367: Great people in great systems with Chef Kyle Itani

In this episode, we discuss the value of finding a mentor, creating system depending restaurants, putting great people in system dependent restaurants, staying lean when opening your first restaurant, being a good listener, living to serve others, and the meaning of hospitality.

Kyle Itani spent most of his life around food being raised in a farming family. It wasn’t until he was in college, when trying to recreate what he was seeing on the food network channel, that he fell in love with cooking. Before long he would find his mentor, Showtaro Kamio and his interest in Japanese cuisine took off. Today He is the Chef/Owner of Hopscotch Restaurant,  Itani Ramen, and Thistle Meats– all of which are located in CA.


Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Learn something new every day. Every Day is a new day. Yesterday, you could have the best service of your life or the worst service. Either way, that day is out the window, because tonight there is a whole new set of customers coming in.”


Today’s Sponsor


Get a copy of the industries #1 selling marketing & promotional book Bar & Restaurant Success. This book reveals step by step marketing plans that will give you a competitive edge over your competition.



TerraSlatePaper makes replacing menus daily and weekly a thing of the past. This paper is water and rip proof!  This stuff is so tough and trusted its what the U.S. Military uses to print their maps and navigational charts on. Your menu is your most valuable marketing tool. Success is in the details. What are the details of your menu saying about you?

Knowledge bombs

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

    • compartmentalize and prioritize.
    • Move on .
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Taking on too much responsibility and commitments.
  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    • listen more. Let people talk.
  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • Ask: “What are you most excites about?”
  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Staffing is always a challenge.
    • Switching from counter service to table service.
  6. What’s one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

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

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

  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?

    • Engage and listen to everyone around you.

Contact Info








@kyleitani (TW/INSTA/FB)

@Scatch1rock  (INSTA)

@itaniramen (TW/INSTA/FB)

@thistlemeats (INSTA)


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!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for the Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Huge thanks to Chef Kyle Itani for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!