250: Hard Deadlines Changed My Life with John Kunkel


John KunkelIn the heart of Miami, restaurateur John Kunkel, founder of 50 Eggs, Inc., focuses his unwavering passion for food into a diverse group of culinary concepts. In just under two decades, Kunkel has built 50 Eggs into an award-winning restaurant group, demonstrating his talents with brand ideation, menu development and operational excellence for a broad range of hospitality concepts. Today, the group is composed of beloved restaurants Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, Swine Southern Table and Bar and Spring Chicken.

Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor

Hospitality Tips From the World's Best (1)

Success quote or Mantra

“Is the guy in the arena who counts; not the critic.”

Career Challenge or Failure

John opened a restaurant and gave it too little of his focus. Also, this new location wasn’t unique enough. You can’t open a restaurant without focus and you need a unique selling proposition.

In another situation, John opened an amazing restaurant, which even got nominated for James Beard “Best New Restaurant”, but they had to close because the rent was too high. He committed to $150/squared foot which equated to $1.2 million/year. Don’t create a situation for yourself where you end up working for your landlord.

Knowledge bombs

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

    • Always learning.
    • Always traveling and experiencing new experiences.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • His passion. Sometimes he’s too passionate.
  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    • Lead by example.
    • Create a great quality of life for your team.
  4. Whats one question or thing that you look for doing an interview? 

    • Ask the interviewee, “What do you want?”
  5. Whats a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Ramping up his team for growth.
    • They’re combating this challenge by getting super clear about who they are, and the type of people they want to hire.
  6. Whats one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    • Find great people who truly enjoy serving others.
  7. Whats one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?


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

    • Compeat– Restaurant Accounting, Inventory, Payroll and Workforce Management Software.
    • Avero- Uncover deep insights with Avero sophisticated restaurant analytics platform. Solutions to start selling more, reduce prime cost and drive sales from Avero.

Contact Info


Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to John Kunkel for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!