“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”
Perhaps you agree with the philosophy of “standing on the should of giants.” It’s reviewing and internalizing what those before you have done, and building upon their success.
For me, this philosophy has propelled my success in life & business more than imaginable. The trick I found is to be intentional about finding role models, evaluating their steps (and often missteps), and finding a way to build upon their success immediately.
After interviewing all of the incredible individuals below for Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine, I’ve compiled their “recipes for success” for becoming a successful culinary entrepreneur.
Evaluate their words and find a way to implement just one piece of advice today, and watch the domino effect of positive change take shape!
1. Chris Hill
It’s about knowing yourself & having a strong sense of self-awareness. You have to know yourself and then build a brand around yourself.
Next, being resilient and give it all you’ve got along the way. Keep going until you feel like it’s not working or until you can’t do it anymore. And even then, keep going. Keep giving it everything, every day. Make sacrifices along the way and do what you can to make it work.
2. Ferdinand Metz
Certified Master Chef & Founder of Master Chef Institute
You must have an idea that you truly believe brings a benefit to the table or an advantage that nobody else has done before, or at least that you’re not aware. Just doing the “same old” is not going to cut it. And to follow up, you must execute.
The second thing is to have working capital because you’re going to run out of money very soon. Make sure you have enough savings to sustain whatever the size of the operation is, whether a one-man operation or five. I would say make sure you can sustain for a year.
See, if you don’t have that (capital) in a start-up venture, things can go wrong very quickly. Your success is from building up new customers or clients, and so often everything depends on a lot of things going right, but they don’t always do.
You better be prepared to have at least six months, but I say a year, of working capital to sustain things. It will help you focus on building the business, rather than having to compromise from the very beginning.
3. Jamil Bouchareb
Founder & CEO of Restaurantware
Realistically, to become a successful entrepreneur you have to be willing to put the company before anything.
Whatever it takes to get it off the ground, you’ve got to get it off the ground. You have to be resourceful in the beginning to make it work because it’s not easy.
It’s that moment of inertia that you have to get past in order for the ball to really start rolling.
4. Pasquale Cozzolino
Founder of Ribalta Pizza & Originator of #PizzaDiet
A deep knowledge of the market in which you want to rock is the key. Every country is different, keep that in mind. Product availability is also essential. Buying is more important than selling especially when talking about prime quality products.
Creating a positive environment, being surrounded by faithful people and acting for passion before then for business. Moreover, give consistency to your best clients and let them feel comfortable enough to come back.
5. Candy Wallace
Founder & Executive Director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association
I give myself 15 minutes every single morning where I just meditate and open myself up to the universe and the world.
I have the most beautiful garden in the world. I live on the lip of a canyon, and I have hawks and hummingbirds, and I sit up there every single morning for 15 minutes alone and just allow my mind to wander and to experience.
If you keep yourself open and you allow yourself to be centered a lot is going to come to you. A lot of inspiration and creativity, because it’s time for yourself to recreate yourself literally.
Folks who meditate and folks who allow themselves creative time without any kind of interruptions, I’m convinced are capable of more creative thoughts and more rational decisions because they’re not jangled.
They’re not going from alarm clock in the morning to throwing down a cup of coffee to dashing out the door to being 10 minutes late and playing catch up the rest of their day.
6. Eric Cacciatore
Founder & Host of Restaurant Unstoppable
I think the biggest lesson for any entrepreneur, is if you have an idea, it’s not going to happen on its own, you’ve got to pull the trigger.
I think one of the sayings I would repeat to myself was, “Ready, fire, aim,” which is just pull the trigger, take a shot, and then re-adjust, and then re-adjust again, and eventually you’ll hit the bulls-eye.
Another saying for me is, “There ain’t nothing to it but to do it.” It’s kind of a little chant I’ll say to myself in my head. If I’m on hour 80 of my work week, and I’ve got to do editing because I’ve only published one episode from my weekly quota of two episodes, I’ll say to myself, “There ain’t nothing to it but to do it,” and I just pull the trigger. Because once you start, you start developing that momentum and it’s much easier than you would think. You spend more energy thinking about not wanting to do something and putting it off, than if you were just to start and get it going.
7. Matt Tortora
Founder & CEO of Crave Food Services
It’s really about problem solving and perception; those two things. Truly understanding a problem and thinking you understand are very different. To truly understand something, you must be able to think outside of your individual perspective.
I think to be a good entrepreneur, whether you are running an ice cream shop or a tech company, it’s really having the capability to wrap your arms around the problem and understand how to innovate towards a solution.
Make the most of the resources around you, and be a good communicator. Maintaining good communication and keeping track of things can go a long way at the end of the day. Ultimately, always remember, tomorrow is the ONLY day as important as today, and the only easy day, was yesterday.
8. Chad Minton
Founder of TrueCooks
Equal parts of the following . . .
Create Original idea. Even if it’s super good and everyone loves it, stay humble. Dedicate yourself to the project and sacrifice everything you have. Treat everyone with integrity. Be patient but not too patient! Good things come to those that work their ass off every day, not necessarily those who wait. Repeat as necessary.
9. Reimund Pitz
Chef Owner of Le Coq au Vin & WACS Master Chef
The recipe for success is having a clear vision, have a clear understanding of what that vision is, have a check and balance system in place.
I don’t buy into “ideas,” I buy into a vision. People come up with all kinds of ideas, 99.9% of the time they fail. If you have a vision, it requires planning to get there.
Once you have a vision, you then need a plan to get to that vision, to see that vision succeed. You treat this as a responsibility. To me, number one, my family and ultimately my name to make sure that vision becomes a reality, that’s my responsibility.
When you have a plan, you need an implementation process with checks and balances. Make sure the food or service that you’ve selected or offer is of high value to the customer, high quality. Make sure things are executed consistently on a daily basis whether you’re there or not.
10. Susan Bourgoin
Founder of VisualCuisines & PickFoodStock.Com
Some of the best advice I ever got was from a photography professor at Daytona State College named Don Brunning. He said, “Wake up every morning and even if you don’t have a job, you go to work, and you work. You make something happen every single day.”
I have lived by that advice, even in slow times. Every day I get up and go to work, regardless if I’m booked on a shoot or not.
11. Louis Perrotte
American Academy of Chefs Hall of Fame & 2-Time Chef Owner
You only need to know enough to get started. You will always be learning in life. Don’t try to learn it all before you begin.
Experience is important but people have a tendency to learn too much. For most people, once they know their goal and they have a basic level of experience, they can go for it.
And what you find is you learn more from mistakes. I learned much more from mistakes than my successes.
12. Hari Pulapaka
Chef Owner of Cress Restaurant
A “recipe for success” would be to have a timeframe to success.
Also, understand the industry standard for what makes it successful, like understanding what the food costs should be, understanding what labor costs should be, and other industry standards like that. Always try to match them, sometimes even better them.
Don’t get too greedy. Be honest. If you’re in the hospitality industry, be hospitable, be honest. Be a learner and be educated.
Passion is great, and it sounds good, but we also get tired, the body gets tired, so passion alone can’t drive you. It’s more dedication than passion. Passion and dedication together will usually lead to good things.