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801: Bill Taibe Chef/owner of The Whelk, Kawa Ni, and Don Memo

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Release Date: 05/24/2021

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Bill Taibe Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast

With Excitement allow me to introduce to you today's guest Executive Chef/Owner of The Whelk, Kawa Ni and Don Memo, Chef Bill Taibe.

Today's guest Chef Bill Taibe began early on while working after school at the local butcher shop. As a young chef, both at Two Moons in Port Chester, NY and Wildfire in Greenwich, CT, he quickly advanced from Sous Chef to Executive Chef.

In the years to follow he would help to develop, design and run many successful restaurants in Fairfield County, including G/R/A/N/D, Napa & Co., and his own, Relish in Norwalk before settling in Westport and opening LeFarm in 2009.

In 2012, he partnered with Massimo Tullio to open The Whelk and Kawa Ni in 2014, both located in Saugatuck, CT.

The newest addition to the group, Jesup Hall, opened in the early spring of 2017. However it rebranded in 2020 to Dom Memo

All restaurants are guided by Bill’s belief in sourcing the best possible ingredients and supporting our local farms and community.

Since 2009, his restaurant group has evolved from staff of 6 to over 80 employees.

He has created employment opportunities and programs, such as “Kitchen Share”, to increase the quality of life for his employees. The “Kitchen Share”, a 3% surcharge on all food sales, is directly dispersed to all kitchen employees on a weekly basis. Since it’s implementation in early 2017, numerous other restaurant groups are adopting his program across the tri-state area.

His success has led to appearances on The Martha Stewart Show, the Today Show and Moveable Feast. He is featured in Harvest to Heat Cookbook, which highlights the relationship between the top chefs of our country and the farmers with which they work. Bill was named a James Beard-Best Chefs in America: Northeast Semi-finalist in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

He is heavily involved in the Westport/Weston community and supports many local charities and organizations through his own personal networking and restaurant resources. He currently sits on the board of Food Rescue US and is the President of the Westport Farmer’s Market.

Over the past 10 years, Bill has mentored dozens of Weston youth through his involvement with the Weston Little League.

Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Strive For Perfection."

In today's episode with Bill Taibe we will discuss:

  • Creativity
  • Recognize talent and hard work around you
  • Mentors
  • Rude awakenings
  • Get a good attorney
  • Business partners
  • How do you cement culture?
  • Pivot

Today's sponsor:

7shifts is a modern labor management platform, designed by restaurateurs, for restaurateurs. Effectively labor management is more important than ever to ensure profitability and restaurant success. Trusted by over 400,000 restaurant professionals, 7shifts gives you the tools you need to streamline labor operations, communicate with your team, and retain your talent. Best of all 7shifts integrates with the POS and Payroll systems you already use and trust (like Toast!) turning labor into a competitive advantage for your business. Restaurant Unstoppable members get 3 months, absolutely free.

At Popmenu, we know that in today’s world, a great hospitality experience usually begins onlineKeeping the conversation with guests going beyond the meal also requires simple, powerful, fun technology capable of expression through all kinds of channels. Our team takes pride in helping restaurants put their best foot forward digitally so they can focus on what they do best. We think PDF menus are super boring, we believe 3rd party platforms have had too much say in how consumers find their next dining experience and we deeply feel that sharing your beautiful menu doesn’t have to be so difficult, time-consuming and expensive. As a listener of the Restaurant Unstoppable, you'll receive $100 off your first month of Popmenu!

P&G ProfessionalTM offers innovative total foodservice solutions featuring trusted brands such as Dawn® Professional, Cascade® Professional, Spic and Span® and Comet®. We are unique in that our total solutions are founded in customer and patron understanding, superior products that help save time and cut overall costs, and a five-star service group that is compensated based on customer satisfaction, not commissions. Visit www.pgpro.com for the latest information about P&G Professional's solutions and services.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Fear of failure
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Communication
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Is this the business you want to be in? Short and long-term goals?
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Accepting a change of life/balance
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • How do you treat eachother? Respect in the kitchen
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Being aware
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Take care of themselves
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influenced operations?
  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?
    • Work hard
    • Help others
    • Eat well and live it

Contact info:

Instagram:

@billtaibe

@kawaniwestport

@thewhelkwestport

@donmemowestport

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!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for the Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Huge thanks to Bill Taibe for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!

 

Restaurant Unstoppable is a free podcast. One of the ways I'm able to make it free is by earning a commission when sharing certain products with you. I've made it a core value to only share tools, resources, and services my guest mentors have recommend, first. If you're finding value in my podcast, please use my links!