Sarah Heard split her time growing up between Conroe and Lockhart, TX. In high schools a way to pay for her first car, she started working at a local restaurant and immediately fell in love with the industry. A few years after, Heard was hired as an executive sous chef at The Mansion at Judges Hill in Austin, Texas, and it has been peddle to the metal ever since. Heard went on to manage kitchens with some of the best chefs in Austin. One of her most notable jobs was at the Parkside on 6th where she met future Business Partner and life partner, Nathan Lemley. The pair purchased Foreign & Domestic Austin in September of 2017 from founder Ned Elliot and have been sharing the kitchen ever since as Chef-Owners.
Favorite success quote or mantra:
"Keep up that intensity!"
In this episode with Sarah Heard, we discuss:
- How being ridiculously observant, and showing up the next day better than you were the day before helped Heard move up the ranks at her first restaurant gig.
- What it looks like to have ownership of your restaurant.
- How proper kitchen culture is all about respect, discipline, and being orderly.
- That if a manager walks past a piece of trash and doesn't pick it up, then they're not fit to be a manager.
- Recognizing when you've made a mistake and choosing to learn from it.
- The impact of keeping a manager's log.
- Why Heard and business partner, Nathan Lemley, chose to keep the "Foreign and Domestic Name" when buying the business.
- How to take over an established brand without rocking the boat too much.
- How using technology in the kitchen has had an impact on efficiency and their bottom line.
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- Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
- Respect for the process.
- Welcoming demeanor toward the guest.
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Anxiety; Getting inside her own head.
- The little things can sometimes distract her from the bigger, more important things.
- What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
- What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
- Getting paperwork done. She's combating this challenge by trying to stay more organized.
- Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
- What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
- Replacing the cutlery between each plate.
- Keeping water and wine glasses full without being asked.
- What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
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- What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
- Staying intense when things are going well.
- What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
- 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?
- Be respectful.
- Be accountable.
- Have heart.
Thanks for listening!
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Huge thanks to Sarah Heard for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!
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