I have a very strong opinion about the restaurant industry. Before starting their careers, every professional should run or manage a restaurant. That’s because a restaurant encompasses manufacturing, service, and retail in the midst of intense competition. Add in the people element, where it’s hard to find and keep great people for the long game, and your management skills could reach new highs that will be difficult to experience in any other environment.
Every Episode Has an Origin Story
Now you know my opinion about the restaurant industry. I’m already 150-plus episodes into this podcast, and I’ve been eagerly waiting to share my opinion with a well-established restauranteur.
After receiving an email from the communications director for Ken McGarrie, I knew I had found the perfect author to share this idea.
While Ken may not have celebrity name status like Chef Fabio, Ken would be my pick to do a MasterClass on the ins and outs of the restaurant business. Ken is a likable expert who is easy to talk to, not self-absorbed, has an outstanding mic presence, and is clear and concise with great advice about this industry.
Ken responded to my idea about running or managing a restaurant before embarking on a career. He agreed, but with a qualification, and he’s right.
Here are some of the other themes we covered in this informative discussion:
- Why can this industry be so harsh on owners and employees? We mentioned this article at Thrillist.
- Is it hard to maintain friendships in this business due to long hours?
- Being fired as the Director of Operations at Top Golf was a blessing in disguise.
- The server-bartender archetype who wants a career in this business.
- Hiring for personality without the personality assessment.
- What is Overstated Familiarity? (Editor’s note: great term, great concept, applies to all managers of any industry).
- Is there a place for temp agencies in restaurants?
- Is the Rule of 60 aspirational or achievable?
- The reason Ken communicates with certain vendors every three months (this was gold).
- Ken’s thoughts on open-book management.
The Lightening Round
I love the lightning round. Yes, thank you, Jim Cramer, for this idea.
I don’t do this on every show as I wing it. It depends on the author and if he has an ‘IT’ factor. Ken has it, so here are the words I threw at Ken for quick answers. I can’t wait to use these words on my next trip to CC’s City Broiler:
- on a count
- double/triple sat
- the figure 8
- truck-stop bussing
I also snuck in my question about the most expensive cost in any restaurant. Food? Labor? Rent? Sorry, you’ll have to listen to the show for the answer.
The Audio Version of The Surprise Restaurant Manager
I’ve already mentioned that Ken is easy to listen to and has a great voice. Not only did I get the Kindle version, but I listened to the audio version too. Not every author can or should read his book. Ken did, and the listening experience was exceptional. I believe you’ll agree with my MasterClass comment as you start listening to it.
With Will Guidara – Listen
Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen
Kitchen Confidential – Read