Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Hailing from Houston, TX, Thomas Nguyen completed his law degree at the University of Texas at Austin and started his career as a litigation attorney. Dissatisfied with the path he was on, he left his legal career behind to pursue his passion in business and marketing.

In 2009, Nguyen Co-Founded Peli Peli, a fine-dining restaurant specializing in South African comfort food. In October of 2016 Nguyen Co-Founded Peli Peli Kitchen a fast-casual version of the original concept. To date, the restaurant group operates 5 total locations, 3 Peli Peli locations, and 2 Peli Peli kitchen locations.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

"You can't be good at something unless you are truly passionate about it."

In this episode with Thomas Nguyen we discuss:

  • The passion for providing something for your community
  • The best ways to keep yourself motivated in the industry
  • Sacrifice
  • Impacting your community
  • Finding your lane
  • The importance of getting pleasure from what you do
  • Starting life over
  • The value of experimentation
  • Marketing!!!
  • Whatever you represent, you must be able to back it up
  • South African cuisine
  • Introducing a market that doesn't exist
  • Making a guest's day better by coming to your establishment
  • Realizing when you're burnt out
  • Guerilla marketing
  • Branding!!!
  • Building a trusting relationship with your guests
  • People what to know who's driving your engine: it's YOU!
  • "Restaurant Startup"
  • Putting your restaurant on television
  • Adapt to your market OR change the market
  • The difficulty of navigating new social media platforms
  • How to tell a story with your social media posts
  • Don't just say your food is good; present what you are about and what your values are
  • The power of collaboration and helping other restauranteurs

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Passion
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Prioritizing time
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Pick something you like and sell it to me
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Understanding the importance of building proper systems
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Always have a positive attitude
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • We want our staff to be stars. Guests should come back not only for the food but for the staff as well.
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Marketing and branding their concept
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls and how has it influenced operations?
  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?
    • Understand your responsibility to give back to the world
    • Find your passion, no one will be able to outwork you
    • Spend time with the people that mean the most to you

Contact info:


Instagram: @southafricanasian

Instagram: @pelipelihouston

Instagram: @pelipelikitchen

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 Thomas Nguyen for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 604_COMPLETE_Thomas_Nguyen_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT