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Tim's Bio

Meet Tim

Entrepreneur, #1 Best-Selling author, Dad, consultant and speaker

Tim Kirkland helps people make more money. He is a customer service crusader.

During his 30+ years in the hospitality industry, Tim has led training, operations, and marketing departments for numerous respected restaurant brands, been an award-winning operator and successful entrepreneur. However, his uncommon insights and observations apply well past the restaurant business to any industry or organization that values customer and employee engagement and development.


He delivers highly customized presentations on leadership, customer service, marketing, and team engagement & retention. Over 20,000 people attend his live seminars and workshops every year.


Tim is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School, where his focus was the Art and Practice of Leadership Development. He is CEO of Renegade Hospitality Group, which serves as a professional advisory resource to the restaurant, hotel, retail and customer service industries.

Your business is guaranteed to change...the only question is if it does so in ways you can't control or ways you can.

Tim Kirkland

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Photo by Amy K Wright  -

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The Books

Tim's best-selling books, “The Renegade Server” and “COACH” are used in over 15,000 restaurants, hotels, retail locations, customer service companies, and universities worldwide to improve the engagement and performance of both front-line teams and all levels of leadership.


Leading brands that use Tim’s books and materials include Applebee’s, Subway, Buffalo Wild Wings, Marriott, Kimpton, Grease Monkey, Coca-Cola, MillerCoors, Beam Suntory, Brinker International, Sodexo, Reinhart FoodService, HMS Host, and hundreds more.

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Uncommon Strategies for Making More Money in 21st Century Food Service


Over the past several years, the number and variety of restaurants in North America has exploded. As a result, the average guest dines out up to 3 times more often than they did just a few years ago. This huge increase in dining occasions has caused some service to become homogenized. In many cases, the restaurant dining experience has become a routine process.


Tim Kirkland's acclaimed best-seller, The Renegade Server helps restaurants and service teams stand out among the growing competition by turning dining back into an experience. Tim uses uncommon insights to identify and debunk outdated ideas regarding tips (no longer stands for “To Insure Prompt Service!") and salesmanship (the up-sell is dead?!) and replaces them with fresh, immediately usable techniques for increasing tips by driving sales, creating devoted regulars, and and aligning the interests of the server, the guest, and the restaurant.


This fun, interactive read gives servers, bartenders, owners, managers and franchisees fresh, immediately useable tactics that are guaranteed to:


  • Explode Tip Income: By understanding how and why the modern diner tips, you can leverage their expectations and focus on the specific behaviors that result in exponential increases in gratuities.


  • Increase Sales: Learn to use strategic sales timing and fresh, engaging language to dramatically increase check average and incremental sales.


  • Improve Service: Learn the easy, effective, sparkling service techniques that will get your Guests’ attention and differentiate your business.


  • Drive Guest Frequency: Discover the 4 different types of regular customer, why they’re important and how to keep them coming back to your restaurant - and your section - soon and often.

Being a Better Team Leader by Bettering the Team You Lead


In this highly anticipated follow-up to The Renegade Server, author, speaker and consultant Tim Kirkland examines how leaders can focus on creating stronger, more engaged teams and motivating them to improved performance daily.


In it, Tim explores the very nature of leadership and how it is better focused around behavior and activity, rather than position and authority. He details the three different types of typical manager and describes why the COACH gets the best outcomes.


Cultivation - The first responsibility of any Coach is to collect, develop and maintain high performing team members. Readers will discover new ways to improve how they recruit, motivate and retain top talent.


Observation - Often, leaders find themselves very ‘busy,’ but accomplishing little. It’s frequently a diagnostic mistake by not taking the time to fully understand the landscape in which we’re operating. Readers will learn to observe challenges from multiple perspectives and apply meaningful, lasting solutions.


Accountability - Great coaches know that you don’t win games by only watching the scoreboard. Readers will learn how to make team members personally responsible for the work, not just the results.



Connection - When team members are fully connected to the purpose of the work and the mission of the team, they produce better results. Discover how to connect your team to each other and to the greater goal.



Hand-Off - Often, when we fail at Customer Experience, it’s not because any one person failed at their role…but because the ball was dropped during the ‘hand-off’ between team members. Learn how to deliver seamless, customized Customer Experiences by existing as a Coach “in the gaps.”

Our Treasured Clients

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Client List

Tim Kirkland is trusted by leading restaurant brands as well as businesses across a wide variety of industries and regions. Here is a partial list of clients and audiences: 

Andy’s Frozen Custard



Auntie Anne’s

Baker Street Pub

Ben E Keith Company

Black Bear Diner

Boston Pizza

Bowl New England

Buffalo Wild Wings

Burger King

Cactus Club Cafe

Cafe Metro

California Restaurant Association

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants


Captain D’s

Cheeseburger in Paradise


Coca Cola

Corinthian Colleges

Country Kitchen


Del Taco

Duffy’s Sports Grill

East Side Mario’s

Eat With Us Brands

EATZ Enterprises

El Pollo Loco

Einstein Noah

Erbert & Gerbert


Food Services America


Gallo Wines

Golden Corral 

Global Franchise Group

Grease Monkey

HMS Host

Hogsbreath Cafe


Hospitality USA

Hot Dog On A Stick

House of Blues/Live Nation

Howl at the Moon

Huddle House

Hues Culinary



Indiana Restaurant Association

KFC / KBP Foods

Kimpton Hotels

Krystal Burgers

LA Fitness

Little Caesar’s


Main Event Entertainment


Maines Food Service

Massachusetts Restaurant Association

Matador Restaurants

Mellow Mushroom

Miller Coors

Montana’s BBQ

National Franchisee Association

National Restaurant Association

Nightclub & Bar Magazine


Oklahoma Restaurant Association

Olive Garden

Open Table

Orange Leaf Yogurt


Original Joe’s

Papa Murphy's

Peet’s Coffee & Tea

Pizza Hut

PF Chang’s

Ponderosa / Bonanza

Quaker Steak & Lube

RAM Breweries

Reinhart Food Service

Rock Bottom Restaurants


San Diego State University


Sawridge Group

Shamrock Foods




Swiss Chalet

Sonic Drive-In

Starwood Hotels

Steak n’ Shake

St. Elmo Steakhouse


Sysco Foods

Tilted Kilt

Tim Horton’s

Toppers Pizza

Twin Peaks

UNO Pizzeria

US Army

US Foods

Little Caesar’s

W Hotels

Which Wich

Wynkoop Brewery


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