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Lettuce Consulting Group®

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With over 60 different concepts, from kiosks and quick service to full-service and fine dining restaurants, Lettuce has learned how to manage them all, regardless of size, cuisine, and sophistication level.

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Over the years we successfully led projects such as operations improvements, concept development, and new product rollouts. We work shoulder to shoulder with our clients to accomplish the project's goals.

John Buchanan - President of the LCG

Consulting Staff

Richard Melman

Richard Melman is Founder and Chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, a Chicago-based corporation that owns over 80 restaurants nationwide. The restaurant business has been Melman’s life work, beginning with his early days in a family owned restaurant, and later as a teenager working in fast food eateries, at a soda fountain, and selling restaurant supplies. After realizing that he wasn’t cut out to be a college student, and failing to convince his father that he should be made a partner in the family business, Melman met Jerry A. Orzoff, a man who immediately and unconditionally believed in Melman’s ability to create and run restaurants. In 1971 the two opened R.J. Grunts, a hip burger joint that soon became one of the hottest restaurants in Chicago. Here Melman and Orzoff presented food differently and with a sense of humor, creating the youthful and fun restaurant which was a forerunner in the trend towards dining out as entertainment that swept this country in the early ’70’s. Melman and Orzoff continued to develop restaurant concepts together until Orzoff’s death in 1981. Through his relationship with Orzoff, Melman formulated a philosophy based on the importance of partners, of sharing responsibilities and profits with them, and of developing and growing together. Today, Melman has 55 working partners, most of whom have come up through the organization. To operate so many restaurants well, Lettuce has needed to hire, train and develop people, and then keep them happy and focused on excellence. Melman’s guiding philosophy is that he is not interested in being the biggest or the richest restaurateur, just in being the best he can be. He places enormous value on the over 6,000 people who work for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, and feels tremendous responsibility for their continued success. Melman’s personal life revolves around his family. He and his wife Martha have been married for 34 years and have three children.

John Buchanan

John began laying plans for the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) consulting division in 1995. At that time, he conceived a different approach to professional consulting. Rather than simply theoretical analysis and written reporting, the Lettuce consulting services would involve a hands-on, partnering method. This approach has resulted in Lettuce Consulting’s high level of success. As lead manager, John has conducted engagements in acquisition evaluation, concept creation, operations start-up and improvement as well as menu and product development. John has also developed new consulting services in the areas of leadership culture and human resource practices.

Loret Carbone

Loret is a former Lettuce partner who has 40+ years in the restaurant industry, starting as a server and progressing to President/COO of mid-to-large size restaurant organizations. In the last 5 years, she has become a certified Executive Coach through the International Coaching Federation, serving the restaurant industry. She has been there and knows what your challenges are and can help you sort through them…and find a clear path to success.


"With LEYE's vast experience in both the full service restaurant and the fast casual space, we knew we had to listen to them. Their expertise speaks for itself, but their commitment to ensuring that this was not simply a "consulting engagement", but a long term commitment to ensure that we also succeeded was extremely compelling. Additionally, having the ability to visit their locations and see how their systems worked, was of utmost importance, and their proof is certainly in the pudding. Having John Buchanan always available to answer EVERY question (even before we were a client) gave us the confidence that we were talking to the best in the industry. "

Eric Papachristos, Founder & President, Greek Hospitality Group

"We are in the process of growing our restaurant group from two to four full-service locations over the course of the next 18-24 months. As part of our growth plan, we hired LCG in a consulting capacity to teach, coach and mentor our ownership team with learning how to effectively and successfully operate multiple restaurant locations. Without question, our investment in the Lettuce training program has transformed our current operations and provided a very strong foundation for future expansion. John Buchanan is extremely knowledgeable in all facets of restaurant operations and has assisted us every step of the way as we continue to align our restaurant operations with LEYE's."

David J. Reinert, President DR Inc. Grand Rapids, MI

"Lettuce's successful track record for the last 50 years driven by its focus on robust systems and processes along with 40 years of hands-on experience are the key reasons I decided to engage . "

Manish Mallick, Owner, "ROOH Progressive Indian Restaurant & Cocktail Bar" & "BAR GOA"

""They are geniuses in creating restaurant concepts that work at every level. They are done with exquisite design in every discipline. Internally, they are powered by a solid company culture that inspires and supports every team member. They've been my heroes since I learned about them in the early 80's and they still are.""

Lalo Durazo, DZO Hospitality

Some of our clients...

Consulting Services

The combined originality of Lettuce’s restaurants is unparalleled, with over 65 working concepts representing a complete repertoire of America’s favorite service styles and cuisines

Additional Services

Get in Touch

With over 60 different concepts, from kiosks and quick service to full-service and fine dining restaurants, Lettuce has learned how to manage them all, regardless of size, cuisine, and sophistication level.

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