Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore


Michael Cooney Restaurant Podcast

As far back as he can remember, Michael Cooney has always enjoyed being around small business owners. Growing up in a big Irish family, Cooney was no stranger to good food either, as there was plenty of home cooking. Cooney wouldn't REALLY understand food until he moved to California, where he worked for the Malibu Group. Cooney would return to Boston and work for Public House and Sorriso. It was at Sorriso where Cooney met future business partner, John Paine and the dreaming commenced. By 2014 Brewers Fork, located in Charlestown, MA, was founded and the team has been receiving nothing but praise ever since.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

"Would you serve it to your mother?"

In this episode with Michael Cooney, we discuss: 

  • How Cooney got his start in the industry. 
  • Letting the authentic personality of your servers shine through. 
  • Using work ethic and hustle to get ahead. 
  • Don't wait to do something. Take initiative. Communicate what you did. Ask for forgiveness later. 
  • The difference between doing something FOR someone and TO someone. 
  • How bar tending is really about making people feel comfortable and like they belong at your bar.
  • The benefits of taking a job where you can "run your own show." In others words, working a job where you have freedom to manage yourself and be creative. It is in managing yourself and having freedom to create where you truly grow. 
  • Being aware that you never know who you future investors could be, so treating everyone like they're a future investor. 
  • How to get on the same page as your business partner, and what to consider when going into business with someone. 
  • How to approach someone you want to barrow money from. Make sure they're investing in you, not the business. Also, being clear from the beginning, what that conversation is going to look like. 
  • Banding together with our business and restaurant owners in your community. 
  • How creating a culture where your staff have their own regulars comes from giving your team knowledge and freedom. 

Today's sponsor:  A simple powerful and predictive cash flow companion for Qickbooks. Simple, because it requires no data entry, is always up to do and works on any device, anywhere. Powerful, because with it's built-in cash flow calendar, activitiy feed and anomaly detector, you instantly know all aspects of your cash flow with no surprises. Predictive, because you'll know your cash flow today and anticipate it tomorrow.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Work ethic. 
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Patience.
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Eye contact.
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Staffing.
    • Don't focus on find new staff, focus on retaining staff. 
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Would you serve that to your mother? 
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Have fun with your table. 
    • Don't worry about joking. 
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. If there was one tool or resource that you wish you had now -- or wish you had when you were getting started--to learn from others in the industry what would it be?
  9. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Share knowledge. 
  10. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
    • Pandora Business
  11. 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. When given the option, drink the better beer or wine.
    2. Always take everything with a grain of salt. 
    3. Always hug your mother. 

Contact info:


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 Michael Cooney 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!
Direct download: 549_Michael_Cooney_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT