As an Austin native and graduate of Texas Culinary Academy, Evan LeRoy has garnered international acclaim as a top tier barbecue chef cooking at NYC's Hill Country Barbecue Market and Austin's Freedmen's Bar. He's traveled as far as Russia and Australia to train and teach his skills. In 2017, he and business partner, Sawyer Lewis, opened Leroy and Lewis and was quickly identified as one of the best BBQ options in Austin.
Favorite success quote or mantra:
"BBQ may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start."
In this episode with Chef Evan LeRoy, we discuss:
- Why LeRoy transitioned from writing about food to cooking food.
- That culture comes from the top down. If you want people to respect and work well with each other you need to respect and work well with your people. Set the tone.
- How the best restaurants ask their people to treat the business like they own it. They also teach them how to own it.
- Using photos and videos to maintain standards, especially with recipes and plating.
- How to create a high level of accountability.
- How you really don't know something until you can teach it.
- If you want to be the best at something, go to work for the people who are the best at what it is you want to do.
- Taking care of your people AND the numbers.
- Joining teams that have the same standards as you.
- Creating a team of people who compliment you well.
- Using pop-ups to create buzz.
- Using double-and-out-loans to start your business.
- The realities of operating a food truck.
- The power of finding a niche' or a "unique selling proposition"
- Why a mission is so important, not necessarily for attracting business, but to keep you and your team going.
- Creating repeat guests by pushing them out of their comfort zone with samples, specifically, samples that are unique to your business.
- Finding the fine balance between controlling the business with systems while also giving your people freedom to exceed expectations.
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- Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
- Being able to see the big picture.
- What is your biggest weakness?
- What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
- LeRoy asks himself, "Can I see this person doing the dirtiest job?"
- What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
- Combating the constantly changing weather. Especially when estimating what needs to be purchased.
- Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
- What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
- Be willing and patient to explain everything on the menu.
- What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
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- What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
- Most restaurant owners or either connected to the money or connect to the work, but in oder to be successful you need to be connected to both.
- What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
- 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 together.
- It's better to be different than the best.
- operate honestly.
Thanks for listening!
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Huge thanks to Evan LeRoy for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!
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