278: Why Leading Starts With Listening with Chef Jay McCarthy



Chef Jay McCarthy was born in New York and raised in Jamaica. Always accelerating in math and science he found himself at Texas A and M where he studied Aerospace Engineering. Somewhere along the line cooking became his life.
McCarthy has traveled to numerous countries offering insights to chefs and sharing ideas as a consultant for the Texas Beef Council, the Nebraska Beef Council, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. He spends much of his time consulting, teaching, and lecturing overseas as well as domestically. Most recently McCarthy filled the position of Corporate Chef for all Group970’s restaurants, located in Colorado’s Vail Valley.

Show notes…


Today’s Sponsor

Hospitality Tips From the World's Best

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“A successful man is one who can lay a strong foundation with the bricks that have been thrown at him.”

Career Challenge or Failure

“I got into a situation where there was a really cool restaurant, and I wanted to work there. There were some financial difficulties going on that I didn’t know about when I went into the situation. Within a month or two, even though the restaurant was doing well, there weren’t enough funds to provide paychecks for people. My biggest failure was not asking questions, or digging deeper into the situation before getting involved.”

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    Unbiased listening to people and what they are really saying.

  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    Not saying “no”.

  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    Understanding and listening to what motivates others. If you can find that out- you can encourage that and essentially play to that.

  4. Whats one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview? 

    What drives them. What are your motivations? What gets you excited?

  5. Whats a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    Things are moving really fast. Painting the perfect job, whether it’s for them or for you. Trying to figure out what get people excited, and how it applies to their job.

  6. Whats one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    We hire smiles, and we train them to be really amazing at hospitality. We focus on training and coaching.

  7. Whats one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

    The Gift by Lewis Hyde

Twinkie, Deconstructed  by  Steve Ettlinger

 The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande


8. Whats one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

HotSchedules– Includes our flagship scheduling software – the POS-integrated employee scheduling, forecasting and messaging tool that allows you to build your schedule using sales data straight from your POS system. Schedule creation is streamlined through templates and our auto-scheduler, and any updates are pushed back into the schedule automatically, with manager approval. Managers and team members can easily communicate about the schedule and other important store messages using HotSchedules mobile apps. Additional manager level communication is facilitated using the Digital Logbook.


9. 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? 

Remember that life is fluid, change is inevitable, be the water going around the rocks, not trying to knock them down. Realize that sometimes those setbacks are there for a reason!

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

What supercharges your passion? What supercharges my passion is learning and growing. I want to know the science behind things and research a lot of statements.

Contact Info

Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Jay McCarthy for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!