Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Hailing from a family of chefs, Michael Serpa grew up in the restaurant industry living between Miami and Pennsylvania. After dropping political science at Penn State Serpa attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.  In New York, Michael connected with the Olives NY group and worked under chef Michael Crain and eventually would make his way to Boston to work at Olives in Charlestown.  He soon took over the kitchen at Neptune Oyster in the North End, where he stayed 7 years. With a need to continuing challenging himself, Serpa departed Neptune to open Select Oyster Bar in Boston's Back Bay, which opened in April 2015.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

"Keep it fresh." 

In this episode with Michael Serpa, we discuss:

  • How to create a culture of "keeping it fresh." 
  • The value in following your gut. 
  • The pros AND cons of getting a culinary degree. 
  • Reinforcing positive behavior. Not scolding negative behavior, correcting it, instead.
  • Working for other restaurants to round off your skills and to create a foundation for self-exploration and personal clarity. 
  • Attaching your personality to a restaurant space. 
  • Being good at adapting and changing on the fly.  
  • Why your reputation within the industry is so crucial when it comes to building your team and opening a restaurant. 
  • How to create a regulars. 
  • Doing projects right the first time.  
  • Being mindful of the bar you set for yourself. The bar you set for yourself is the same bar your set for your staff. 
  • Always making small improvements and never getting too comfortable with how things are.
  • Finding the balance between staying fresh and being consistent. 
  • Being versed in all elements of a restaurant, not just what you're an expert at. 

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Work ethic.
    • Adaptability.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Self-promotion. 
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Look to see if they're excited for the opportunity. 
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    •  Opening a second location. 
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Respect
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Making a personal connecting with your guest. 
  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?
    • Attached their personality to the restaurant. 
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence 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?
    1. Live it up.
    2. Be kind to people.
    3. Be passionate about what you do. 

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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 Michael Serpa for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 555_Michael_Serpa_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT