Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Umberto Gibin was born in Venice, Italy and began to learn the hospitality trade at several prestigious European restaurants and hotels. In 1979 he took his hospitality career to California where he got to work for a handful of leading restaurants in the Bay Area and LA. With this experience, he went on to serve as one of the founding team members of Il Fornaio, which he helped scale to six locations before departing to join the Kimpton Hotel group. Then in 2004 he re-joined mentor Larry Mindel to open Poggio. Today, Gibin deploys decades of top tier experience as owner-operator of Perbacco and Barbacco, both located in San Francisco, CA.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "We are as good as the last dish we served."

In today's episode with Umberto Gibin we will discuss:

  • Consistency
  • The European restaurant scene in the 1970s
  • Early mentors
  • The trip to the states
  • Emotional intelligence and reading body language
  • Old school v. new school kitchen behavior
  • Eye for detail is key
  • No position in your restaurant is more or less important than any other
  • Authenticity
  • The evolution of Italian food
  • Getting "cold feet" before the decision to open a restaurant
  • Knowing when you're ready
  • Mistakes of organization
  • Avoid a loose concept
  • Enjoy your work and think positive
  • The difference between a mentor and a boss

Today's sponsor:

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Focus
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • "I don't have one."
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    •  "Someone who looks into my eyes when speaking to me and is willing to help guests."
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Lack of experienced personal
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Be in the moment
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Be in the moment
  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?
    • Mentor the employees
  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 do
    • Stay focused
    • Value others

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 Umberto Gibin 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: 666_Umberto_Gibin_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT