John Franke is the Corporate Chef at Front Burner Restaurants. a group of restaurant brands, the most famous being Twin Peaks. In 1995, he graduated from Johnson and Wales University with an Associate degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor degree in Food Service Management. He became a Sous Chef with Bristol Hotels, and then at the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus in Dallas. He found his way to Chicago where he was the Executive Sous Chef for Nick’s Fishmarket and then at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Back in Dallas, he became the Concept Chef for Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, and from there he spent more than 3 years in Africa doing humanitarian work. In 2008 John joined Front Burner Restaurants where he leads menu development and enjoys teaching others.
Maggie DeCan is the President and COO of HoneyBaked Ham of Georgia and The HoneyBaked Franchise Company. HoneyBaked Ham has 400 locations around the country and is one of the most celebrated brands in the country. Not to mention being a Thanksgiving and Christmas staple in homes around the country! She had an amazing career with Circuit City, Macy’s and Belk before joining HoneyBaked. With more than 20 years in the HR field she gained the knowledge and insight necessary to successfully lead a company. Maggie is also a community volunteer, mentor, wife, and mom.
Brad Johnson is the owner of Post & Beam and Willie Jane, renowned restaurants in the California area, and the owner of Post & Beam Hospitality Group, Inc, a management company that is dedicated to successful restaurant performances. Through cost effective operations, targeted marketing and purchasing programs, comprehensive training, and sales development at the local level, Brad is able to deliver quality and success through the business of eating – restaurants. He also successfully provides concept development, site selection, design, and startup planning and implementation. This interview includes a very honest discussion of the role African Americans play in the restaurant world.
Ken Myres - President at Romacorp, Inc. and Tony Roma’s
Ken Myres is the President of Romacorp, Inc. the parent company of Tony Roma’s, a worldwide casual restaurant chain that operates in more than 30 countries around the globe. As the President of Tony Roma’s, he brings his years of experience in franchise and international operations development. Prior to joining Tony Roma’s, he was a Vice President at Metromedia Restaurant Group, the owners of 800 Ponderosa and Bonanza restaurants. Tony earned his BS in Business as an Accounting major from Indiana University Bloomington, and went on to specialize in restaurant development.
Salvatore Moretti is a celebrity chef with more than 15 years of experience and the founder of Moretti Food Inc., an innovative approach to to providing simple, fresh, and healthy pasta and rice that taste like they come from a gourmet kitchen. Chef Sal has appeared on many cooking television shows and has prepared foods for restaurants and celebrities, sports stars, and more. With his new concept and iconic character called the “Pasta Boss,” Sal shares his passion for old school pasta and rice dishes that will make you hunger for more!
Chef Andrew Gruel is the CEO and Co-Founder of Slapfish Restaurant Group, LLC, a modern seafood shack with more than 80 restaurants in development worldwide. He has appeared as a judge on the Cooking Channel and Food Network’s Food Truck Face Off, and has also been a consulting chef on an episode of Food Network’s On the Rocks with John Greene. Andrew’s specialties include recipe and menu development, product development, restaurant branding and marketing, and on-air culinary expertise. His more than 18 years of experience are backed by degrees in Food Marketing and Culinary Arts.
Eric Karell has cooked for many celebrities and heads of state including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Carter, Mrs. George Bush, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, the President of Finland, the King of Sweden and dozens of famed athletes. He has worked at fine dining restaurant organizations (The Chuck Muer Corporation), fine dining independent steakhouses (Bones), and three of the most demanding and celebrated private clubs in the United States, including Cherokee Town and Country Club, the number one ranked club in America.He supervised the food service for the 2001 and the 2011 PGA Championships, where his staff served over 5,000 people per day. Chef Eric is currently with the Michael Deihl Group, a culinary consulting firm. He is an Honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and is a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation. He was also inducted into the ACF’s honor society, the Academy of Chefs in 2010 and is also active in many charity events each year including Operation Chefs Unite. Chef Eric’s first novel , “Mimi” is now available on Amazon.com and Kindle both in the US and in Europe and his second novel “The Devil’s Sous Chef” is due out soon.
Jack Bastide provides the Point of Sale (POS) solutions you need to keep your restaurant operating at the absolute lowest cost. Meridian Star offers the highest level of technology in their terminals to insure that each transaction goes smoothly and their customer service and tech support representatives are available 7 days a week to answer all of your questions, and make sure that your restaurant is always up, running and doing business. They also offer gift cards, loyalty programs, online ordering, digital menus and a great cash operating loan program to help you drive more sales, and streamline your operation. Meridian Star and their tech partner Bematech recently joined Restaurant Owner Radio as a title sponsor!
Geordy Murphy is President and Owner Operator of Cypress Hospitality Group, an executive search firm that recruits for restaurants, clubs, bars and hotels. His clients include The Cheese Cake Factory, Kimpton Hotels, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Buffalo Wild Wings, David Bouley, Pat Kuleto, Wolfgang Puck, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Bradley Ogden. Geordy has served in every facet of business. He was with Club Corporation of America where he opened the Plaza Club in Honolulu, Hawaii, and later, the Canyon Creek Country Club in Richardson, TX. Geordy then was Director of Marketing and Management for Studebaker’s of America, the phenomenally popular ‘50s, rock‘n’roll-themed bar. Wolfgang Puck selected him to build and open Postrio in San Francisco. In 1992, Murphy created his own concept, Geordy’s Restaurant on San Francisco’s Union Square. Esquire magazine recognized it as one of the “Ten Best New Restaurants of America” in 1994 and the NYT named it one of the “Four Best Restaurants in San Francisco.” From 1996 until 2000, Murphy was COO and co-founder of Long Life Noodle Company, another highly rated restaurant concept. One of his most memorable experiences was helping Russell Siu from 3660 On The Rise, one of Honolulu’s top restaurants, cook at the prestigious James Beard House.
Mark Keinhofer is the President and CEO of Return on Ingredients, where he brings more than 20 years of experience in managerial cost accounting and seven of those years in restaurant finance management to bring unique expertise to the company. Mark earned his Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Accounting and Business Administration and his Masters in Business Administration from Ohio Dominican University. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member at the Ohio Dominican University where he teaches several business accounting courses.
Alicia Danielle has taken her experience from Wall Street and applies those entrepreneurial skills to her position of Executive Director at The Bread Project, and in the process hopes to help create social change. The goal of the Bread Project is to empower individuals through practical skills training in the food industry. Previously the Founder and CEO of the Khaya Cookie Co. in South Africa, Alicia joined the Bread Project in October 2011. She earned an MBA/MPA from New York University and The University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business and a BA in Journalism from New York University. Alicia is also a Fulbright Scholar and her work has been featured in CNN Headline News and in publications such as The Financial Times, O (the Oprah Magazine), and Business 2.0.
Jimmy FitzGerald has had a 40 year career with stints at Applebees, TGI Fridays, and Dunkin Donuts. Interestingly, he lead international expansion into 33 counties for Applebee’s And Fridays. But he was recently reunited with previous investors to create Texas Star Brands. Texas Star operates three Bob’s Steak & Chop House, in Austin, San Antonio, and now Houston (The Woodlands). S“Bob’s” is synonymous with the great steakhouse experience. Building on the reputation earned in the original Dallas location, Bob’s now has restaurants nationwide. Each Bob’s is an examples of the traditional American Prime Steakhouse, combining simple elegance, a lively atmosphere, big drinks, fine wines and large cuts of the finest prime steaks, chops and seafood. It is frequently ranked the best in the country. Lots of great info from Jimmy.
Sal Morrone, CPA is a senior auditor at Joel Popkin and Company in New York. He specializes in the hospitality and restaurant industries. Some big name chefs have his number in their smart phones! Besides over 30 years of experience, Sal has taught classes in bookkeeping, accounting and business start-up. He is a member of the NYSSCPA Hospitality Industry Committee.
Zack Zurn and Adam Dougherty – Co-Founders of Blizzfull
Zach Zurn and Adam Dougherty are co-founders of Blizzfull, an incredibly cool new online ordering app. Check out their video and I cannot wait to see this tech at my local restaurants. Zach is skilled in graphic, web, and package designing and has years of experience working in the field. Adam has extensive experience in game, web, and popular application development and works on comprehensive web projects for various clients.
All restaurant owners are concerned about the impacts of ObamaCare. I want to make one thing crystal clear: we are not here to talk politics and I am NOT smart enough to understand the law or its implications. So, I went and found two experts, Tim and Derek, and I let them explain it. Their words, their opinions, and most importantly, their advice on how to handle the new law. Thanks to both for their great advice and help. I hope this episode helps settle some of your concerns!
Tim works for Enroll UR Benefits out of the Dallas area, and Derek works The Leavitt Group out of Orange County, California.
Larry Lavine brings decades of experience in the restaurant branding market to the Turtle Creek Restaurant Group. In 1975 he opened his first Chili’s restaurant in Dallas, which soon grew to become a chain under Brinker International. With a motto of “Make money and have fun,” Levine uses his years of building successful restaurants in concept development of other ventures, including menu development, corporate vision, kitchen design, and restaurant consulting.
Philippe Schmit is an executive chef and was recently named “Master Chef of France,” the most prestigious award in French cuisine. Philippe cooks in Houston, Texas where he most recently created the acclaimed Philippe Restaurant + Lounge (which was recognized by Texas Monthly as one of Texas’ “Best New Restaurants”) and bistro moderne at Hotel Derek (where he was hailed as one of the city’s most innovative and talented chefs following his arrival in 2004). He raised in Roanne, France, Philippe first apprenticed at age 14 at a local restaurant in the picturesque French town northwest of Lyon and then trained at three of Paris’s most respected Michelin 2-Star restaurants: Le Carre des Feuillants, Pavillon Elysee Lenotre and Restaurant Jacques Cagna. His first US position was as a coveted sous chef at the internationally respected Le Bernardin and later joined Park Bistro as chef de cuisine. In 1994, he became executive chef of La Goulue. And in 2000, Schmit opened Orsay as executive chef, taking the New York restaurant scene by storm.
Andrea Nicholson is the celebrity chef on Food Network’s super popular Restaurant Takeover. The show challenges two restaurant greats to help rescue a restaurant in trouble. In just 6 days, they must overhaul, re-launch a local eatery, and get reviewed by the toughest critics, their customers. Andrea also created Killer Condiments, artisen sourced from seasonal and local ingredients. Her company creates custom edible party favors for weddings, parties and corporate events. Andrea learned her craft at Toronto legends the Great Cooks, Via Allegro, The Fifth, Humber College, George Brown College, 35 Elm, and Trattoria Nervosa. She also travelled the culinary globe, with 6 star cruise line Regent Seven Seas, under Roberto Caporuscio, and with the A.P.N. of Naples.
Stefan Larsson - Park Wide Executive Chef at Yellowstone National Park
Stefan Larsson is responsible for 20 restaurants in Yellowstone Park, from the hotels to the lodges to the snow eateries. Legends like the Snow Lodge Hotel, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge, Canyon Village, Roosevelt Lodge, Lake Hotel, Lake Hotel Lodge, and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are all his responsibility. He serves twenty, thirty thousand meals a DAY. And much of it must be fine cuisine! Stefan has worked around the world and came from a European culinary education. We have an interesting discussion comparing the US and European systems.