Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

In this episode with Joe Deloss, we discuss: 

  • Creating Social change with your business.
  • The concept that your idea is bigger than any one person on the team.
  • How the idea for Hot Chicken Takeover came into frame.
  • The benefits of hiring people with a criminal record. 
  • Starting with the end experience you want to create and working back from there when developing your brand.
  • Starting where you can. Dinner parties with friends- Dinner parties with friends of friends- popups- brick and mortar. 
  • Creating brand awareness along the way.
  • Getting clarity on your brand. 
  • Owning your mistakes, and listening to the feedback on how you can improve. 
  • How creating a brand that focuses on doing good will result in getting more support from your community. Especially when getting started. 
  • When its time to grow- grow your team and team infrastructure, first. 
  • The benefits of hiring people with a criminal record, providing them with opportunity, and investing in their needs. 
  • Laying down clear paths for growth for your team members; d on't offer your people a job, offer them a career. 

Joe Deloss is a graduated from Capital University. After graduating he took the path of investment baker turned entrepreneur. In 2013 Deloss discovered Nashville Hot Chicken, and it was instant love. By 2014 his entrepreneurial spirit had take full grasp, and he, along with his wife, opened Hot Chicken Takeover. 4 years later they've expanded to 3 locations.


Direct download: 433_Joe_Deloss_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT


In this episode with Chef Brian Pekarcik, we discuss:

  • How the team dynamic of a kitchen filled the void after Pekarcik's baseball dreams ended.
  • Making your employees feel valued.
  • If you want to be the best you need to work for the best.
  • Taking a step back in position, if it means being on a better team.
  • Planning each day out to increase productivity.
  • Being the standard you want your team to live up to.
  • How working under a corporate umbrella can limit the creative freedom of a chef.
  • Using your experience, knowledge, and expertise as leverage when finding partners.
  • Taking time to get to know your partners and to create the SAME visions.
  • The dynamics of Chef Pekarcik and Rick Stern partnership.
  • Pushing through your fear.
  • Building a team of strong mangers around you by teaching them how to think.
  • Why now it is more important than every to not burn bridges in this industry.
  • Dialing back scheduled hours to 50-55 a week.

Raised in Pittsburgh, Chef Brian Pekarcik is a graduate of John Carroll University in 1997. Pekarcik then moved out to, CA to fine tune his craft while working in some of the most well know kitchen at the time. In 2007 he moved back to PA and would eventually team up with Rick Stern in 2009 to open S + P Restaurant Group. To S+P restaurant Group consist of Spoon, Brgr, G&G Noodle Bar and Willow.

Direct download: 432_Brian_Pekarcik_20180127T191939.174839_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Don't forget to check out Part 1

In this episode with Chef Justin Severino we discuss:

  • What it was like for Severino owning is first restaurant, Cure.
  • What Severino meant by "opening his restaurant for himself" during the Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown Feature.
  • The process of evolving Cure's physical space.
  • The process of evolving Cure's people. 
  • Not lowering the standard for the people you hire. 
  • Growing your people to ultimately replace yourself. 
  • Checking your ego at the door. 
  • What was different about opening Morcilla, Severino's second restaurant. 

Justin Severino is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. Severino made his move west to Santa Cruz, CA where he worked for many staples in the industry and opened Severino's Community Butcher. He would go on to serve as executive chef at Element Cuisine and Sous Chef to at Eleven Restaurant in Pittsburgh. In 2011 opened Cure with national recognition and accolades. In 2015 he opened Morcilla with the same result.

Direct download: 431_Justin_Serverino_2_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT


In this episode with Chef Justin Severino we discuss: 

  • The power of a team working to serve the same mission.
  • Speaking up if you need help.
  • How school helped Severino stay on one path.
  • Taking a job for what you're going to learn. 
  • Pushing your driven team members to their limit, for the sake of their personal growth. 
  • Being Fair. 
  • Food values. 
  • How being good doesn't mean shit... if you can't make money while you do it. 
  • How the most important thing in a restaurant is how you make your people feel. 
  • What led Severino to open Cure. 
  • How to open a restaurant with no money of your own. 
  • Awakening the creative part of your mind with a can do attitude.

Justin Severino is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. Severino made his move west to Santa Cruz, CA where he worked for many staples in the industry and opened Severino's Community Butcher. He would go on to serve as executive chef at Element Cuisine and Sous Chef to at Eleven Restaurant in Pittsburgh. In 2011 opened Cure with national recognition and accolades. In 2015 he opened Morcilla with the same result.

Direct download: 430_Justin_Serverino_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Raji Sankar, we discuss:

  • Freedom by way of discipline. 
  • Anything being possible.
  • The story behind Choolaah.
  • Creating jobs where people meet their full potential.
  • Buying into a franchise model to learn the business.
  • What Raji learned from operating a 5 Guys Burgers and Fries franchise.
  • The result of growing too fast and desperately.
  • Not sacrificing your values.
  • Growing slowly outward. 
  • Growth from within.
  • Using competency charts with monetary incentives.
  • Never ending learning. 
  • Outsourcing and surrounding yourself with the best. 
  • Getting people aligned with the same cause.
  • Creating systems and tracks for training.
  • Educating your guest especially when you're doing something strange or unfamiliar. 
  • Educating your team. 
  • The importance of everyone buying into your mission, vision, and values when scaling.
  • Using success stories from your team to grow your brand. 

Raji Sankar left a life of science, tech, and consulting to pursue the life of a restaurateur. In 2004 they started Wholesome International, the business entity that would start opening 5 Guys Burgers and Fries throughout PA, and Oh. It didn't take long before her own vision for Choolaah began to sprout. Today, Wholesome International operates a total of 20 5 Guys locations and they're opening their 5 Choolaah Indian BBQ Location.


Direct download: 429_Raji_Sankar_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Chef Keith Fuller, we discuss

  • how the people of this industry are what drew him in,
  • establishing a culture of continuous work,
  • never saying no to your guest,
  • getting rid of the friends who pull you in the wrong direction,
  • how being a dick gets you nowhere,
  • properly pricing menus,
  • being careful with media,
  • the depression that comes with closing a restaurant,
  • what makes a good partnership, and
  • getting the ball rolling on permits and inspections as soon as possible. 

After working in kitchens such as the award-winning L’Auberge in Dayton, Ohio and Jake’s in Manayunk, Pennsylvania, Fuller settled down in Pittsburgh, opening up his first restaurant, Root 174, in 2011. Today, with over 20 years of experience, Keith Fuller is the Chef/Owner of Pork & Beans, a new concept in collaboration with Chef Richard DeShantz.


Direct download: 428_Keith_Fuller_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Chef Bill Fuller, we discuss:

  • how Chef Fuller got his start in the industry,
  • where the culture of being "hard" in the restaurant industry comes from,
  • correcting the behavior, not the person,
  • as sous, how to handle an executive chef that is less qualified than you, 
  • being mindful of your mood and how you influence those around you, 
  • the impact of promoting from within,
  • transitioning from working on the business to in the business,
  • hiring people who are better than you at things, 
  • the value of annually self-reviews,
  • and the result of limiting hours worked to 40-45 hrs for line staff and 5-55 hrs for management. 

Hitchhiking his way from his hometown of Dubois at 18 to venture the country, Bill settled in D.C. as a line cook while studying for his B.S. in Chemistry at GMU. He abandoned his scientific pursuits, trading his lab coat for a chef's jacket. Bill eventually made his way back to Pittsburgh and into the kitchens of Big Burrito Restaurants, and has served as the Corporate Chef since 1997. Today Chef Fuller has garnered the additional title of partner of the Big Burrito Restaurant Group and oversees a total of 19 locations. 


Direct download: 427_Bill_Fuller_1.19_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT


In this episode with Mikey Sorboro, we discuss how he got his start in hospitality with a pedicab service; building momentum with low-cost/low-risk opportunities, using youtube to learn; the dynamics of a 3-way partnership; why trust and common goals are the glue to any partnership; how systems and processes are critical to your freedom and expansion; diversifying with bar kitchens, corporate venues, concert venues, and food trucks; recreating yourself with core values, visions, and missions; why he decided not to go the franchise route; how to pull off a fast-casual, full liquore model; using video with social media to share the story behind your restaurant and to make people laugh.

Mikey Sorboro is the "Mikey" in Mikey's Late Night Slice. Mikey had an epiphany one night gallivanting about town. With a grumble in his belly and nothing to choose from but gyros and hot dogs, he realized there was a pizza slice shaped hole in the heart of downtown Columbus, OH. It was enormous, and he intended to fill it. By the time Late Night Slice celebrated its five year anniversary, the company consisted of 9 locations and 2 award-winning trucks. On top of these locations and trucks, Mikey is also the owner of Oddfellows Liquor Bar, Located right next to the original Late Night Slice, and Joes Corner tavern.

Direct download: 426_Mikey_Sorboro_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Joe Fontana, we discuss the power of small daily improvements, how it all begins with making the choice to start, what Joe loves about the industry, advice on recruiting/staffing team members, finding and following your why, finding a mentor, how to start a business plan, going to experts for help, testing your concept with popups, setting up a successful Kickstarter campaign, hiring on values, not promoting your opening, starting as lean as possible with low monthly cost, and focusing on cash flow.

A product of Chicago, IL, Joe Fontana gave up his cush office lifestyle to pursue his passion for hospitality and food. At the time, this specific passion was meatballs. So he started where he could, selling meatballs at a farmers market, which lead to a Kickstarter campaign to support his brick and mortar. The meatball thing didn't work out, but it created opportunities, specifically, an opportunity for FryTheCoop. 

Direct download: 425_Joe_Fontana_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Brian and Brad Wasik, we discuss the history of Wasik's Cheese Shop, what growing up in a family cheese shop was like, never "aim an unloaded gun", the results of treating the assistants, secretaries, and truck drivers of the world well, changing and evolving with time, improving with every day, taking care of your people being the most important thing, having the same common goal within an organization, the struggles that come along with owning a family business, the importance of location, creating value added experiences, and being great without being pretentious. 

Wasik’s Cheese Shop in Wellesley is a family business that has specialized in selecting and maturing cheeses since it was established by the late Stephen Wasik in 1979. Now run by Carol Wasik and her sons, Brad and Brian, the shop offers cut-to-order cheeses, wines, charcuterie, specialty foods, and other gourmet items.


Direct download: 424_wasiks_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Dave Allred, we discuss how he got his start in the industry, always growing, creating habits, listening to your employees, the importance of standards, not standardizing personality, making sure your managers care, how franchises and corporations limit creativity, becoming an expert, empowering your team with system, the 10 steps of customer service, the difference between running a business versus a bar, why you can't make your people wait, a culture of teamwork, keeping processes as simple as possible, creating a complete experience, finding the best way to do something, giving away free stuff strategically, the rule of 3, spot checking, and selling your most proffitable items.

When he was 16 years old, Dave Allred got his start bussing tables at a Chinese restaurant. He continued working in restaurants during and after college, and before long he was immersed in the world of bartending. After 15 plus years of industry work, Allred decided it was time to move in the direction of management and teaching. Today, in addition to being the author of 5 bar industry books, Allred is the founder and CEO of Bar Patrol, which helps owners and managers run more profitable bars.


Direct download: 423_David_Allred_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT


In this episode with Juliette Gust, we discuss how the moral and behavioral standards trickle from the top down, how employees should handle being sexual harassed, how employers should handle sexual harassment, what NOT to do when someone reports sexual harassment or fraudulent behavior, using the platform to report these fraudulent reports, and the benefits of documenting these reports.

Juliette Gust has led over 1,300 investigations spanning 74 countries and advised on close to 10,000 whistleblower reports. She is a former PwC Regulatory, Forensics and Hospitality & Leisure Advisory Services manager, and later developed and served as the Director of the global Fraud & Investigations team and Project Manager of the Anti-Corruption Compliance Program for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Juliette also spent 15 years in industry operations from line positions to operations manager and general manager in high-volume hotels, casino hotels, convention centers and restaurants in top U.S. tourism destinations. On top of all this, she is the Co-Founder of

Direct download: 422_Jullette_Gust_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT


In this episode with Bobby Marcotte and Bobby Buivid,  we discuss how both Bobbys got into the industry, being original, changing the game, creating something from nothing, immersing yourself in the industry to get ahead, living in the moment, planning your next move, existing to care for your team, hiring people who care, how shared desires lead to partnerships, treating it like you own it, focusing on the experiences, knowing your story, and living to love the process.


Marcotte, Buivid crossed paths a few years back. At the time, Marcotte was at the helm of the highly success Tuckaway Tavern serving as Executive Chef (which he continues to do), while Buivid was in Chicago consulting on restaurant design. About a year an a half ago they decided to join forces and began collaborating on a new vision that would "change the game". That vision would become Hop and Grind located in Durham, NH.

Direct download: 421_Bobby_Marcotte_and_Bobby_Buivid_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

In this episode with Maria Campbell, we discuss focusing less on titles and more on "just being", the story behind Cooks Who Care, adaptability, sharing knowledge, putting yourself out there, why connecting people is important, knowing that you're not alone, the culture within the industry changing to support better quality of life, redefining what success looks like, and how to get involved with Cooks Who Care. 

Maria Campbell is the founder of Cooks Who Care. Cooks Who Care offers the food industry a new way to connect! With their unique digital platform, they provide management and staff with a way to meet others in the same field and to share leadership learning through online resources.



Direct download: 420_Maria_Campbell_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:22pm EDT