Why and How to Surround Yourself with Restaurant Mentors

By: Eric Cacciatore

5 Minute Read

Mar 28, 2018

Restaurant Mentors

restaurant mentors

At the time I'm writing this, I’ve published over 237 episodes at Restaurant Unstoppable, a podcast consisting of interviews with the most well-known names in the restaurant industry.

The purpose of these interviews is to uncover exactly what it takes to be successful in the restaurant industry. I hope that by sharing these findings I will be able to help those, who like me, have dreams of someday becoming a fantastic restaurateur.

By far, one of the most common characteristics I’ve seen in successful restaurateurs I’ve interviewed is collaboration. They’ve climbed to the top by riding on the backs of other successful restaurateurs. They’ve learned from others’ mistakes.

Too often, people open a restaurant and fail because they don’t have adequate experience or a realistic perception of what it takes to be successful, or at the very least, stay in business.

How a Restaurant Mentor Can Improve Your Business

  • They have experience opening restaurants and they can help make the process easier for you.
  • They can steer you away from making the same mistakes they made in the past.
  • They know people. In this industry, you’re only as good as your team. It’s not what you know; it’s who you know and who you surround yourself with. A mentor can help surround you with the right people.
  • They help with brand association. If you go to a bank looking for money and they see you’ve worked with other successful restaurateurs, they’ll be that more confident in their decision to back your restaurant.
  • They could become future business partners, fronting the cash you’ll need to get started.
  • They will teach you so much. You will be learning every moment of your life, as long as you make it a point to show up looking to learn. Learning from another successful restaurateur is the equivalent to a paid education.

How to Find Restaurant Mentors and Restaurant Consultants

1. Determine your unique offer.

Gary Vaynerchuck in his book Ask Gary Vee says to not approach a mentor looking for something. Instead, approach prospective mentors with a unique offer. Ask, “What can I provide them?”

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What can I offer a successful restaurateur that they don’t already know or have?” The answer to that question is: more than you may think.

More than you may realize and faster than ever before, the world we live in and the industry we work in is changing. Restaurateurs are people who work 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. Is it really so hard to believe it can be a struggle to keep up with restaurant operations?

Maybe you minored in accounting, information technology, marketing, multimedia, web design, or human relations; all of these fields are becoming increasingly important as the restaurant industry evolves and becomes more competitive. Offer your unique skill in exchange for advice.

2. Find restaurant mentors where they are: at work.

Spend time researching and discovering the most impressive restaurant professionals in your community. Don’t skimp on this process;really search and find people who have similar core values, serve food that really gets you excited, and have missions that truly resonate with you.

If you take the time to do this, you’ll find that it will be easier to go to work and freakin’ BRING IT! It will make impressing those who can help you grow so much easier.

"Be intentional about where you work. This is YOUR restaurant career we're talking about."
- Eric Cacciatore


Once you’ve discovered the restaurant in your community that excites you the most, apply for a job. Are they not hiring? Offer to work for free, and bust your ass harder than you’ve ever busted it before. Watch how fast a job opens up for you.

In his book Built to Lead David Long shares that successful people create duplicates or back-ups. Think of a shark’s mouth. They have rows of teeth. If they lose a tooth another one pops up behind it. Make it your goal to be the backup for every position that is higher than you. Before you know it, you’ll be the owners’ backup, and they’ll be sharing everything they know with you, because they’ll know your success will mean their success.

You’re the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with.

3. Approach restaurant consultants online.

Today, there is more knowledge and content being shared than ever before. Many times, this knowledge comes straight from the source. Surround yourself with tips from these incredible restaurateurs by reading or listening to their books, blogs,or podcasts. In essence, all a mentor does is share their knowledge and coach you in your life.

Here are a few restaurant consultants who share their knowledge for free on their platforms (and at Restaurant Unstoppable):

Surround yourself with their content and you will become like them.


As always, if you have a little dough you’re willing to spend, you may be able to get more out of your restaurant mentorship by investing in a coach.

Today, there are even virtually coaches. Check out Roger Beaudoin’ s Restaurant Rockstars, Anthony Rudolph’s Journee or The up and coming Typsy, where for a small price you can surround yourself with the advice from industry experts at your at your beckoning through modules and webinars.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to surround yourself with greatness. You and only you can make it happen.


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