Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

With excitement allow me to introduce to you today's guest Founder and CEO of the McNellie's Restaurant Group Elliot Nelson.

Elliot Nelson went to the University of Notre Dame for college. During his junior year, he left South Bend to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland. While there, he fell in love with the atmosphere and unique hospitality that he experienced every time he walked into classic Dublin pubs. 

Upon returning to Tulsa, Nelson made it his mission to recreate the Irish Pub feel in his hometown. He opened James E. McNellie’s Public House in March of 2004 in what had been a lonely and rather desolate corner of downtown Tulsa. 17 years later, McNellie’s and the area around it are thriving. Today the McNellies Group consist of 10 brands: McNellie’s Downtown; McNellie’s South City; El Guapo’s Downtown; Howdy Burger; Fassler Hall; Dilly Diner; Yokozuna; The Tavern; Dust Bowl Lanes & Lounge; Elgin Park

Check out episode 778 with Rachel Cope as mentioned in today's episode!

Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • “If you're not impressive then by default you are unimpressive.”
  • “The complacency of today is the direct enemy of tomorrow.”

In today's episode with Mike Bausch we will discuss:

  • Start with the end in mind
  • What makes Ireland's hospitality different from ours?
  • Judging success by how long the guest stays in the building
  • Location
  • Passion
  • Networking
  • Social intelligence
  • Opening blunders
  • Opening an Irish bar on St. Patrick's Day
  • Marketing
  • Building a neighborhood around your restaurant/bar
  • Smile and get the order right...that's it!
  • Creating/sustaining culture
  • People in this industry need vacations!
  • Ghost kitchen/events centers
  • Packaging for take-out

Today's sponsor:

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Perseverance
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Guiness
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • "Where do you get your news?"
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • COVID-19, retaining staff
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Treat everyone with respect
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Try to get to yes
  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?
    • Don't say thank you enough to staff
  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?
    • Basecamp - project management software
  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?
    • Be kind to eachother
    • Guiness is like drinking a hug
    • I hope my kids have a sense of adventure

Contact info:

Instagram: @elliotmcnellies

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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And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Huge thanks to Elliot Nelson 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: 781_Elliot_Nelson_PODCAST_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT