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655: Robert Thompson on Recovering from Failure

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Release Date: 10/04/2019

667: Brad Cecchi on Recognizing Leadership show art 667: Brad Cecchi on Recognizing Leadership

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Raised outside Sacramento, CA Chef Brad Cecchi is a graduate of the Culinary Arts program at American River College and the Culinary Institute of America. He would go on to spend the next 7 years working between Sacramento's Mulvaney's and Grange restaurants. Next, Cecchi made the move to Cleveland, OH where he held the executive chef position at Urban Farmer and the Westin Downtown. In 2016 Cecchi made the move back to CA when he was recruited by Michelin starred Solbar, as the chef de cuisine and later as the executive chef were he was able to maintain the Michelin star status for 2 years....

666: Umberto Gibin on Consistency is Key show art 666: Umberto Gibin on Consistency is Key

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Umberto Gibin was born in Venice, Italy and began to learn the hospitality trade at several prestigious European restaurants and hotels. In 1979 he took his hospitality career to California where he got to work for a handful of leading restaurants in the Bay Area and LA. With this experience, he went on to serve as one of the founding team members of Il Fornaio, which he helped scale to six locations before departing to join the Kimpton Hotel group. Then in 2004 he re-joined mentor Larry Mindel to open Poggio. Today, Gibin deploys decades of top tier experience as owner-operator of Perbacco...

665: Kai Umezawa on Zenreach and Building the Future with Wifi Marketing show art 665: Kai Umezawa on Zenreach and Building the Future with Wifi Marketing

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

University of Waterloo dropout, Kai Umezawa leveraged his software engineering skills for both Facebook and Google before he co-founded Zenreach, a wifi marking platform, in 2012. Today, in addition to being a co-founder, Umezawa serves as Head of Product for Zenreach. Our focus: the current state and future of wifi marking.  Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "The future is not something that happens by accident; the future is built." In today's episode with Kai Umezawa we will discuss: Taking advice Bypassing the standard school system What Kai learned from working at...

664: Patricio Wise on Paramount Systems, Processes, and Procedures show art 664: Patricio Wise on Paramount Systems, Processes, and Procedures

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Chef Patricio Wise was born and raised in a large family in Monterrey, Mexico, where cooking for big parties was an everyday social affair. After a successful career in finance, Wise, who is self-trained in the culinary world began hosting pop-ups at local Farmers' Markets and Breweries. It was so successful that he secured and established a brick and mortar location, Nixtaco Mexican Kitchen, within the year and has been only gathering momentum ever since. Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "There is no substitute for hard work." In today's episode with Patricio Wise we will...

663: Jessica Marshall on 3 Common Restaurant Design Mistakes show art 663: Jessica Marshall on 3 Common Restaurant Design Mistakes

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Jessica Marshall is a talented restaurant designer with 15 years of experience. Her company, Brass Rose Studios, is based out of the Sacramento, California area. Today will be a deep dive conversation regarding the 3 most common restaurant design mistakes. Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "Live it!" The 3 Most Common Restaurant Design Mistakes are: Getting into a lease and not understanding the cost and lead-time that come with it Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing costs Planning ahead HVAC prep Knowing what you need and if your lease covers it Avoiding inhibiting...

662: Oliver Ridgeway on Do it Nice or Do it Twice show art 662: Oliver Ridgeway on Do it Nice or Do it Twice

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Chef Oliver Ridgeway, was born and raised in Sussex, England. For Ridgeway, life in the kitchen began in his father’s restaurant, where his own passion began to emerge. After studying cooking at Crawley College, Ridgeway worked in multiple hotels and even a cruise ship before landing in U.S. where he held multiple chef positions and even cooked for VIP's during the Olympics. In 2011 Ridgeway made the move Sacramento where he took the Executive Chef Role at Grange Restaurant & Bar, and Camden Spit & Larder in 2018.   Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "Do it...

661: Michael Theimann on Learn Fast, Hustle, and Thrive show art 661: Michael Theimann on Learn Fast, Hustle, and Thrive

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Boulder City, NV, native, Chef Michael Thiemann, got his industry start in the city that raised him, Sacramento, CA. He went on to work all over the world, including New Zealand, Hawaii, and San Francisco. After Serving as the right-hand-man to Chef Tyler Florence, Thiemann returned to his home city of Sacramento, where one year later he opened his first Restaurant Mother, which was followed by Empress Tavern. Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "It's all about working hard and not being a dick." In today's episode with Michael Theimann we will discuss: Starting out in the...

660: Justin Brunson on Respecting Food show art 660: Justin Brunson on Respecting Food

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

After attending the Scottsdale Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Chef Justin Brunson Scored an internship with Chef Michael DiMaria at Michael’s at the Citadel. In 2004 Brunson made the move to Denver, CO where over the next 4 years he worked with key mentors Richard Sandoval, Frank Bonanno, and Alex Seidel. In 2008 Brunson opened Masterpiece Delicatessen to rave reviews. The Delicatessen was followed by Old Major in 2013, which won numerous "best of" awards. These hits were followed with Culture Meat and Cheese in 2016, River Bear in 2011 and Royal Rooster in 2018 and the newest...

659: Matt Selby on Kindness is Everything show art 659: Matt Selby on Kindness is Everything

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Originating from Denver's Five Points Community, Matt Selby got his start in the restaurant industry at the once-popular, Rattlesnake Grill. His skill in the kitchen and ability to lead others was quickly recognized by those in the industry. It was clear opportunities were inevitable. Those Opportunities came in 1997 when Selby was approached by Josh Wolkon to Join Vesta, a Secret Sauce restaurant concept. Selby parted ways with Secret Sauce in 2013, and has been earning a living as a consultant, opening restaurants, overseeing multiple locations as culinary director, and occasionally serving...

658: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson on Listening More and Talk Less show art 658: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson on Listening More and Talk Less

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

As a teenager, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson starting working in restaurants St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating from Colorado State University, Mackinnon-Patterson set out to fulfill a dream and moved to Paris in 1999. He obtained his Certificate d’Aptitude Professionnelle at the renowned Ecole Gregoire-Ferrandi. Upon returning to the states in 2001, he worked at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, where he met future business partner, Bobby Stuckey. Mackinnon-Patterson and Stuckey opened their first restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine, in 2004 in Boulder, CO. In 2007, the partners launched...

More Episodes

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 an additional 6 slated to open in the next 14 months. 

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

"is this was your last day on earth what would you do?"

In this episode with Robert Thompson, we discuss: 

  • The intricacies of growing an iconic brand. 
  • With 19 restaurants, Thompson still doesn't feel like a success. 
  • How better than average design and concept, still won't make up for bad real estate. 
  • While it's good to be confident, over-confidence can lead to arrogance.
  • Staying humble. 
  • recovering from failure. 
  • Starting with the end in mind; who is your target market?  
  • knowing your market. 
  • Reconnecting with the guest.
  • Injecting your presence into the brand. 
  • Using technology and data to select your location. 
  • Transitioning into a new neighborhood gracefully.
  • How Punch Bowl Social compartmentalizes its space to balance events and standard guest. 
  • Thompson's plan to maintain their authenticity as the scale beyond 19 location. 

Today's sponsor:

BentoBox empowers restaurants to own their presence, profits and relationships. The hospitality platform disrupts third-party services that come between the restaurant and the guest. BentoBox puts the restaurant first and offers tools that drive high-margin revenue directly through the restaurant’s website. BentoBox is trusted and loved by over 5,000 restaurants worldwide including Union Square Hospitality Group, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Lilia and more.

Gusto offers modern, easy payroll, benefits, and HR to small businesses across the country — they were even named best online payroll by PCMag. And as a listener, you’ll get three months free when you run your first payroll. Sign up and give it a try at Gusto.com/unstoppable

Restaurant365 is a cloud-based, all-in-one, restaurant-specific accounting and back-office platform that seamlessly integrates with POS systems, payroll providers, food and beverage vendors. It generates accurate real-time reporting and analysis in user-friendly dashboards, facilitating immediate, data-driven decision making. Restaurant365 eliminates manual, error-prone processes and is designed to help restaurant businesses grow with functionality that helps optimize labor costs, reduce food costs and increase revenue.


Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Grind
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Grind
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • People pipeline
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Try to find out if they're competitive. 
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Zero tolerance for abuse.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Moral obligation. 
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Not thinking about the guest. 
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
    • e-sites. 
  10. 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?
    1. Look to the horizon
    2. Remember that you could die tomorrow
    3. Kiss your kids and wife. 

Contact info:

robertceo@punchbowlsocial.com put "Restaurant Hall-of-Fame" in the subject line if you want a job! 

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 Robert Thompson for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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