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645: Ben Berg on Assuming Nothing While Anticipating Everything

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Release Date: 08/29/2019

657: Eric Skokan on Embracing Failure show art 657: Eric Skokan on Embracing Failure

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Born in San Diego, Eric Skokan was raised in Virginia and is a graduate of The University Virginia. Upon graduation Skokan traveled, working in some of the nation's greatest kitchens. In  2006, Skokan, and his wife, Jill, opened Black Cat Farm Table Bistro, which was following by the 130-acre, Certified Organic, Black Cat Farm, one year later. In 2012  the couple opened their second restaurant, Bramble & Hare. On top of all of this Skokan is the author of Farm, Fork, Food: A Year of Spectacular Recipes Inspired by Black Cat Farm.   Show notes… Favorite success quote or...

656: Eric Cacciatore Getting Personal on The Past, Present, & Future show art 656: Eric Cacciatore Getting Personal on The Past, Present, & Future

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

In this episode, I went solo! What a year it's been! I had some big plans and frankly... I fell short. I'll take you through how through the last year, what I've learned from my experiences, and how I want the future of Restaurant Unstoppable to look. Additionally, I share my vision for the future. I' d like Restaurant Unstoppable to grow beyond just myself. The way you grow anything is by injecting yourself in an entity. Injecting your mission, vision, values, then letting it share beyond you. Sharing it with others who resonate, slowing growing community and support over time. In this...

655: Robert Thompson on Recovering from Failure show art 655: Robert Thompson on Recovering from Failure

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Over the last two decades, Robert Thompson, has opened more than a dozen restaurant concepts, experiencing a number of successes and a few failures. At one point, Thompson was ready to get out of the restaurant industry completely. However, his irrational stubbornness had other thoughts. Thompson decided to give everything he had – personally and financially - to develop a new dining and entertainment experience. In 2012 Punch Bowl Social,  a multifaceted, surprisingly intimate, social gaming, and dining space was born.  As of today, Punch Bowl Social consists of 19 locations with...

654: Jessica, Jill, & Jennifer Emich on Creating Community show art 654: Jessica, Jill, & Jennifer Emich on Creating Community

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Triplets Jessica, Jill, and Jennifer Emich came into this world, in that order, by way of New Jersey. All three would go on to attend the University of Nevada- Los Vegas. Two of the sisters got degrees in Hotel and Restaurant Management while Jennifer focused on Elementry ed. Eventually, the sisters found their way to Boulder, CO. In 2000 they opened their first restaurant Trilogy Wine Bar, which had a successful 9-year run before they sold in 2009. After 3 years away from the industry, the sisters decided it was time to open their second restaurant, Shine Restaurant & Potion Bar, also in...

653: Rudy Miick on How to Embrace Artificial Intelligence  show art 653: Rudy Miick on How to Embrace Artificial Intelligence

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

As the founder of Rudy Miick consulting group, Rudy has thirty years and more than 1,600 successful projects under his belt. Rudy’s focus is on leadership development, sales building, and profitability. His methodology is driven by the creation of vibrant, values-based business cultures, no matter the industry. Today we're here to discuss the inevitability of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how you can choose to react to it.  Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "Work with a sense of purpose. Be well"  In today's episode with Rudy Miick, we discuss:  Living with...

652: Steve Redzikowski on Learning from the Best show art 652: Steve Redzikowski on Learning from the Best

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Chef Steve Redzikoski caught the industry bug slinging pies in New York's Long Island. After graduating from culinary school, Redzikoski got to work in some of NYC's best restaurants before making the move west for an opportunity at Little Nell, in Aspen, CO. He spent the next 4 years further refining his skills at Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, CO, as well as Cyrus Restaurant, in Napa Valley, CA, before returning back to Little Nell in 2010, but this time as the Executive Sous Chef. In 2010 Redzikowski joined forces with Bryan Dayton to open Oak in Boulder, CO. Oak was followed in 2015...

651: Tanya Sanchez on Leading By Example show art 651: Tanya Sanchez on Leading By Example

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Albuquerque native, Tanya Sanchez, developed a passion for food at a young age while cooking with her father. Her dreams of becoming a restaurant owner began to bubble up during her years as a college student working in both corporate and independent restaurant settings. Fast forward through 10 years in marketing, design, and as a small landscaping business owner, and it was time for Sanchez to take action on her dreams of being a restaurant owner. In 2015 the process leading into what would become Brixens started. It's been nearly a 5 years uphill battle for Sanchez, overcoming one hurdle...

650: Damien Watel on Partnerships and Humility show art 650: Damien Watel on Partnerships and Humility

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

French-born Damien Watel got his start in the restaurant industry at the age of 25 working for his uncle's two Dallas restaurants. In 1999 Chef Watel opened Bistro Vatel, which had an 18-year run and earned Watel recognition as one of the great chefs in the nation, before closing in 2017. Chef Watel's most recent project, Bistr09,  is the ninth restaurant project Chef Damien Watel has undertaken in the collaboration of his wife, Chef Lisa Astorga-Watel.  In addition, The Watels own and operate Bite in Southtown.   Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "It's not about...

649:  Lisa Astorga-Watel on Taking Chances, Networking, and Presence.  show art 649: Lisa Astorga-Watel on Taking Chances, Networking, and Presence.

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Chef/Owner Lisa Astorga-Watel grew up in Santiago, Chile, before moving to Houston, Texas where she attended The Culinary Art Institute. Astorga-Watel's ambition started early wit the opening of her own catering business to cover her expenses while in school. Following her formal training, she served as a private chef for celebrity, Tommy Lee Jones. It was during this time in her career she was able to travel the world developing her pallet and culinary repertoire. It was also during this time she met her future husband and business partner Chef Damien Watel. Together the couple owns Bite and...

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Born in New York City, Ben Berg has been in the restaurant business for over 17 years working for upscale steakhouses in Las Vegas, Mexico City, and his hometown.

Prior to his career in restaurants, Berg received a Master of Hospitality Management from Cornell University and a B.A. in Art History from Tulane University. Berg would go on to work for The Point, a luxury hotel company voted the #1 small hotel in the country at the time.

In 2015 Berg opened B.B. Butchers and Restaurant in Houston, TX. 3 years after the original B.B. Butcher, the Berg Hospitality Group was formed and has scaled to include an additional B.B. Butchers, two B.B. Lemons, B.B. Italia, B.B. Pizza to go, and coming soon The Annie Cafe and Bar.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Don't fuck it up."

In this episode with Ben Berg we will discuss:

  • The "people" business
  • Touching each table
  • emotional intelligence
  • The importance of the numbers
  • The benefits of new restaurant technology
  • The love of making people happy with hospitality
  • Learning form the best early in your career
  • Choosing a market before choosing a location
  • Quick scaling
  • Networking
  • Execution

Today's sponsor:

BentoBox helps restaurants grow their business through a connected suite of tools, offering them an integrated website to connect with their guests and drive revenue online. Restaurant owners and operators are able to easily update menus, promote specials, take catering and event inquiries, sell merchandise, gift cards and more. 

CAKE provides an easy-to-use integrated software and hardware solution to build better dining experiences for restaurant operators and their guests. With mobile marketing and waitlist management to point of sale payment processing, the CAKErestaurant management system helps you grow your business.  Learn more at trycake.com/unstoppable

EthicsSuite.com -provide a safe, secure, simple and anonymous communication channel between you and your employees to help you protect your hard-earned reputation and assets. Demonstrate to your team that you are committed to providing a workplace that operates with the highest ethical standards. Staying informed about important issues will help you resolve them internally before they spiral into larger, costly, or public problems.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Urgency
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Delegating
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • "Are you caring?" Empathy.
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Seeing the future
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Put yourself second
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Empower our managers to make big decisions
  7. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Relax
  8. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
  9. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?
    • Be truthful
    • Be there, be responsible
    • Don't take everything too seriously

Contact info:

Berg Hospitality Jobs Website

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Ben Berg for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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