Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

In 1988, tired of the gypsy lifestyle, John Stage decided to settle in Syracuse, NY, where he opened his first Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant. In the following years, Stage has expanded with locations in Rochester, Manhattan, Troy, Newark, New Jersey, Stamford, Brooklyn, and Buffalo.

Show Notes

Success Quote or Mantra

  • "The road to success is always under construction."

In this episode with John Stage we will discuss:

  • No straight line to success
  • It’s not easy so you must love it
  • How to go from biker to restaurant owner
  • John’s history before Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
  • How to name and brand a restaurant
  • The inspiration of long-established forms of cooking
  • Bringing southern food to NYC
  • Mobile foos operations
  • Getting capital
  • Rough opening days
  • Altering the business based on volume
  • Successfully bringing different demographics together at your restaurant
  • Aim, put people in place to help you succeed…and THEN shoot
  • Recognizing when you need help
  • Your culture suffers when you open too many restaurant too soon
  • Selling one of your products in retail

Today's sponsor:

Gusto offers modern, easy payroll, benefits, and HR to small businesses across the country — they were even named best online payroll by PCMag. And as a listener, you’ll get three months free when you run your first payroll. Sign up and give it a try at

CAKE provides an easy-to-use integrated software and hardware solution to build better dining experiences for restaurant operators and their guests. With mobile marketing and waitlist management to point of sale payment processing, the CAKErestaurant management system helps you grow your business.  Learn more at -provide a safe, secure, simple and anonymous communication channel between you and your employees to help you protect your hard-earned reputation and assets. Demonstrate to your team that you are committed to providing a workplace that operates with the highest ethical standards. Staying informed about important issues will help you resolve them internally before they spiral into larger, costly, or public problems.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    •  Curiosity and Perseverance
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Patience, too eager
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Curiosity, engagement, body language, a connection
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Lack of people in the workforce
  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?
    • One approach does not work for everyone, tailor the experience to the table
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
    • Setting the Table by Danny Meyer
  8. 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?
    • Respect people
    • Love what you do, passion
    • Give back and work with your community

Contact info:

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que website

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 John Stage 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: 629_John_Stage_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42pm EDT