Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore


Originally from Fort Lauderdale, FL, Eric Warnstedt is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University  North Miami. Six years after making the move north to Vermont, in October of 2005 alongside business partner William McNeil, Warnstedt opened Hen of the Wood - Waterbury. It would be the beginning of a commitment to amazing farmers, cheese makers, and others who've made Vermont so special. Fast forward to the current date and the team has scaled their operation to include Hen of the Wood - Burlington, Doc Ponds Eat & Drink in Stowe, and Prohibition Pig just down the street from their original HOTW's in Waterbury, VT.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

"If we can find a harder way to do it, we'll do it."

In this episode with Eric Warnstedt we will discuss:

  • Eric’s first restaurant job in college
  • Eric’s first impression of the restaurant industry
  • Opening a restaurant
  • How NOT TO OPERATE a restaurant
  • The importance of being in touch with nature
  • Cookbooks as Eric’s early mentors
  • Where to find mentors
  • Role changes when you scale
  • Business plans
  • Food needs to have soul and roots
  • Learning how to lead
  • The necessary numbers and capital for opening
  • The harsh realities of opening
  • You must be SERIOUS about your restaurant and willing to make it YOUR LIFE
  • Having good relationships with everyone your interact with (vendors)
  • Partnerships
  • The decision to open new locations
  • Make your original location 100% before opening another location
  • Growing from within
  • Staying in your lane
  • Branding
  • Real BBQ in Vermont
  • Buying an existing restaurant
  • The restaurant industry as a whole and what it needs today

Today's sponsor:

BentoBox helps restaurants grow their business through a connected suite of tools, offering them an integrated website to connect with their guests and drive revenue online. Restaurant owners and operators are able to easily update menus, promote specials, take catering and event inquiries, sell merchandise, gift cards and more.

Revel Systems integrates front of house and back of house operations into a single dashboard. Designed to increase security, stability, ease of use, and speed of service, Revel’s streamlined ecosystem provides businesses with the right tools to grow. Learn more at

Revel Banner Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Strong vision
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Too harsh, too weak
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • What do you want to be doing?
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Getting to know everybody
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Be open and polite; kindness wins
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Gracious hospitality
  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?
    • Missing the big picture
  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?
    • Be nice to each other
    • Be kind/gracious
    • Plug in/dig deep

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 Eric Warnstedt 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: 625_Eric_Warnstedt_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT