How mobility allows a Seattle restaurant mogul to capture inspiration and stay connected


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When we think of restaurants, the first word that comes mind is likely “food.” But for Linda Derschang, CEO of the Derschang Group, the backstory and vibe of her establishments are equally essential to a fantastic dining experience. She’s started a homey tavern that exudes the comradery of après-ski relaxation in a small-town bar in the mountains; a classy, yet comfortable restaurant where Big Sur of the 1970s meets the magic of Morocco; a bar based on the fictional story of a 1940s fisherman, and others. So how does Linda dream up these places and bring them to life? Traveling, for one.

“I love taking my team on research trips for creative inspiration. When we are on the road, we are checking out restaurants, looking for trends and ideas with cocktails, and exploring new food and design concepts. Most recently we spent three days in L.A. and ate in seven to ten restaurants each day, plus popped into many more for a quick look.”

When Derschang is traveling—with her team or on her own—business definitely doesn’t slow down. “I often put an away message on my email when traveling for pleasure,” she says, “but I still check frequently just in case something needs my attention.” And her brain is always churning with ideas. So mobile productivity plays a big part in keeping pace with everything.

Maximizing mobility by using the mobile device as a multi-tasker

“I love the flexibility of being able to work in many different places,” says Derschang.

She relies heavily on her mobile device while traveling for a variety of different things, including staying engaged with business goings-on. “I’m trying to stay on top of emails, making notes, and checking news. And like everyone, I use my phone as a navigation device, to find a ride, and even to book an exercise class while traveling.”

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She also uses it to information gather—an important part of staying relevant within the restaurant landscape. “Having my phone is key,” she says. “I’m constantly taking photographs of things that inspire me, whether it’s to show my team, or to remind myself, or to post to my Instagram.” And being able to access email via mobile device means she can share inspiration in a more organized way: “I frequently just text things as I see them, but I do like to gather images in an email to send to a larger group, too.” Always on the lookout for what’s new and noteworthy, she understands that keeping things fresh is critical. “There’s more pressure to succeed in today’s market. There are so many restaurants and bars; you need to stand out to be successful.”

“Local Mobility” is also essential to growing Derschang’s business

Even when Derschang isn’t traveling; she isn’t necessarily working alongside colleagues during business hours. “I don’t always work in our company office even when I'm in Seattle, so I need to be accessible in any number of ways to the people who rely on me. Whether it’s through text, a good old fashioned phone call (my preference), or email.” And when you’re consistently working outside of an office, Derschang finds it’s important to have an email strategy. “I check my email on my mobile the most frequently,” she says, “but often wait till I’m at my computer to answer—unless it’s something that only requires a quick response.” The key to being present is availability, and finding ways to boost mobility like Derschang does so well, makes this possible.

From fisherman to après-skiers, taverns to swank neighborhood joints, Linda’s visions are convincingly real. Her success reflects a popular buy-in to the vibe and mystique of each spot. And the mobility strategies she employs allow her to be free enough to travel to her inspiration—for restaurants she’s already brought to life, and ones that are still to come.

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