Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Tracy Vaught may be an “accidental restaurateur, but 35 years later she is now one of the most respected in the field. The geologist-turned-restaurateur owns/operates H Town Restaurant Group which includes four of Houston's most successful, award-winning restaurants - Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Caracol, and Xochi. The group also recently opened Mi Almita in Honolulu, and the own half of a restaurant Origen.

She is a three-time semifinalist for Restaurateur of the Year for James Beard Awards, named 2003 Restaurateur of the Year at Houston Culinary Awards, and recognized in 2017 for her work by Houston Business Journal’s Women Mean Business Awards.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Rather than develop from without, develop the employees that you already have within your team."

In today's episode with Tracy Vaught we will discuss:

  • The power of mentors
  • The boss doesn't always have the best answers
  • Renovating an old space to build a restaurant
  • Relationships in the workplace
  • Taking over an existing restaurant
  • Partnerships
  • SBA loans
  • Slow, small scaling
  • Smoking on the job
  • Full service vs. fast casual
  • Food critics
  • introducing new concepts to a market through education
  • How has the industry changed in 36 years of restaurant ownership?
  • Stay off the cell phone while working

Today's sponsor:

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Teaching
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Taking chances
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Curiosity
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Labor
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Integrity
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Graciousness
  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?
    • Be authentic and be original
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence 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?
    1. Grow your team from within
    2. Save money
    3. Do something authentic to your own experience

Contact info:


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 Tracy Vaught for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 635_Tracy_Vaught_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT