New Orleans native Alex Brennan-Martin grew up as a member of the nationally acclaimed Brennan’s restaurant family, which includes the renowned Commander’s Palace. He made Houston home in the early 1980s and took over the reins at Brennan’s of Houston, which was established in 1967. For the past 30+ years, he has upheld his mission of “creating dining memories” for his patrons, which has led to the continued success of Brennan’s of Houston. Among his many accolades, Brennan-Martin was named “Restaurateur of the Year” by My Table magazine, and he and his family were inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame, making them one of only three families to ever receive this prestigious leadership award.
Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.
“Couldn’t wait for success so I went on without it.”
“Business is like running up a hill every day. I’ll run up that hill with you. I’ll even chase you. I wont drag you.”
Your “It” Factors
- A sense of hospitality and service attitude from the day he was born
- Spending time with staff, helping them feel good about the work they do.
Career Challenge or Failure
Alex didn’t get an agreement in writing. Don’t ever take someone’s word for it. Protect yourself and get it in writing.
1. What advice do you have for funding a restaurant?
- Capitalize at least 50%.
- Be careful with partners. Have good partnership agreements in place.
2. Success is so dependent on your people. Whats your advice on hiring, managing and retaining people?
- Have a clear, concise vision of what your business is going to be about and work that into your hiring process. Only hire people who match your vision.
- Hire people who are friendly and warm.
3. What are some current challenges or industry challenges you see coming?
- Government mandates increase minimum wage.
4. How do you balance work and life?
- Love and enjoy your work and combined work with life.
5. Recommended book?
CLICK HERE to get a FREE audio version of this Book
6. Recommended tool or technology?
Outlook –Take control. Do more. Outlook is the free email and calendar service that helps you stay on top of what matters and get things done.
Compeat– the only provider of an end-to-end Restaurant Back Office Management and Accounting solution. Our end-to-end solution provides total control and perfect audit from the restaurant though the home office and from operations through finance. Compeat is also a web-enabled software solution that harnesses the power and flexibility of the internet. All information, from inventory receipt at the restaurant to the profit and loss statement at the company office, is always available, is always in balance, and resides in one common database.
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?
Alex would have told himself to take on more risk by partnering with outside entities.
8. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?
Thanks for Listening!
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Huge thanks to Alex Brennan-Martin for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!