Tips & Stories

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

Posted by Patrick Albrecht on 19 Jul 2011

Posted by Patrick Albrecht on 19 Jul 2011

  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.


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34 Comments RSS

  • Bryant

    I feel like @Evernote is constantly underestimated. Its capabilities to basically share information with anyone literally almost outside of time is convenient enough, but it can also save and file all your information effortlessly. Its had a huge impact on my daily life.

  • Mark

    Hi, I’m Mark and I’ve been addicted to Evernote for 2 years. I keep my IT contracting notes in very much the same way the Patrick keeps his restaurant notes. Evernote has absolutely limitless uses. i could write a use-case every day.

  • Skye

    I have used Evernote for about three years. It saved me when I started a new position filled with unrelenting detail at the university. I documented all the ins and outs of the position. Now, as I prepare to retire in September, I will leave my Evernote notebook for the person who takes over my position. That person doesn’t even need to know how I think because the search works so well. I feel it is the very best legacy I could leave!

  • Bruce

    Evernote is an awesome tool that I use and it has great potential to do so many things and I am looking forward to it becoming a more robust tool for PDF and document manipulation among many other things, but one huge thing it is missing is the ability to secure your valuable data. if I wanted to learn everything I wanted to know about Patrick’s restaurants all I need to do is gain access to any of their employees devices or comapny PCs and steal the info in seconds by sharing the folders. There needs to be the ability to securely access the app like so many other financial and database apps already have implemented and there needs to be a way to secure notebooks individually for storage of more sensitive data.

    No reason for this not to be done so let’s do it ASAP Evernote team and put Evernote on track to be a top small and medium business tool!

  • Ed


  • Glenn

    In my 35 years as a software developer, I’ve always faced the problem of keeping information organized. I work in Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, IBM iSeries, and even microprocessors like Arduino. With Evernote premier available on so many platforms, it’s there when I need it. When it isn’t there, my iPad is.

    The ability to tag and search data means no wasted time looking for something I put away months ago and now have need for it.

    This is one company I would love to work for. This product has an incredible future.

  • Pistofid

    Evernote is a unique tool, especially when your work involves research and/or academic teaching. I am a research associate and a lab assistant at a Technical University. Evernote facilitates my constant need to track and record the state of the art for my research problem space, to manage notes for technical reports and/or publications, and organise/enrich my teaching notes and lab exercises. I currently work my way into utilising its advanced features to support collaborative authoring and effective sharing of documents/ideas between project partners and lab students.
    Thanks for this truly potent tool!

  • V. P.

    I used Evernote on my Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 for about 6 months and loved it. Recently I updated from Android 1.6 to 2.1 and now can not use Evernote! The messages I get say there is no version for my phone. HELP!!

    • Andrew Sinkov

      Please contact our support team for help:

  • Joe

    I am a I.T. Lab Manager for a local university in Houston. I use Evernote to keep track of PC images and its contents. I work with a variety of labs and images; therefore, it’s a lot to keep track. For each image I build, I type out what software is in each image as well as special configurations. I use Evernote for Mac, iPad and Android mobile to create and modify notes. Without Evernote, I would probably be using multiple notepads to write down my notes and risk losing or forgetting them. Evernote makes my job so much easier and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks Evernote!

  • R. Kashi

    I have been using Evernote with Getting Things Done (GTD) process and Egretlist trunk. It is an awesome combination.

    With the above I never miss an opportunity to:
    – collect ideas and related documents
    – systematically convert ideas to action

    Thank you Evernote for this wonderful tool.

    • M. Rutter

      Can you tell me more about how you use Evernote with the GTD process?

      • Sydney E Brown will fill you in on how to use Evernote with GTD. Short, excellently done videos. The email video uses Outlook, but I’ simply forward my email with the tagging in the subject line from gmail. That works fine.


  • George Beiter

    Two years with Evernote…it’s the Road Warrior’s companion. See a cool marketing idea on the road…snap it into memory with a pic. Scan a business card at tradeshow….have a sales promo idea late at night…jot it down paperlessly…best of all…get rid of all those plastic frequent flyer/buyer cards at hotels, supermarkets, car rentals…just my iphone and evernote!!!

  • ernie

    Ernie here and i too have been addicted about a year now. I am a realtor and run all my files thru evernote. I am barely tapping into its potential and its a lifesaver. I see several things i can improve on.

  • Jay

    i m just getting started with evernotes, and i seeing the great benefits from using this tool, manange every step of my business and planning.

  • Andrew

    I did not get clear with Evernote, but will try again.
    Hope to be lucky this time!

  • Tim

    This is amazing, I’m just new to Evernote so all I’ve really used it for so far is transferring files and notes from my iPad or iPhone to my laptop effortlessly to help me in writing my blog or designing my website – anything I see on the net that I like for a future design will go into Evernote so it’s all filed there for when I’m ready. This blog post really shows the amazing potential of Evernote and as I need more functions I’m sure Evernote will be there to assist me. I love this article, it really shows the heart and soul of Evernote – I’ll be filing it away for future ideas =)

  • Joe

    I used OneNote for about 2 years before I found evernote and its cross platform “access anywhere” capabilities about a year ago. It has made my life so much easier. I am a consultant and constantly on the move from one client to another and task switching between projects constantly. Evernote keeps me organized. And being able to access / update my notes from my blackberry is a godsend! Whether I’m in an airport/taxi/restaurant/wherever – my notes are there when I need them.

  • Erv

    Fantastic Tool, I am a Project Manager in the Commerical Construction Industry and am using it as my to do list. I am currently working on 6 projects and in order to be organized and fulfill all my tasks, I hjave found this to work so well. I can travel to all my projects and Evernmote travels with me

  • Jack

    I use Evernote everyday managing my ideas and small business.

  • Mike

    I’m a novice with Evernote and while I like that I can keep all my meeting notes and papers filed away in a single place, I am struggling with not being able to have a standard format that I can select and use. I’d like to expand the use of this tool, but I don’t see how withour being able to standardize the input formats where needed. E.g. How does Patrick keep his restuarant’s data input consistent – his recording of reportable incidents, maintaining meeting notes, notes on his Manager’s and staff etc?

  • Roger Van Boxtel

    Where can I obtain training on how to use EverNote?

  • Bob Garon

    Hey There!!! I’m the owner of Synergy Kettlebell Training gyms and use it to write all our daily workouts and love how great an archive it keeps.

    We also keep scanned copies of our member agreements as well.

    I wouldn’t be organized without Evernote. Thanks! 🙂


  • Dominic

    As a cancer survivor, I deal with various doctors especially when pursuing 2nd opinions. Having Evernote gives me ability to have access to my personal medical records whereever I am. I can access though all my devices.

    Started to scan other receipts, contracts etc to eliminate clutter.

    Great tool.

  • zoominfotech

    This is one company I would love to work for This product has an incredible future.
    Zoom InfoTech, Software Development, webdesigning in pune, Webdesign, web development, Product Development, zoom infotech pune

  • Liora

    I know Evernote encrypts things, but I’m not comfortable that the encryption is strong enough for me to store things with credit card numbers, social security numbers, or medical records through Evernote. I’d also want to know that Evernote employees don’t access the files. Can anyone comment on this? It would be nice to add those things to Evernote.

    • Andrew Sinkov

      Liora, these are very important points. Please take a look at our CEO’s post about Evernote’s Laws of Data Protection and our CTO’s post about Evernote’s Privacy and Security:

  • Jorge Silvestrini


    I’m a producer and songwriter based in Miami, FL. I’ve just come to Evernote about 3 months ago – well switching to Apple helped along the way! Anyhow – I’m starting to find lots of USEFUL things to do with Evernote. One of my goals for next year, is to go paperless. This will require a paid account, but at the rate of buying paper-pen, this is nothing to fear.

    I will like to get to know more people in the music, studio field that use Evernote. I am also the associate director of music at my church ( and will be using Evernote to keep track of new arrangements, edits, cues, etc – as well as new volunteers for the Worship Arts Ministry, interviews and more.

    Will love to share ideas with some others and see how they are working with Evernote…

    Contact me – help me!

    Jorge Silvestrini
    @jsilvestrini (twitter)

  • ouyangxu

    so good .

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    Evernote is the best application for me, because it helps me alot in my business. It is easy to use and user friendly. Thank you very much from sharing this post.

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    Since 2007 I am a business man, I’ll try to use evernote and it helps me even when I am not in my job site. Thanks to evernote now my business became a huge company.

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