Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore


Cork & Pig Tavern is here today because of the friendships and mutual love for great wines and delicious food that developed when Chefs Felipe Armenta, John Nestor, Virginia Dalbeck, and Ed Buenaventura met in California during the early 2000s. In 2010, Felipe, John, and Virginia returned to Felipe’s hometown of San Angelo, Texas to open the first Cork & Pig location. With the success of their first location, the chefs partnered with Ed to open additional locations in Odessa and Fort Worth. Today, Cork & Pig Tavern and its sister restaurant Red Oak Kitchen continue to delight diners every day.


Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

Stop and small the roses. 

In this episode with Ed Buenaventura and John Nestor, we discuss: 

  • Treating it like you own it and acknowledging your team members who treat it like they own it. 
  • Being a connector and keeping in touch with your future team members. 
  • Starting a business in markets that are under serviced, so you have a better opportunity to be the best. 
  • Working out a formula for locations selection. Make a list of "must haves" and only buy when all the boxes have been checked. 
  • Defining clear lanes when in partnerships. 
  • If you're a FOH person, what to look for in a BOH person to partner with. 
  • The struggle of conforming to market demands. 
  • Ed's ability to give constructive, honest, feedback in a fashion that is non confrontational and mutually beneficial. 
  • Growing your people before growing the company. 



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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • John
      • Determination to succeed.
    • Ed 
      • Determination to Succeed.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • John
      • Inability to let go. 
    • Ed
      • Admin paperwork. 
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • John
      • What can you do to better yourself and this company? 
    • Ed
      • Try to get a general sense of whether the person has passion or hospitality, naturally. 
      • Ask behavioral questions,
        • "If you were put in this situation, what would you do?"   
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Ed
      • hiring great talent
    • John
      • Developing a path to positive culture for his team. 
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

    1. John
      1. Trust
    2. Ed
      1. Professionalism 
      2. Care for and respect oneanother
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

    1. Encourage the FOH and BOH to work together. Force them to get to know one another. 
    2. Make sure your team understands the "why" behind everything.
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  8. Share an online resource or tool.

  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    • Aspect. 
  10. 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?

    1. Be devoted to family
    2. Write down your passwords
    3. Leave someting great behind.
    4. find the silver lining in all situations. 
    5. treat everyone with respect.

Contact Info

Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Ed Buenaventura and John Nestor for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 519_Ed_Buenaventura_and_John_Nestor_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT