175: Charles Lew | From Courtrooms to Kitchens

Charles LewIn this episode we’ll discuss: the satisfaction of witnessing positive guest experiences; how to manage multiple projects at once; the importance of getting people to buy into you and your vision; how to create trends instead of chasing trends; why its important to protect yourself with contracts; getting the initial capital to get started; and how body language can market your restaurant.

Charles Lew, a Scotland native, got his start in the restaurant industry as a fry cook at Long John Silver. Throughout college and while studying for his bar exam, Charles worked in all parts of the restaurant and hospitality industry. Today, Charles owns and operates 4 Stout Burgers and Beers locations, Bobby London, Gasser Lounge, Boomtown Brewery, Morrison and currently developing Trevous Tacos, Fred’s Chicken and Biscuit, and Third Wave Coffee with Metta World Peace.

Charles consults on numerous restaurant and lounge projects throughout California and is recognized as one of the city’s leading experts on restaurant operations as well as licensing, permitting, and zoning of hospitality venues.

Show notes…

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Success or Leadership Quote/Mantra

“You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life, but it aint about how hard you can hit, its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.”

What is your “why”?

  • To Witness the silent satisfaction of positive guest experiences and happy guest.

It” Factor

  • Charles is talented at foreseeing markets and being the first to market with concepts. He contributes this attribute to his creativity and craziness.
  • Managing multiple projects at once.
  • Creating the perception that he’s greater than he is. Not to say he isn’t great ;-). He can sell himself and his thoughts to others. He gets people onboard the Lew train.
  • The willingness to take bold, massive risks.

Industry Challenge or Failure

  • Charles threw everything he had into his first restaurant, a next generation sports bar.
  • He found out that his sub-landlord was never forwarding the rent to the head landlord. They ended up being a year behind on rent, and there was nothing they could do to get out of the hole.
  • His biggest takeaway was that you need to get back up no matter how hard life hit you. No matter what, the best thing you can do is look to the future.
  • Another take way is to protect yourself with documenting your agreements. Don’t over lawyer, but protect yourself with the appropriate documentation.

Knowledge BOMBS

Fundraising Advice

  • Take the low hanging fruit.
  • Take whatever money you can to get on the map. People never want to be the first to put money in. So, whatever you can take… take it, because more people will jump on board as the initial capital pours in. People need to see movement to get inspired.

Employee Hiring

  • Do the interviews yourself.
  • You need to have some type of impact and influence on the person being interviewed.
  • You need to find out the interviewee’s motivations, what they want, and if what they want is aligned with your business.

Employee Retainment

  • Loyalty, breads loyalty. If you want people to be loyal to you need to be loyal to them first. One of the best ways to show your loyalty is with good pay.

Industry Resource

The Compound Effect
The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary
Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable–Includes new bonus chapter

CLICK  HERE to get a FREE audio version of this Book

Advice on Marketing

  • Be conscious of your body language when you’re in the restaurant. The slightest things like how you hand someone an order has huge impacts on the guest experience.
  • Have an incredible product, with incredible branding, with incredible customers satisfaction, with incredible employment satisfaction. If you do that everything will fall in place.

Objective Product/Service Review Suggestion

  • Micros– point of sale software, and enterprise information system software for the retail and hospitality industries.
  • Restaurant Magic-Data Central’s restaurant software, created by Restaurant Magic helps to provide money saving solutions for all aspects of restaurant management.
  • Yelp- for customer experience information.
  • Google Calendar

Best Business Advice

  • Stop thinking about tomorrow and the next day, or even the next year. Start thinking 5 years out.

Question I should have asked?

  • Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Whats motivating that decision?
  • A: To figure out where you’re going to be, go into other restaurants that are crushing it and see what they’re doing. Then find a way to do what they’re doing even better.

Contact Info

Email: Charles@charleslew.com

Website: CharlesLew.com 

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