Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Michael Muser is the Co-Owner of Ever, After, and The Canvas in Chicago, Illinois. Michael studied theater in college in Southern California. After graduating and waiting tables in SoCal, he decided to train as a sommelier. He worked as Wine Director under Chef Curtis Duffy at Avenues in The Peninsula Hotel, a 5-star hotel in downtown Chicago. There the team earned two Michelin stars. In 2011, Michael and Chef Curtis left Avenues to open their own restaurant, called Grace. They left Grace in 2017 after a failed attempt to buy the restaurant from majority stakeholders. In 2020, Chef Curtis and Michael opened Ever in Chicago. In October of 2022, they opened a cocktail lounge called After.

Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favor success quote/mantra:

  • "Give them (your employees) them the tools they need to be successful. hold them to the highest standard possible and get out of the way."

In this episode with Michael Muser we will discuss:

  • The relationship with staff
  • Working in a hotel
  • Advice on choosing a location
  • BOH layout
  • Partnerships

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • I show up
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Too emotional
  3. What's one thing you ask or look for when interviewing/growing your team?
    • a real sense of commitment
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Finding committed employees
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Always remember that the person you are talking to is dealing with a million things that you don't know anything about.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Name check
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influence operations?
    • Tock reservation system
  9. What is one thing you feel restaurateurs don't do well enough or often enough?
    • Restaurants at a particular price point who don't have ceiling (exposed, painted air ducts are ugly)
  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?
    • Show up
    • Be early
    • Stay late




Ever: @everrestaurant

After: @afterloungechicago

Michael: @photo_muse

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 Muser for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!

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