Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

In this episode, we discuss how Chef Kyle Lee Mcknight got his start in the industry, why he does the work he does, when getting started- how cooking was a vehicle for travel, how cooking to make people change has changed his career, finding sobriety, how life changes once sobriety is found, being emotionally sound, developing emotional intelligence, how to deal with confrontation, training, culture, side hustling your passion, how to get a product to retail, growing and leveraging your network, and why buying food from friends is chef Mcknights mantra.

Chef McKnight got his start washing dishes for a par of Adidas. 25 years later he has made a name for himself as a premier chef in the south. He's won multiple accolades for his work and has been invited to cook at the James Beard House. Today he's the founder of Nena's Meats and Provisions and serves as Executive Chef at Full Steam Brewery.

Direct download: 393_Kyle_Mcknight_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

In this episode we invite Bruce Irving back on the shout to answer some Listener questions. The questions answered: Should you let your Facebook followers know when it is not you who is responding on your business page... if it is not actually you reponding? Should you feel obligated to like and respond to guest comments and reviews? Should you allow reviews on your business page? Should we allow our guest to post on our business page? Do we need to claim our business on EVERY platform? Should we respond to reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, Facebook? 

Bruce Irving is the marketing visionary behind and host of the weekly Smart Pizza Marketing podcast. On his podcasts, he interviews the leading minds of the pizza restaurant industry. Irving, a top marketing consultant and former pizzeria owner, also hosts PizzaTV’s Marketing Insights livestream program, which streams at 8 p.m. (ET) every Tuesday on Facebook. You can listen to his Smart Pizza Marketing podcast at In addition, Irving speaks at conferences about how to better use social media in your restaurant or small business

Direct download: 392_Bruce_Irving_Qs_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Howard Solomon, we discuss what made him fall in love with hospitality,  the impact of great culture in your business, the "all for one mentality", paying attention to the details, the importance of listening, what Solomon learned from Wolfgang Puck, trying things outside of your comfort zone, how to be a great listener, how empathy is the soul of listening, how to gain trust, how to empower your people

A graduate of the University of Iowa and Illinois State University, Solomon served Wolf Gang Puck as Director of Culinary Administration before starting his own Hospitality Consulting Firm, The Solomon Group. During this time Solomon was also an educator, teaching Restaurant Managementment at San Diego State University. Today, Soloman serves as Founder of Solomon 2.0 where his mission is to open the eyes of good leaders and give them a “great leader make-over.”


Direct download: 391howard_solomon_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

This is the second part of a two-part series! In part two, Chef Scott Crawford and I discuss why shutting the door on opportunity is sometimes the best way to open doors to more opportunities, building a reputation by doing the right things for the right reasons, why you need to pay it forward once you've "figured it out", Keeping it simple, not spending too much money, investing in your people, how to handle the negative energy of a nasty critic, what happens when you have your team's back, why chef has a chiropractor and masseuse come in for his staff once a month

Originally from PA, Chef Scott Crawford got his start in the industry as a server and bartender and would accidentally work his way into the kitchen. He built his career working in some of the finest luxury hotels around the nation earning 5 James Beard Semi-finalist awards in the process. In 2016 Chef Crawford open his first restaurant Crawford and Son located in Raleigh, NC.

Direct download: 390_Scott_Crawford2_20171012T152007.284084_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

This is the first of a two-part series! In part one Chef Scott Crawford and I discuss focusing on results, how Chef Crawford found his lane, how to find your passion, working for the best possible people, how to build relationships, giving before you get, what real commitment looks like, building reputations not resumes, blending life and work, how valuing the intangible in life gets you the tangible, the right way to enter a partnership, why you need to be principle in your business, the process for finding your right investors. 

Originally from PA, Chef Scott Crawford got his start in the industry as a server and bartender and would accidentally work his way into the kitchen. He built his career working in some of the finest luxury hotels around the nation earning 5 James Beard Semi-finalist awards in the process. In 2016 Chef Crawford open his first restaurant Crawford and Son located in Raleigh, NC.

Direct download: 389_Scott_Crawford_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT


In this episode with Chef Marc Jacksina, we discuss what attracted Chef Jacksina to this industry, why you need to "remember where the fence is", why a clean workspace is more than just a clean workspace, paying attention to your numbers, how to go about making change, the value of incredible service, the customers need is acknowledgement, carving out your niche, how Chef Jacksina found his niche, how to know when you've found your niche, counting inventory, taking the thing you don't know and doing it, what percentage you should take as a partner, why making money is the restaurant business is about volume, being properly capitalized, making the initial leap into ownership, not buying into your own success, how there is a time an place for play and it's not at 5 pm on a Friday, why you need great PR and story, why getting respect from your peers is more important to getting respect from those who hand out rewards, and why the blame game never works. 

Hailing from NY, where he got his start running neighborhood trattorias, multi-unit corporate restaurants, and a five star Adirondack inn, Marc Jacksina relocated to Charlotte with his wife Lauren, and two sons, Lucas and Ian, in 2004. It was there, where he opened multiple Best New Restaurant award winners including Nan & Byron's, Halcyon, and Lulu. Chef Jacksina is now Executive Chef at Earl’s Grocery, an urban provisions larder and cafe serving inspired street food, grab and go dinners, and some of the city’s tastiest fried chicken. In addition, Marc hosts the online video series, OrderFire where he interviews leading culinarians, mixologists, restaurateurs, purveyors, and farmers to paint them in a more multidimensional light.

Direct download: 388_Marc_Jacksina_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Chef Charles Carroll, we discuss the power in building your team, the inspiration behind his new book, and we share "Chef's Seven Rules of Greatness". 

Chef Carroll is an award-winning chef who travels the world speaking on championship thinking and personal greatness. For his work with US troops abroad, he was personally commended by five U.S. presidents. Chef Carroll current serves as Executive Chef and Houstons Prestigious River Oaks country club.  Additionally, Chef Carroll is the Co-author of The Recipe: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Ingredients of Greatness

Direct download: 387_Chef_Charles_Carroll_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with guest, Pablo Fuentes we discuss how success starts with discipline, how to use your team to get inspiration for writing a good job post, the elements of a perfect job post, common mistakes to avoid when writing a job post and ultimately, how to write job posts that convert. Be sure to join us for the LIVE webinar on November 6th! 

Pablo is the Founder and CEO of Proven, a software company that helps small businesses hire.  He is also the host and producer of Small Business War Stories, a podcast where he drives thousands of miles around the country interviewing small business owners and operators and learning about their stories. Today Pablo is here to cover elements of a perfect job post and he'll also share some of the most common mistakes.
Direct download: 386_Pablo_Fuentes2_20171002T162331.991891_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode, with Master Sommelier, Alex Lapratt, we discuss hiring those who are persistent about working for you, being positive and humble, knowing your stuff- if you don't know don't make it up, hard work making the difference between the successful and unsuccessful, surrounding yourself with the best, extreme attention to detail, making massive sacrifice to move your career forward, providing opportunity to your team, when you know to break out on your own, intricacies of selecting your partners, how to go from one to two locations, growing people before growing restaurants, and why you should buy instead of lease.

Growing up in Detroit, Alex's love for wine came at the young age of 19 years old. His passion for wine provided him with the opportunity to work in some of the finest restaurants the industry has to offer including Michael Mina, The French Laundry, Daniel, Atera, Le Bernardin, and Jean-Georges. Today Alex serves as the Principal and Beverage Director at Atrium DUMBO, and Beasts and Bottles located in Brooklyn, NY.

Direct download: Alex_Lapratt_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode, we bring back past guest, Business Manager of Bar Mezzana, Jefferson Macklin, and business partner, Executive Chef, Colin Lynch. When Jefferson first came on the show (episode 228) he and his partners, Colin and Heather Lynch, were in the build-out stage of opening their restaurant, Bar Mezzana. Jefferson, Colin, and Heather all worked with the Barbara Lynch Gruppo, out of Boston, MA.  In 2015 they decided to break out and pave their own path. 

We discuss what Jefferson, Colin, and Heather did that made the opening go well, getting experts to take care of the details, how to resign gracefully when breaking out on your own, why this location stood out to Chef Lynch, how they raised the money, the importance of practicing your pitch, what being a servant leaders looks like during an opening, how to keep your team as motivated as they were on day one, removing those who bring the rest of your team down, the impact of having a tight partnership, sharing your financials with the team, and educating the guest on the cost of serving them right.  

At the Helm with a combined 30 years of experience in the hospitality business, Colin and Heather Lynch, along with Jefferson Macklin worked together at Barbara Lynch Gruppo for eight years before realizing their dream of opening a restaurant of their own. All three share a passion for creating an amazing dining experience rooted in exceptional hospitality. Most recently, Colin was the Executive Chef for Barbara Lynch Gruppo, while Jefferson served as the President and Chief Operating Officer. Today, Colin, Heather, and Jefferson are the Co-Owners of Bar Mezzana location in Boston's South End.

In this episode, we discuss what makes Erik Shellenberger an authority on the topic of marketing, and we cover the 5 areas you're most likely to find your next NEW customer: word-of-mouth, reviews, search engine optimization, social media, and others. We also discuss the power in paying for a mentor and spending money to make money. 

Erik Shellenberger is the founder of Bar Marketing Basics where he teaches bar and restaurant owners how to improve their online presence and bring in new customers.

Direct download: 383_Erik_Shellenberger_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

 In this episode with Donnie Madia, we discuss the power of collaboration, knowing your strengths, attracting onto yourself those who are strong where you're weak, taking the ideas of others and tweaking them to make them your own, no one person being greater than the whole, having a will to succeed, How Madia and his business partners got the money to start Blackbird, how to attract greatness onto yourself, What makes a successful partnership, the importance of finding the right real estate deal, opening restaurant close to each other, and the power of masterminding.

Chicago-born, Donnie Madia got his first lessons in hospitality by observing his mother and aunt caring for and serving guests in their home. It is said that Donnie has mastered the art of collaboration, and is gifted with the ability to see and connect talent. Today, Madia serves as co-founder of One Off Hospitality Group In Chicago IL and has received 5 James Beard Awards acknowledge his work.

Direct download: 382_Donnie_Madia_20170929T152538.079586_20170930T132824.171403_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode, we discuss how Jen Pelka got her start in the industry, how you got to "fake it till you make it", how to create opportunity for yourself by creating positions, the power of side hustles, having great connections, networking, how to get people to like you,  summarizing your brand, picking one thing and being the best at it, focusing on what you're good at, surrounding yourself with those who are good at what you're bad at, using a cause to appeal to investors, hiring with the same vision, and using branded visuals.

After a decade of experience leading branded events, influencer marketing, content strategy, and media relations in-house at OpenTable, Gilt Taste, Tumblr, Chef Daniel Boulud's iconic Restaurant DANIEL,m Jen Pelka launched Magnum PR in 2015. This past January, Jen took all of her experience helping other restaurants succeed and put it into opening her own restaurant and champagne bar, The Riddler, located in San Francisco, CA.

Direct download: 381_Jen_Pelka_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT