Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Vaughan Dugan has been an entrepreneur since his elementary school days cutting lawns in Newport, RI. By the 90's he was a millionaire with his business Stellar Concepts & Design Inc. In 2006, Vaughan entered the world of Food and Beverage with his first concept Pizza Fusion. The brand was a trailblazer in the food industry and set the standard for environmentally-friendly restaurants. After Pizza Fusion, he began working with Rodney mayo and Scott Freilich, two of the most well-known name in south Florida restaurant sense-- and longtime friends from Dugan's college years. Together, they created Kapow Noodle Bar, part of the Subculture Restaurant Group 


Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations."

In today's episode with Vaughan Dugan we will discuss:

  • Becoming an entrepreneur at a young age
  • Surrounding yourself with great people
  • No bad business with good people
  • Business as relationships
  • Partnerships
  • Opening a restaurant with zero experience
  • Sustainable operations
  • Mentors
  • Struggles with investors
  • Increasing efficiency in your business
  • Transparency with staff and customers
  • Reaction to COVID-19
  • Integrity
  • Social media
  • Diversification
  • Consultants
  • Restaurant tech

Today's sponsor:

Restaurant365 is a cloud-based, all-in-one, restaurant-specific accounting and back-office platform that seamlessly integrates with POS systems, payroll providers, food and beverage vendors. It generates accurate real-time reporting and analysis in user-friendly dashboards, facilitating immediate, data-driven decision making. Restaurant365 eliminates manual, error-prone processes and is designed to help restaurant businesses grow with functionality that helps optimize labor costs, reduce food costs and increase revenue.

Toast - A POS built for restaurants by restaurant people Adapt fast with Toast's cloud-based restaurant POS system that updates to evolve your POS along with changing industry trends and guest expectations. Toast is built exclusively for restaurants of all shapes and sizes, with over 2/3 of our employees having restaurant experience to serve you better. Online Ordering - Let guests easily order directly from your restaurant for pickup or contactless delivery to keep revenue flowing during these uncertain times. Toast Delivery Services Dispatch local drivers through an on-demand network to keep your community fed and revenue coming in.


Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • "My team. My partners."
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Patience. Trusting the process.
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Service vs. hospitality
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • "Spreading myself too thin. I can't say no."
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Respect for one anther which translates to treating the guests with respect.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Storytelling. Asking the guest to tell what we can do better.
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Communicate with your staff
  9. Name one service you've hired.
  10. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influenced operations?
  11. 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?
    • Lead with integrity
    • No regrets
    • Be a good human

Contact info:

Instagram: @vaughandugan

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 Vaughan Dugan 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: 719_Vaughan_Dugan__mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT