Andy Ricker – How to Build a Restaurant Empire

Pok Pok Portland Oregon

Pok Pok Chicken Wings

Restaurant entrepreneur Andy Ricker of Pok Pok fame, recently spoke on a Culintro panel titled “Expansion: Building a Restaurant Empire”.

You wake up in the morning wondering if today is the day you get your ass handed to you,” Ricker noted wryly. “The job is basically problem solving. It’s being able to grasp a whole lot of things happening at once.” That global vision is what makes a chef and restauranteur. “It’s not just cooking— you’ve got to know about electricity, basic engineering, and when something breaks, you can’t call someone because he’ll come three hours later and you need it fixed now.”

Another great quote,

Get it right from the beginning: In an era of trend-focused food media, Yelp and blogs, it’s crucial to start on the right foot. “You don’t have a lot of time to get it figured out,” said Ricker. “The critics are there right away, your rent is through the roof, and you have very little time to get your poop in a group.” Having strong media presence is great, but only if you have substance to back it up. “If you come in with a lot of PR and you suck, it’s even worse—it’s like you suck squared,” said Ricker.

Emphasis mine. As far as I’m concerned, if a restaurant opens with tons of PR, branding, etc., they had better be good, or I’m going to step up my review. Good reading for anyone thinking about opening a restaurant.

You can read the entire discussion here.

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