Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore


After attending college at St. Thomas University in Houston, Johnny began working in the local restaurants owned by members of his family. In 1986 he opened Carrabba's with his uncle, Damian Mandola. In 1993 they entered a partnership with Outback Steakhouse Inc., now Bloomin' Brands. At one point the partnership grew the brand to 247 locations

Carrabba currently owns 3 Mia’s Table and Grace’s on Kirby as well as the two local locations of Carrabba’s The Original.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Give for the sake of giving, not for the sake of gaining."

In today's episode with Johnny Carrabba we will discuss:

  • Cooking and serving from the heart
  • Leading by example
  • Learning from a butcher
  • Family-owned businesses
  • Supporting your neighbors
  • The true definition of community
  • Discipline
  • Owning a restaurant is HARD WORK...not glamorous
  • The hardships of starting out
  • Work-ethic
  • Controling cost, numbers
  • Vision
  • The true definition of "mentor"

Today's sponsor:

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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?
    • Hard work
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Getting emotional at times
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Genuine concern from the heart
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Getting people to have self-confidence
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Enthusiasm
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Put yourself in their shoes and go above and beyond the call of duty
  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?
    • Don't love their employees enough
  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?
    • Believe in what you are doing and love what you are doing
    • The example you set is paramount
    • Love your people

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!

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Huge thanks to Johnny Carrabba 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: 642_Carrabba_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT