643: Damian Mandola on Attention to Detail

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Damian's 40+ years of experience started with "Damian's Fine Italian Food"- a restaurant he started as a college senior in 1975. Damian's experience took him from his first restaurant to becoming a fixture in the Houston restaurant scene, first with D'Amico's, then Damian's Cucina Italiana, then to the national scene with Carrabba's; a restaurant he founded with nephew Johnny Carrabba. Moving to the Austin area, the Mandola's have promoted Italian culture and cuisine in Texas by opening Mandola's Italian Kitchen and Trattoria Lisina, totaling 4 locations.

Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra:
  • "It's all about the details, respect, and having fun."

In this episode with Damian Mandola we will discuss:

  • The Texas restaurant scene in the 1970s
  • The benefits of going outside your comfort zone
  • The importance of "talking shop" with other restauranteurs
  • Passion
  • "setting the table"
  • The importance of a soft opening
  • Scaling and franchising
  • Be your brand
  • The importance of a good contract
  • Licensing agreements
  • Research your partners before getting involved and making deals
Today's sponsor:

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Attention to detail
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Eating pasta!
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Are you friendly? You can tell as soon as they walk in
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • "Getting around to all of my restaurants."
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Be honest, don't be fake. Have respect for your customers.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Prebus tables. Polish glasses.
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Gert to know your customers
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
  10. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?
    • Work hard
    • Be friendly
    • Respect your industry
Contact info:

dmandola@mandolas.com

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Damian Mandola for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!

Restaurant Unstoppable is a free podcast. One of the ways I'm able to make it free is by earning a commission when sharing certain products with you. I've made it a core value to only share tools, resources, and services my guest mentors have recommend, first. If you're finding value in my podcast, please use my links!

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