Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

French-born Damien Watel got his start in the restaurant industry at the age of 25 working for his uncle's two Dallas restaurants. In 1999 Chef Watel opened Bistro Vatel, which had an 18-year run and earned Watel recognition as one of the great chefs in the nation, before closing in 2017. Chef Watel's most recent project, Bistr09,  is the ninth restaurant project Chef Damien Watel has undertaken in the collaboration of his wife, Chef Lisa Astorga-Watel.  In addition, The Watels own and operate Bite in Southtown.


Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "It's not about the skills, it's about the character."

In today's episode with Damien Watel we will discuss:

  • The right questions to ask in an interview looking for new team members
  • Growing up in France
  • Learning the passion of cooking from his father and visiting great restaurants in France
  • Cooking school and training in Paris
  • Humility
  • Cell phones in the workplace
  • Pleasing people is our business
  • Risks of opening
  • Balancing creativity with the business side of restaurant ownership
  • Go where your target market is
  • All Watel's restaurants leading up to Bistr09
  • Dealing with partners
  • Dealing within surrounding businesses that share your space

Today's sponsor:

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Calm and collected
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Numbers side of the business
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • What do you do on the weekends?
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • To realistically get where I want to be. "Soften the dream."
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Always think twice. Give people a second chance.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Be close to your customers and understand what they individually want
  7. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Meet with their friends and support each other
  8. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
  9. 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?
    • Life is too short so live it the way you intend to
    • More time for family and friends
    • More time for your passion

Contact info:

Bistr09 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 Damien Watel for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


Direct download: 650_Damien_Watel_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:03am EDT