Leadership Skills for the New-Age Operator

As an operator in today’s climate, there are new challenges when it comes to management at your restaurant.

There are new populations like Gen Y and millennials to understand. There’s new technology to learn and then train your staff with. There’s the high turnover, so you are consistently looking for reliable team members. There’s the challenge of retention and creating a culture that staff members want to be a part of.

The most successful operators are new-age leaders who aim to develop new leaders and build a culture that stands out.

But the first step to being a great leader is understanding motives.

We sat down with Rudy Miick, founder of Miick Companies on the recent IOChangeMakers live stream to see what it takes to be a leader today as the restaurant industry experiences a profound shift. As Miick points out, there are two types of workers today. Ones that have to work to make a living and others that are inspired to work.

So the goal is to inspire your team. But that is easier said than done. It all starts with defining the “why” or as Miick calls it “your purpose.”

“If I don’t have a sense of purpose or what some people now call the why, if I don’t know why we’re in business besides making money, then I end up being that rudderless leader,” says Miick.

Once you define the why and then establish values that support the why this is how you create or build a culture that resonates. Understanding the why also inspires new leaders within your team.

Want more leadership tips from Miick? Check out the clip above. The full interview is also now exclusively available on Foodable On-Demand here.

Dominique Crenn Speaks Out About the Challenges Plaguing Chefs Today

Dominique Crenn is one of the world's greatest culinary masterminds. She has repeatedly landed on in the top five of our Top 100 chefs list and is the top woman chef on this coveted list.

She is also the only female chef in the U.S. to have earned three Michelin stars for her renowned restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, CA.

And her list of achievements just goes on.

She has appeared in the popular Netflix documentary series Chef's Table, was named Esquire’s “Chef of the Year” in 2008, Eater's chef of the year in 2015, won the Iron Chef America competition in 2012, and was given a James Beard Award for Best Chef just this year.

Like most female chefs in this male-dominated industry, there have been challenges.

"When I started to work in the kitchen, there's not a lot of women that were working and I didn't try to pay attention to that," said Crenn to "NPR." "I had to work harder than others and I was a bit picked on sometimes. But I'm a very strong person. Nobody touched me."

Although she is deemed one of the greatest chefs today, Crenn still is treated differently because she is a woman.

"She has been successful because she does have talent and she has worked hard. But let's be honest, also because she has enormous charisma. She's beautiful and has that French accent," said Michael Buer, San Francisco restaurant critic to "The New York Times" who also said, "she cooks the way men are cooking."

Crenn, rightfully so, saw these comments as "degrading."

"I think he never should have said that. ... Saying that about me is a little bit degrading. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that should not be a factor in anything. And yes, charisma — what is charisma? I'm trying to be genuine every time I speak or every time I'm out there. Maybe you call it charisma, but this is who I am," said Crenn to "NPR."

But thanks to the #MeToo movement and strong leaders like Crenn, the industry is changing for the better. Crenn humbly recognizes that she is making a difference.

"I am just a little fish in the sea. But I do understand that everything that I do could have a little impact," said Crenn.

Read Crenn's full interview at "NPR" now.

We recently interviewed another chef and restaurant operator Jennifer Kim making a name for herself as a female leader in the industry. Her restaurant in Chicago named Passerotto opened last year with the goal of serving a modern take on traditional Korean food. Watch the video below to learn more about her journey in the restaurant industry.

Naf Naf Grill CEO, Paul Damico's Biggest Advice: Get to Know Your Leadership Team Personally

“I was bit by the entrepreneurial bug and decided to start a restaurant company in Southern California...grew that through about 100 restaurants,” says CEO of Naf Naf Grill, Paul Damico.

Damico started his career in the restaurant industry working in his dad’s catering business for four years. He then attended Johnson & Wales University where he earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management.

Over the past 13 years, Damico has had an extensive background in leadership positions for companies such as Host Marriott Corporation, SSP America, Moe’s Southwest Grill and six FOCUS Brands, including Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Carvel Ice Cream and Cinnabon World Famous Cinnamon Rolls.

His biggest advice for someone leading a company is to foster relationships with the leadership team, which he says is something that is often missed and difficult to do when you have a large team.

“You really have to get to know your leadership team that you are responsible for at a very granular level," says Damico. "You’ve gotta get to know them and their families personally, so you can help them and help guide them through their career.”

Damico speaks passionately on this topic. When he was President of Moe’s, Damico was featured on an episode of the CBS TV series, “Undercover Boss” where he went undercover to work in the restaurants and helped changed the lives of five Moe’s employees. 
 

Sign up for Foodable+ to watch this video and get more exclusive content!

Former Wahlburgers CEO, Rick Vanzura Shares A Valuable Leadership Lesson

Former Wahlburgers CEO, Rick Vanzura Shares A Valuable Leadership Lesson

"I was sure the purpose of that call was to fire me," said Rick Vanzura, Former Chief Executive Officer of Wahlburgers and Alma Nove restaurants, as he shared an anecdote about a time in his career as a consultant that taught him one of the most valuable lessons in leadership.

It touches on the importance of confidence, vision, and calculated action with clear intent with everything you do—especially if you’re a leader in your organization.

Vanzura recently made headlines when he announced his decision to step away as CEO from the famed concepts founded by the famous Wahlberg family. He says the parting with the Wahlberg brothers and the company was done in very good terms.

Read More

What’s The Key Role of Leadership?

What’s The Key Role of Leadership?

As 2017 is nearing its end, the answer is one that’s both consistent and evolving.  Just in case you missed Parts One and Two of this leadership series, here’s a short recap:  The question was asked, “What are the three top responsibilities of leadership, that is, an owner, or C-suite leader?”   

I answered my own question in Part One wearing two hats: experienced owner, and multi-decade “vet” who’s facilitated change and growth in over 1,600 restaurant and hospitality companies in different industry segments.  

Part Two of the series expanded the dialogue. Readers got the perspective of a Founder/CEO, SVP of a multinational brand, and COO of a regional chain.  The panel represented three different industry segments and sizes— all highly successful.

Read More