Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Gene Colley, a former operator of heavy river equipment, and Anthony Cruz, former fine-dining trained line-cook turned healthcare professional, joined forces in 2016 to tackle food market/event/festival gigs with their pop-up fish taco concept, Gulf Tacos. After making a name for themselves by winning a few local food competitions, the duo saw an opportunity to ride the Nashville Hot Chicken wave in 2018. With this seen opportunity, Southerns Food was created and they've been selling out of sandwiches, daily, ever since.      

Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Service to others is the rent we pay for our room on earth." -Muhammad Ali

In today's episode with Anthony Cruz and Teen Colley we will discuss:

  • Mentors
  • Chefs making mentees cry
  • Demanding respect as a leader
  • What Susan Spicer taught Anthony in the kitchen
  • Working on the line with no tickets, just call backs
  • Work ethic
  • Alcoholism in the restaurant industry
  • Testing a concept at festivals
  • Word of mouth
  • Let your people lean into their strengths
  • Giving away food to even organizers
  • Willingness to be vulnerable and ask questions/seek guidance
  • Painting yourself into a corner through branding
  • Social media best practices
  • Cross-promotions with companies you like and respect
  • Giveaways, are they worth it?
  • COVID-19's effect on festivals and food trucks

Today's sponsor:

Toast - A POS built for restaurants by restaurant people Adapt fast with Toast's cloud-based restaurant POS system that updates to evolve your POS along with changing industry trends and guest expectations. Toast is built exclusively for restaurants of all shapes and sizes, with over 2/3 of our employees having restaurant experience to serve you better. Online Ordering - Let guests easily order directly from your restaurant for pickup or contactless delivery to keep revenue flowing during these uncertain times. Toast Delivery Services Dispatch local drivers through an on-demand network to keep your community fed and revenue coming in.


Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Gene: Remain calm during a stressful service
    • Anthony: Passion
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • High standards, no one cares as much as the owners
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Are you willing to go through this with us? Watch them work and see if they will work well within the company
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Anthony: Finding the right mentors for uncharted waters e.i. franchising/brick and mortars
    • Gene: Work-life balance
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Meticulous pursuit of perfection and a constant sense of urgency
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Giveaways/treat each customer as a friend
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Restaurants' inability to adapt (especially during COVID-19)
    • BOH/FOH employees are not compensated for what they're worth in this industry
  9. Name one service you've hired.
  10. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influenced operations?
  11. 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?
    • Always be kind to others
    • Don't be greedy
    • Help others

Contact info:

Instagram: @sothernsfood

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 Anthony Cruz and Gene Cally for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 740_Gene_Cally_Anthonthy_cruz_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT