Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

KEN MCGARRIE Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast

With Excitement allow me to introduce today's guest Co-founder Korgen Hospitality Group and Author of The Surprise Restaurant Manager, Ken McGarrie. Ken is also the author of the book The Surprise Restaurant Manager.

Ken McGarrie is the cofounder of Korgen Hospitality, a nationwide consulting firm dedicated to helping restauranteurs reach their absolute potential with effective leadership and maximum profitability. For the past two decades, he has helmed many successful restaurants, bars, and entertainment-based venues with a relentless focus on anticipatory service, staff empowerment, and attentive hospitality. He has helped launch new concepts and train hospitality leaders throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After failing to start an exceptional college band with only average talent, Ken worked as a server/bartender while writing for magazines and newspapers. He started in management the same way that many people do – by surprise. When his GM asked if he would take a set of keys and open the restaurant on occasion, he was suddenly promoted to manager with no training or preparation, like so many others in the industry.
Ken went on to open and manage numerous successful restaurants and entertainment venues. With Korgen Hospitality, he has an exceptional client list, including helping open over a dozen restaurants with Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani nationwide.

Check out Angel's Envy distillery as mentioned in today's episode.

Shoutout to The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group inChicago for hosting this interview!

Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Enjoy the ride."

In today's episode with Ken McGarrie we will discuss:

  • Past experiences influencing you today
  • Lobbying to be manager right out of the gate
  • Working in nightclubs/as a bouncer
  • Language
  • Apathy
  • Training/empowerment
  • The host position
  • Regrets
  • Membership models?
  • The Five G's

Today's sponsor:

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Obsession
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    1. Rumination
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Preparation
    • "Who not to hire" Chapter 2 pg 11 From Ken's book
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Second guessing myself
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • If you are comped in a restaurant, tip the original amount, not the discounted amount
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • The guest is usually wrong
  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?
    • Anyone who works for you could work anywhere for anyone
  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 influence 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?
    • My book
    • Bill Hicks standup special "Revelations"
    • Fish Bone album titled Truth and Soul

Contact info:

Find Ken's book right here.

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 Ken McGarrie 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: Ken_McGarrie_PODCAST_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT