Part 1: Keys to Running a Successful Restaurant | Jody Palubiski | AQ’s Blog and Grill

Part 1: Keys to Running a Successful Restaurant | Jody Palubiski | AQ’s Blog and Grill


Announcer: AQ’s Blog and Grill. Alan: Hi, everybody, and welcome to AQ’s Blog
and Grill. We’re really excited today to have Jody Palubiski
here. He is the managing partner of the Charcoal Group, which
has an incredible array of brands working in the
same market, which I think is such an interesting story as both
a branding story, as an entrepreneurship story, and as a customer
experience story. So Jody, how did you get into the restaurant
business? What was the start for you? Jody: I started when I was 14, in the kitchen.
Worked my way through, built some great relationships
early on. I’ve always been a pretty hard-working guy, so
people took notice, and they brought me into conversations,
included me in things where I was a bit of a fly on the wall for decision-making.
And it really fueled the fire for me. And then, as I was more and more exposed to
it, the restaurant business, to me, is not just about
food, table service, and all the other things. There’s
a whole creative element to it. Alan: Right. Jody: I work with so many creative people,
and so many… I get to do so many things in a given day
that it’s wonderful. It’s amazing. Alan: At the end of the working week, what
is it that Jody thinks about that makes him happy? What is
it that was an accomplishment that week that stands
out in your mind? Jody: Most of it’s about relationships. Alan: Okay. Jody: You know, it depends where you’re at.
I still, sometimes in my position, it can be a relationship
with a designer, or a relationship with a chef, or
a relationship with someone… a brand guardian. Alan: Mm-hmm. Jody: But the most… you may have a certain
win, or a certain triumph that week, in coming up with
the best idea, or feeling as though you did something
great. But still, in our industry, or for me, getting
into a restaurant and talking with a guest face-to-face, getting an opportunity
to have a bit of a moment of truth, perhaps… Alan: There you go. Jody: …is what reminds you of why you did
it in the first place. And have people walk away thinking
you’re very good at what you do. I think that’s probably the
most rewarding. And sometimes you have to remind
yourself that that’s why you’re there, because you can get caught up in the
minutia, and the to-do lists, and all the other things. Alan: Sure. Jody: But to get back into the restaurants,
get face-to- face with our guests, talk to them, get their
feedback. That’s the best part for me. Alan: You’ve got several different brands
or themed restaurants. Jody: Yeah. Alan: Or entertainment centers. Jody: Right. Alan: Like, can you run us through the ones
that you’ve got in the Charcoal Group? Jody: Well, as a group, we started with the
Charcoal Steakhouse. Alan: Mm-hmm. Jody: A little over 60 years ago. Alan: Yeah. Jody: So the Charcoal grew over those years.
But the same principles we talk about now, building relationships
with the community and with the guests, and being
there. Trying constantly… you know, constantly, never-ending
improvements. You celebrate for a few minutes, and then
you start worrying about the next thing. And so
that’s been kind of the foundation of the entire company. So we also have Martini’s in there, which
is approximately 120 seats. An urban cosmopolitan bar and grill. Alan: Yup. Jody: DelDente, in the basement, which is
220 seats. It’s a great casual Italian restaurant. Alan: Yes, it is. Jody: And we also have [inaudible 00: 02:56]. Alan: Yeah. Jody: And [inaudible 00:02:59] is… it’s
a phenomenon, you know? To me, in family casual dining,
it is Disney World. And they’ve done a great job. So there’s
a [inaudible 00:03:06] in Kitchener, Bradford,
and Berry. Alan: Yup. Okay. Jody: And then approximately seven years ago,
we branched into Waterloo and opened up Wildcraft. Again,
it’s premium casual, kind of a fun, funky, sexy,
sophisticated… but it’s casual. It’s just what it is. Three years later, we ended up opening the
Bauer Kitchen. Alan: Right. Jody: And then we branched out. Wildcraft
developed the catering division, which is Wildcraft Wherever. Alan: Yup. Jody: Which we wanted to take that experience
and have a little bit of fun, and we thought there was
room in the market. Catering can deliver a more well-rounded
experience, rather than just drop off food. Alan: Yeah. Jody: And Bauer, we worked on the Bauer Bakery
Cafe, and Bauer Bakery Wholesale. We brought in some
fantastic bakers. And then we’ve gone into the beer town business. Announcer: AQ’s Blog and Grill.

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