, so I never miss a beat when we get together to discuss project plans.

I also have a Places notebook with notes for my restaurants, my accountant’s office, etc. In each of those notes, I put what needs to happen when I find myself in any of those places. I’m always able to answer the question: What needs to happen at this place right now?

Favorite feature

Anywhere access. It’s amazing how much information I’m able to capture and access no matter where I am, even if I’m offline. We also couldn’t function without the search feature — being able to search inside PDFs saves hours of time, especially for our accountant who believes that Evernote has fundamentally transformed his job, saving him hours of time.

* Originally posted by Patrick Albrecht on July 19th, 2011