227: Stephen Beckta | Do Less & Coach More


5X5_photoVanBeek_Beckta_400x400Ottawa Native, Stephen Beckta graduated with honors from Algonquin College’s Sommelier program. After completion, Stephen departed Ottawa to hone his skills in New York City for four years with the top players in the restaurant industry. While in New York he worked for Cafe Boulud and Eleven Madison Park before returning to his native city. Today, Stephen Beckta is the proprietor of Beckta, one of Canada’s premier fine dining restaurants, along with the critically acclaimed, small-plates Play Food & Wine, located in the historic Byward Market, along with the upscale neighborhood restaurant Gezellig in Westboro.

Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor

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Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and then you get the courage afterward.”

Whats Your Purpose, or Your “WHY”?

“To create a culture of caring that permeates beyond their walls.”

Your “It” Factors

  • Trusting his gut.
  • Resilience.
  • The ability to bounce back after failure.

Career Challenge or Failure

  • Beckta got fired from a job because he struggled with what mattered to that company: culture. He was too focused on profit.
  • Culture always trumps profit.

Knowledge bombs

1. What advice do you have for funding a restaurant?

  • Have courage, and don’t be afraid to ask for money.
  • Crowd source; the old school way. Get a lot of people to make small contributions.
  • Be conservative in your numbers so you can exceed expectations.
  • Open with at least 20% operation capital.

2. Success is so dependent on your people. What’s your advice on hiring, managing, and retaining people?

  • Hire for empathy; people who are aware of how other people feel.
  • Hire people who care.
  • Hire people who are engaging.
  • Become the restaurant people want to work in.

3. What are some current challenges or industry challenges you see coming?

  • Dealing with a market that is more competitive than ever before. You need to evolve and challenge the status quo weekly. You have to stay fresh.

4. How do you balance work and life?

  • Tackle the most important things in life first and don’t quit until it’s done. Then focus on the little things.

5. Recommended book?

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom

Empires of the Mind: Lessons To Lead And Succeed in A Knowledge-Based World

CLICK  HERE to get a FREE audio version of this Book

6. Recommended tool or technology?

  • Google. Simply google your guest’s name.
  • Rez Plus- provides the restaurant with its own direct online reservation system, plus its own customer loyalty program, plus its own gift certificate program,

7. With all the knowledge you have now if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, What would it be and why?

Do less– coach more.

8. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?

Q: Who is your mentor and what have they taught you recently?

A: Richard Crane: You can do anything you want, but you can’t does everything.

Contact Info


Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Stephen Beckta for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!