439: Get out of your comfort zone with Lauren Culley and Jeff Excell

In this episode with Jeff Excell and Lauren Culley, we discuss:

  • Chasing happy.
  • Living with the intent to learn and grow.
  • Being mindful of being a “jerk barista”.
  • Focusing less on the product and more on the people purchasing the product.
  • Asking for what you want.
  • Creating a culture of teamwork and pride in your work.
  • How to get
  • FOH and BOH to work together.
  • Setting the professional standard.
  • Creating a feeling of ownership for your team.
  • Keeping a visual catalog of design.
  • How to approach investors.
  • Staying lean, and growing slowly.
  • Building your team and growing internally.
  • Letting your customers decide what your restaurant becomes.
  • knowing you can’t please everyone.

After experiencing a life altering moment while eating bread at a NYC flea market, Lauren Culley fell in love with baking as a volunteer. She would eventually leave her cushy desk job in editing to pursue baking. It was also around this time she met Partner, Jeff Excell. While in NY the Duo realized that wanted to bring the NY Cafe experience back to Columbus, OH. In 2014, along with Excell, they recreated that experience with Fox in the Snow Cafe. 4 years later they’ve grown the operation to 2 locations and a third on the horizon.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Know the difference of being out of your comfort zone and in over your head.” -Lauren Cully

“Just keep going.” -Jeff Excell

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Knowledge bombs

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

    • Jeff
      • Determination.
    • Lauren
      • Confidence in her vision.
      • Teaching herself how to do things.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Jeff
      • Seeing end product.
    • Lauren
      • Minutiae.
  3. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • Look for people who are passionate about your brand.
    • Hire people who are going to lift you up.
    • Look for genuine people.
  4. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • The strategy of expansion.
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

    • Be genuine.
    • Say hello and acknowledge everyone, not just when they’re walking through the door.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

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

  8. Share an online resource or tool.

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

  10. If you got the news that you’d be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?

    • do the thing you want to do. Make it happen.
    • Always chase happy.
    • Share the experience.

Contact Info


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 Jeff Excell and Lauren Culley for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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