Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore


In this episode with Cara Graham, we discuss:

  • Trusting your gut/intuition.
  • The value of working in corporate structure to learn the standards.
  • The authentic personality of your servers coming out in front of your guest.
  • Constantly putting yourself in uncomfortable positions in order to grow.
  • Not being pretentious with your food and beverage knowledge.
  • Learning by constantly taking on new responsibilities.
  • The importance of educating your staff, so your staff can educate your guest.
  • Being confident and sure as a leader.
  • Working together as a team.
  • Giving your people opportunities or risk losing them.
  • Hiring people that mesh well with your team chemistry.
  • How to maintain your cool when someone green is doing something totally stupid.
  • Being open to learning from your staff.
  • The importance of giving back to your community.

Hailing from Pegram, TN Cara Graham got her start in hospitality serving while in college. She instantly fell in love. Over the next 20 years she would progress by constantly challenging herself, and taking on tasks she wasn't accustomed to. She climbed the latter from server, to bar tender, to manager, and eventually to general manager at Eastland in Nashville. It was at Eastland where she met her future business partner, Chef Hal Holden Bache. In 2011, together, they opened Lockeland Table Community Kitchen and Bar.


Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

"Follow your moral compass."

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • Paying attention.
    • Constantly living in a place of growth.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Worries too much.
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • Pay attention to body language.
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Work-life-balance.
      • She has overcome this by empowering her team.
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

    1. Be kind.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

    1. Be yourself.
    2. Know your menu.
    3. Know the stories behind the food.
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  8. Share an online resource or tool.

  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?

    1. Be kind
    2. work hard
    3. find what you love.

Contact Info


Instagram: @lockelandtable

Chef Hal's personal Instagram:@chefhalholdenbache


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 Cara Graham for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 457_Cara_Graham_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT