17 episodes

Looking for a fresh perspective on the restaurant industry? Turning Tables is the must-listen podcast for anyone in the restaurant industry looking to grow their business. Tune in for thought-provoking conversations with next-gen multi-unit restaurant leaders, as we explore new ways to accelerate your business to new levels of success. Tune in for engaging, interactive episodes that are practical and relevant to today's restaurant landscape.

The Turning Tables Podcast Savor.fm

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Looking for a fresh perspective on the restaurant industry? Turning Tables is the must-listen podcast for anyone in the restaurant industry looking to grow their business. Tune in for thought-provoking conversations with next-gen multi-unit restaurant leaders, as we explore new ways to accelerate your business to new levels of success. Tune in for engaging, interactive episodes that are practical and relevant to today's restaurant landscape.

    Building Your Network to Build Your Business | Season 1, Ep. 16: Daniella Senior

    Building Your Network to Build Your Business | Season 1, Ep. 16: Daniella Senior

    In the latest episode of "Turning Tables," the hospitality realm got a masterclass in authentic Cuban culture, business acumen, and the fine art of juggling personal and professional roles. Hosted by Kathleen Wood at the Prosper Forum in Amelia Island, Florida, the episode zoomed into the spirited world of Daniella Senior, the brain behind Colada Shop.


    From her initial plunge into the culinary world, sparked ironically by her parents' culinary ineptitude, to running multiple ventures, Daniella's journey is a testament to passion, perseverance, and the undeniable allure of Cuban flavors. Those in the restaurant industry know it's not just about the food, but the ambience, the experience. Daniella's unique take? Make it an all-day affair! Her Colada Shop is designed to transition seamlessly from your morning coffee fix, through a hearty Cubano sandwich at lunch, to the evening's mojito.


    Yet, this episode wasn't just about food. It was a deep dive into the DNA of Cuban hospitality. The term "Cubanism" shone brightly as Daniella described it – treating every guest as if they were family. It's not just about serving meals, but memories. This philosophy, she says, helps set her establishments apart in the diverse DMV area.


    According to our dynamic CEO, networking is indispensable in the hospitality sector. Daniella's heartfelt connection with people has fostered a supportive network. And, as she tackles the jigsaw of business and motherhood, she introduced a refreshing perspective – the idea of work-life "incorporation" as opposed to "balance." Her counsel to other ambitious souls? Fuse your personal and professional realms, let one feed off the energy of the other.


    Furthermore, Daniella highlighted a cornerstone of her leadership—empowerment. A crucial tidbit for those in the restaurant industry: nurture your team, let them flourish, make decisions, and yes, even stumble. Because in those stumbles often lie the seeds of unparalleled innovation.


    This episode isn't just an earful; it's a soulful peek into what makes a restaurant truly resonate with its patrons. As Kathleen signed off, with an infectious enthusiasm to visit the Colada Shop, many listeners would've earmarked it too. And for our hospitality mavens and restaurateurs, Daniella's journey is a reminder that success is a savory blend of authenticity, perseverance, and the magic of human connection.

    • 21 min
    Succeeding with Founders | Season 1, Ep. 15: Josh Halpern

    Succeeding with Founders | Season 1, Ep. 15: Josh Halpern

    Don't miss the latest episode of The Turning Tables podcast, where innovative leaders share new rules for success in the competitive restaurant market. Host Kathleen Wood sits down with Big Chicken CEO, Josh Halpern, to discuss leadership, growth, and building great brands. Big Chicken, founded in 2018, is backed by JRS Hospitality, Authentic Brands Group, and basketball star Shaquille O'Neal. It blends O'Neal's childhood favorites with trendy flavors, from crispy chicken sandwiches to Cheez-It® crusted mac n' cheese, each telling a story about O'Neal's life and personality.

    In this episode, recorded at the Prosper Forum conference in Amelia Island, Florida, Josh shares the successes of recent openings, particularly in Rosemont, Illinois, and Baton Rouge - their first casino location. He emphasizes Big Chicken as a partner-first company, focusing on incredible food and service, good unit-level economics for franchisees, clear communication with suppliers, and continuously pushing culture, marketing, and capabilities boundaries. He underscores the importance of making the right decisions for franchisees, ensuring their success and continuous improvement. This approach, he believes, will drive Big Chicken's growth and positive energy. He also talks about collaborating with Stan's Donuts and using drone lights innovatively at the Baton Rouge opening.

    Kathleen and Josh delve into various topics, including keeping franchisees engaged, avoiding apathy, and the challenges of scaling a business. Josh emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement, good communication, and creating a clear, transparent ecosystem for all stakeholders. He also discusses the importance of not just focusing on numbers but also staying true to the company's values and ensuring franchisees are in the best possible position. They also discuss Kathleen Wood's book, "Founderology," and the challenges faced by founders and CEOs when scaling a business while maintaining the founder's vision. Josh shares his experiences taking over Big Chicken when it had two units and the adjustments needed to scale the business while maintaining the founder's mentality.

    The conversation highlights key challenges and considerations for scaling a founder-led business, such as maintaining quality and consistency, balancing vision and adaptability, clearly defining roles, understanding before making changes, and balancing bureaucracy and flexibility. It underscores the importance of communication, empathy, and a collaborative approach when scaling a founder-led business. It's crucial to respect the founder’s vision while also making necessary adjustments for growth. This involves clearly defining roles, understanding existing processes, and gradually implementing changes that enhance efficiency and effectiveness while staying true to the original vision of the business.

    They discuss the importance of embracing the founder's genius, being flexible, and making necessary adjustments for scaling. The speakers highlight the need to understand the founder's vision and the essential elements that make the company unique while also implementing efficiencies and processes that enable growth. They acknowledge the importance of staying true to the "Founderology" principles in the face of rapid growth and express gratitude for the guidance provided by the book.

    Overall, this episode of Turning Tables podcast offers valuable insights for restaurant operators and hospitality professionals looking to scale their businesses while maintaining quality and staying true to their original vision. Tune in for practical insights and best practices from industry leaders who are successfully navigating these challenges.

    • 19 min
    Building Blocks for Creating a Powerful Culture | Season 1, Ep. 14: Amir Mostafavi

    Building Blocks for Creating a Powerful Culture | Season 1, Ep. 14: Amir Mostafavi

    In an era where authenticity and community engagement can make or break a business, restaurant and foodservice professionals have much to glean from the success story of South Block. In the latest episode of the Turning Tables Podcast, host Kathleen Wood, founder of Kathleen Wood Partners, invites Amir Mostafavi, Founder and CEO of South Block, to unpack the dynamics that have built his brand into a powerful player in the Washington, D.C. food scene.

    South Block's Story: A Journey of Growth and Community

    South Block, specializing in smoothies, cold-pressed juices, and açai bowls, has risen from a single juice bar on the GW University campus in 2004 to 15 thriving locations today, including a partnership with Amazon's East Coast headquarters.

    But what truly resonates in Amir's journey are the inspirations drawn from his family's video rental business and his father's story of resilience and adaptability. These early experiences instilled in Amir a determination that led to the development of the culture within South Block, marked by growth, discovery, and intentional design.
    South Block's "Great 8" Rules

    The "great 8" rules, including the quintessential "don't be a jerk," reveal a business philosophy that goes beyond profit margins. They reflect a commitment to quality, community involvement, and the desire to create positive experiences.
    These principles have driven South Block's remarkable growth, even in unexpected locations, with the opening at Amazon's location standing as a testament to community connection and reputation building.

    A People-First Culture

    Amir's approach to business emphasizes prioritizing the community and the team. This people-centric perspective has paid dividends in employee recruitment and retention, even forming the core of his "Put Your Team in Your Dream" philosophy.
    Unlimited PTO, profit sharing, and the creation of paths and opportunities for team members speak to a broader vision. For Amir, South Block isn't just about juice; it's about people and culture.

    Why You Should Tune In

    Whether you're an established restaurant owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, this episode promises a treasure trove of insights:
    Innovation and Determination: Learn how a $30,000 line of credit turned into a thriving 15-location business, thanks to Amir's entrepreneurial spark.Culture by Design: Delve into the significance of building a culture that resonates with both team and community. Amir's fusion of intentionality, authenticity, and community engagement offers a masterclass in creating a meaningful business culture.Practical Perspectives on Success: From sharing business benefits with the team to recognizing the need to pause and intentionally design culture during rapid scaling, Amir's lessons hold real-world applications for businesses at any stage.Amir's conversation with Kathleen Wood transcends mere business talk. It's a profound exploration of the role of culture, a rich tapestry of personal experience, and a testament to the power of staying true to core values.


    So if you're keen on making connections, building a unique brand, or simply inspiring your team, this episode of the Turning Tables Podcast is not to be missed. Tune in to be a part of a discussion that's more than a business story; it's a lesson in connecting and giving back to the community, one block at a time.

    • 57 min
    How to Be Brave and Bold With Your Brand | Season 1, Ep. 13: Scout Driscoll

    How to Be Brave and Bold With Your Brand | Season 1, Ep. 13: Scout Driscoll

    On the latest episode of the Turning Tables Podcast, host Kathleen Wood, founder of Kathleen Wood Partners, sat down with Scout Driscoll, founder and CEO of the award-winning Chicago branding agency, DesignScout. With over two decades in the industry, DesignScout specializes in transforming both emergent and established restaurants into personality-rich, Instagram-worthy brands. Notably, DesignScout is a 100% woman-owned and operated business.


    During the conversation, Driscoll emphasized the importance of branding and how it communicates a company's personality. Using her client Benjyehuda as an example, she detailed how a confusing brand identity can hinder growth. The successful rebranding, which involved understanding the owners' preferences, led to a 40% increase in sales.


    Driscoll's agency thrives on fostering an "owner-occupied" brand - one that is not wholly owned by private equity or venture capital but has a passionate founder at the helm. This approach leads to authentic and well-defined brands that not only serve as morale boosters but also significantly impact the company's financial success.


    Driscoll and Wood also delved into key themes central to building a great brand. Understanding consumers beyond quantitative data, the importance of a brand's point of view, and the role of boldness in branding were among the topics discussed. Driscoll highlighted the need for brands to strike a balance between embracing technology and delivering a memorable guest experience. She concluded by underscoring the necessity of a substantial upfront investment for brands planning to expand.


    DesignScout has an impressive portfolio, with clients such as Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Protein Bar + Kitchen, and Goddess and the Baker. Scout Driscoll, known as a thought leader in the industry, has served as a panelist for the Beverage Tasting Institute's International Packaging Design Awards and a judge for the Restaurant Development + Design Magazine Awards.


    Key takeaways from the conversation included:




    The Need for Authenticity: The "owner-occupied" brand, as Driscoll defined it, prioritizes authenticity. This model empowers founders who are fully invested in their brand's vision, ensuring that this vision permeates all branding elements. By doing so, they can resonate more effectively with their target demographic, rather than attempting to appeal to everyone.The Power of Bold Branding: Driscoll advised businesses to embrace bold branding. This involves making the brand visible everywhere possible and ensuring every visual touchpoint tells the brand's story. She reassured that while investing heavily in design might seem daunting, it is necessary for businesses aiming for growth and will yield returns in the long term.The Significance of "Brave Founders": Driscoll pointed out the importance of bravery in brand messaging and visuals, underscoring the need for founders to be 'all in' and authentic. This characteristic helps businesses connect more effectively with their customers, enhancing the overall brand experience.
    To hear Driscoll share her one piece of advice and turn the table on Wood, tune into this episode of Turning Tables Podcast.

    • 49 min
    Six Keys for Accelerating Your Growth | Season 1, Ep. 12

    Six Keys for Accelerating Your Growth | Season 1, Ep. 12

    In the latest episode of the Turning Tables podcast, host Kathleen Wood, founder of Kathleen Wood Partners, provides an in-depth look into the strategies her firm uses to transform small businesses into major industry players. Entitled "Six Keys For Accelerating Your Growth," the episode is a solo session where Wood shares her experience and insights from working with companies like Raising Cane's and Walk-On's Bar and Bistreaux.


    Wood discusses the three primary criteria for choosing clients: 1) they must be people who aspire to do great things with their businesses, 2) they should demonstrate a willingness and grit to make tough decisions for growth, and 3) there should be a mutual understanding that combining the expertise of her firm with the client's business expertise can lead to growth and success.

    She also discusses the "Power of 1," a system developed by her firm to support leaders in accelerating growth and scaling their businesses. The system's development was inspired by her studies of professional sports teams that have sustained success and developed a legacy of leadership, like the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots.


    Kathleen Wood dives deep into her multi-faceted investigation of success patterns across professional sports teams, collegiate sports teams, top-tier business organizations, and her personal client base. As she delved into these realms, she started to see a shared DNA among all these groups that consistently reached the top. However, skeptics would question her focus on sports and large-scale companies, pointing out the resources and funds at their disposal. Kathleen acknowledged this and, in response, chose to study her own diverse client base, small and big, providing a more comprehensive perspective.


    Kathleen discovered that the most successful businesses, teams, and organizations had something profoundly in common: they all had crystal clear clarity and a thousand percent alignment. These elements formed the bedrock of unstoppable momentum. However, she realized that merely advocating for clarity and alignment could lead to being overlooked as a consultant, as these elements were not the magic bullets many were seeking.


    Upon further investigation, Kathleen noticed another key aspect: every successful team and organization shared six key ingredients. If a team or business could achieve clarity and alignment around these six ingredients, they were on the path to creating a championship team, sustained success, and a leadership legacy.

    Don't miss the opportunity to delve into Kathleen Wood's groundbreaking discussion on the 'Power of One' in the latest podcast episode. Discover in-depth insights on the compelling concepts of one vision, one team, one direction, one system, and one brand. This episode is a goldmine of actionable advice and profound insights, custom-made for individuals seeking to elevate their businesses and outshine the competition. Kathleen cordially invites you to join the conversation, share your thoughts and feedback, and together, let's navigate the exhilarating journey towards accelerated growth and unparalleled success in today's fiercely competitive business world. Tune in now, and let the transformation begin!

    • 38 min
    Winning with an Underdog Mindset | Season 1, Ep. 11: Scott Taylor

    Winning with an Underdog Mindset | Season 1, Ep. 11: Scott Taylor

    An underdog mindset is a powerful tool that can help individuals achieve success in the restaurant business. This approach is rooted in the belief that despite having limited resources, an individual can still emerge victorious by working hard, being creative, and remaining resilient. By adopting this mentality, restaurant owners and staff can approach challenges with a tenacious attitude and the determination to overcome any obstacle that comes their way. The underdog mindset also encourages individuals to take risks and think outside the box, which can lead to innovative ideas and solutions that set them apart from competitors. In a highly competitive industry such as the restaurant business, the underdog mindset can provide the drive and determination needed to succeed.

    In the latest episode of Turning Tables, host and growth strategist, Kathleen Wood, and her guest, Scott Taylor, chief executive officer at Walk On’s Bar and Bistreaux discuss the mindset needed to run a successful business today.

    Taylor has been named the President and Chief Executive Officer at Walk-On’s Enterprises Operations, LLC, a brand he's been associated with since 2010, having previously served as the President and Chief Operating Officer. During his tenure as President & Chief Operating Officer, Taylor focused on systemization and structure, building a leadership team that manages a best-in-class franchise organization. Walk-On's launched its franchise program in June 2014, and today operates 75 locations across 13 states, with plans to reach 100 locations by the end of 2024.

    Wood and Taylor take a deep dive into the underdog mindset and its impact on business. Taylor said, “So I think when you have an underdog mindset, you're not working against unrealistic expectations that are self-imposed right? Because you're always your own worst enemy and so you just work hard to get it done and there's not an expectation other than from yourself and you work harder, you work smarter, you work with humility and you embrace the people around you in a way that everybody wins.” Wood adds, “I can't think of a more perfect time in our industry to have that than right now because I really do think our industry is going through a pronounced and definitive period of change.”

    Wood shares, “There's a P&L that's called profit and loss and there's a P&L called people in leadership and I love the fact that you focus on the people in leadership P&L, and when you focus on the people in leadership you get the other financial P&L all profits less loss.”

    To learn more about how an underdog mindset can positively impact staff, franchisees and leadership as well as Taylor turn the table on Wood, tune in to this podcast on Spotify.

    • 38 min

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