Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore
Los Angeles native and Cornell University Graduate, Chris Simms, is a third generation restauranteur who has built his company Lazy Dog Restaurants on the philosophy of taking care of people first. Today, there are 30 Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar locations across California, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, and Texas with future growth planned for Georgia, Florida, Virginia and more. The company expects to double within 3-4 years. Each Lazy Dog restaurant employs about 200 people, and the restaurants lead the industry with high volumes and the lowest employee turnover.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Never settle"

In this episode with Chris Simms, we will discuss:

  • Making people happy with food and what it means to Chris
  • The hospitality gene
  • Going above and beyond
  • Exceeding expectations
  • The definition of hospitality
  • The importance of knowing more than just food and hospitality in your restaurant endeavors
  • Chris's time with PF Chang's
  • The importance of keeping your cool in heated situations
  • Emotional capital
  • Being humble
  • People over numbers
  • The opposite of hospitality
  • Understanding when to scale
  • Profitability
  • Compiling a business plan prior to opening
  • Maintaining culture as you scale and why it's important

Today's sponsor:

Revel Systems integrates front of house and back of house operations into a single dashboard. Designed to increase security, stability, ease of use, and speed of service, Revel’s streamlined ecosystem provides businesses with the right tools to grow. Learn more at


BentoBox helps restaurants grow their business through a connected suite of tools, offering them an integrated website to connect with their guests and drive revenue online. Restaurant owners and operators are able to easily update menus, promote specials, take catering and event inquiries, sell merchandise, gift cards and more.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Emotional intelligence
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Emotional intelligence
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Look for givers, natural-born, hospitality-driven people
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Building 14 restaurants across the country in the next 15 months
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Never settle
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Empowerment, empowering our teammates to take care of our guests
  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?
    • Listen to the guests and listen to your teammates
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
    • Wisely - Smarter Front-of-House
  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?
    • Never settle
    • Be humble
    • Empathize

Contact info:

Lazy Dog Restaurants website

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 Chris Simms for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


Direct download: 618_chris_simms_no_gusto_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT