362: Create a culture not a concept with Brett Schulman

Brett Schulman graduated from the Universtiy of Maryland College Park in 1995. He would go on to pursue a career in finance as an equity trader. After losing his passion for finance, Brett changed paths to help his wife run Snikiddy Snacks- a natural snack food company-as their COO. Brett found a new passion – changing the way people think about eating, the way they are eating, and their accessibility to fresh food. Not too long after, he discovered the full-service restaurant, Cava Mezzay. Fast forward almost a decade and Brett serves as CEO of Cava, which includes not only the full-service Cava Messay but also their rapidly growing fast format version of Cava Mezzay, and the line of consumer packaged goods.

In this episode we will discuss: Making a big change in your career. Feeling unfulfilled in your work and how to adjust that. Passion is the key to success in your work. If you’re not happy, it’s up to you to change your life/situation. making BIG transitions. Grocery industry vs. restaurant industry. Numbers. Marketing. Staying true to who you are during growth. CULTURE! Keep it simple. Labor costs. Real-estate. Maintaining culture during expansion.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

If it was that easy everyone would be doing it.



Today’s Sponsor


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Career Challenge or Failure

Opened a second location off “the beaten path” near a strip mall. We opened to very little business. We had to get out and advertise  and spread the word more so than we initially expected.

Knowledge bombs

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

    Persistence. Don’t let yourself fail.

  2. What is your biggest weakness?


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

    Emotional intelligence. It’s a people industry; you have to understand people.

  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    What is your favorite food memory? Give an example of how you helped someone in your life?

  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    How do you maintain your culture? How do you expand and still feel like a close-knit company. Team building events and recognition shoutouts help that issue.

  6. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

    Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

    The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits by Zeynep Ton

  7. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    In-house Digital Ordering Platform. Made By Many.

  8. 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

    The importance of building an amazing team around you.

  9. What is your why? Why do you do what you? What impact do you hope to make on this world?

    I want to be a productive contributor to my community. We want to improve out employees lives, our customers lives, and the environment.

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

    Where do we see ourselves in 5 years? Bringing Cava to more places all over the world.

Contact Info

Cava Website

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Brett Schulman for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!

1 thought on “362: Create a culture not a concept with Brett Schulman

  1. Hi Eric! LOVED episode 362 but don’t see the link to the shout out (previously a guest) in the show notes…could you please hook me up?

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