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No matter what role you have in the restaurant industry, chances are you work extremely long days filled with dozens, if not hundreds, of tasks. This makes it hard to take the time to read up on how other restaurant people are running their business and dealing with the many challenges that pile up on their plates.
This is where podcasts come in.
If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, it’s basically like talk radio on demand, but with an extremely wide variety of formats and topics. You can listen to a podcast online on the podcast's website, or, even easier, you can get a podcast app on your phone (like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, RadioPublic, or any other) to subscribe to a show and download episodes so you can listen to them anywhere without using data.
The best part about podcasts is that they’re often both entertaining and educational, and you can listen to them while you’re cleaning, doing menial paperwork, or on your commute into work.
There are hundreds of podcasts about food out there, but not quite as many about the restaurant industry and what it’s like to run a restaurant — and how to do it better. Here are some of our favorite restaurant industry podcasts that you can try out when you’re staring down a pile of silverware that needs to be rolled.
1. Restaurant Unstoppable
Eric Cacciatore started Restaurant Unstoppable to "empower independent restaurant owners/operators with the tools, knowledge, and attitude to happily and successfully live out their purpose and passion.” On the show, he talks about habits that can help you be successful in the restaurant business, and mistakes to avoid. He interviews a wide range of guests, from kitchen product marketing experts and authors to branding experts and award-winning chefs.
Start with this great episode featuring Lisa Astorga-Watel of Bite and Bistr09.
2. Copper & Heat
This fantastic restaurant podcast, hosted by Katy Osuna and Ricardo Osuna, dives deep into the longstanding issues that plague the restaurant industry, including gender and racial inequality, pay inequity, and mental health in the industry. It's worth a listen for anyone looking to make their restaurant a better place to work. They won a James Beard award in 2019 for their outstanding reporting, and it's easy to see why.
Previous guests include Matthew Torres, Tsehaitu Abye, Preeti Mistry, Reem Assil, Jenny Dorsey, Dr. Erinn Tucker, Adan Callsen, Irene Li, and Erin Wade.
Start with this great episode on Privilege and Bias with Chef Jenny Dorsey, Dr. Erinn Tucker, and Adan Callsen.
3. All in the Industry
This show is part of the Heritage Radio Network, a Brooklyn-based radio station that broadcasts 35 different food radio shows. All in the Industry is hosted by Shari Beyer, and it’s composed of conversations with “behind-the-scenes talents in the hospitality industry,” including chefs, restaurant lawyers, food journalists, and more.
Start with this great episode featuring Michael Anthony and Miro Uskokovic of Gramercy Tavern.
4. The Garnish
We couldn't go without mentioning our own podcast. The Garnish brings you stories and advice from restaurateurs, managers, chefs, servers, cooks, and everyone else who powers the restaurant industry. We re-launched the podcast in April 2019 and the format changes from episode to episode: some episodes weave together multiple interviews on one subject, and others are quick interviews with one guest. They range in length from 15-40 minutes, and cover topics like being a parent in the restaurant industry, addiction in restaurants, and how to retain your staff.
Previous guests include Danny Meyer, Ming Tsai, Joanne Chang, Erin Wade, among many others.
Start with this great episode on being a parent in the restaurant industry, featuring three moms — a sous chef, a pastry chef, and a GM — and two dads — a chef/owner, and a GM.
5. The Resilient Restaurant by MarketMan
This show, kicked off during the COVID pandemic, focuses on the ways restaurants have gotten creative and made it through this enormously challenging year. Listen for stories of innovation and quick changes that led restaurant operators to get their businesses through COVID, plus actionable advice for your business.
Start with this great episode featuring Cary Mosier of Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre.
6. Secret Sauce - Restaurant Marketing Podcast
Restaurant marketing is no easy task, and Secret Sauce has made it their mission to help you get noticed by new guests. If you need a refresher on SEO, email marketing, Facebook ads, and partnerships, check it out. They take a complicated part of restaurant management and making it accessible and fun.
Start with this great episode on menu engineering.
Looking to add to your reading list? These books on management and restaurant life share techniques and insights from other owners, chefs, and managers.
7. Opening Soon
Opening Soon is also part of the Heritage Radio Network. This podcast covers — as you might have guessed — the journey of opening a restaurant. They’ve interviewed Chef Sean Brock on wellness in the industry, Camilla Marcus on raising funds, and Chef Ed Lee and Linsdey Ofcacek on mentoring the next generation of chefs, to name a few.
Start with this great episode with Chef Ed Lee and Lindsey Ofcacek.
8. Right at the Fork
Cort Johnson & Chris Angelus of Right at the Fork explore Portland, Oregon's food scene in a fun and informative way. They bring in guests that focus on things like no-tip service models, local ingredients, pop-ups, and more.
Start with this great episode with Kristen Murray of MÅURICE.
9. Smart Pizza Marketing
Bruce Irving hosts the weekly Smart Pizza Marketing podcast where he interviews some of the most successful pizzeria owners and operations. Irving, a top marketing consultant and former pizzeria owner, interviews his guests to learn about how they spread the word about their pizza restaurants, and how they stand out from the crowd.
Start with this great episode featuring instagram expert Sue B. Zimmerman.
10. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast
Jeremy Julian and Ryan Williams cover trade shows, POS systems, scheduling apps, marketing, social media, mobile payment, EVG, and much more in this podcast about everything to do with restaurant tech.
Start with this great episode on loyalty programs.
11. A Deeper Dive by Restaurant Business Magazine
On A Deeper Dive, Jonathan Maze, executive editor of Restaurant Business Magazine, interviews the CEOs of the country’s biggest chain restaurants, as well CEOs of smaller, more local chains. They cover trends like delivery for small businesses, plant-based menu items, and discounting.
Start with this great episode on Blaze Pizza.
These are only a few of the outstanding restaurant podcasts that are out there, but they're all definitely worth a listen. Each one has a distinct voice, and focuses on different areas of the restaurant business, so you're sure to find something that speaks to you.