Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Boulder City, NV, native, Chef Michael Thiemann, got his industry start in the city that raised him, Sacramento, CA. He went on to work all over the world, including New Zealand, Hawaii, and San Francisco. After Serving as the right-hand-man to Chef Tyler Florence, Thiemann returned to his home city of Sacramento, where one year later he opened his first Restaurant Mother, which was followed by Empress Tavern.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "It's all about working hard and not being a dick."

In today's episode with Michael Theimann we will discuss:

  • Starting out in the industry as a dishwasher (like many of us)
  • Find your voice
  • Learn fast and hustle is KEY
  • Restaurant social media
  • Staying/feeling young in the industry
  • The chef learning curve
  • Dealing with tension and resentment in the kitchen
  • Being homeless and jobless in a foreign country and making it work
  •  Adaptability
  • Restaurant scene in New Zealand
  • Restaurant scene in Hawaii
  • Ego
  • Maintaining good relationships, especially in a small community
  • Learning the hard way, new and uncomfortable environments
  • Restaurant scene in Sacramento
  • Mentors
  • Regrets/mistakes
  • Your restaurant is a theater and your team is the cast
  • You won't get what you want unless you make it know that you want it
  • The truth about pictures of food on Instagram
  • Self-awareness

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Saying yes
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Saying yes
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Outside interests besides cooking
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Keeping restaurants open is hard
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Just be nice
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Just be nice
  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?
    • Check in on your brand, what you're about
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
    • Slack
  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?
    • First of all, I don't feel like I'm successful
    • Separate yourself and your profession
    • Hard work

Contact info:


Mother: @mothersacramento

Empress Tavern: @empresstavern

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 Michael Theimann for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


Restaurant Unstoppable is a free podcast. One of the ways I'm able to make it free is by earning a commission when sharing certain products with you. I've made it a core value to only share tools, resources, and services my guest mentors have recommend, first. If you're finding value in my podcast, please use my links!
Direct download: 660_Michael_Theimann_BEST_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT