300: Treat it like you own it with Chef John Toulze

In this episode Chef John Toulze discusses: Worth ethic; having an infectious positive energy; treat a business like a business from day 1; why you should treat the business like you own it, even if you don’t; embracing technology; listening to your restaurant; putting your ego aside; and being authentic.

Chef Toulze started his career in hospitality at Viansa Winery in Sonoma in 1994. After several years of cooking and wine sales, John left Viansa winery to help Sondra Bernstein open The Girl & The Fig restaurant in Glen Ellen. Twenty years later, John is not only the Executive Chef but also the Managing Partner. John has been critical to the opening of the original restaurants and every project that followed.

Show notes…

petelicatapodcast300x250Today’s Sponsor


Hospitality courses from the world’s best. Find short courses. Skill up. Become an expert.


Over 45,000 independent operators since 1998 have joined RestaurantOwner.com to improve their business skills, leadership capabilities and implement effective systems in their restaurant.

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Work harder than everybody you know.”

Career Challenge or Failure

Early on John struggled with letting go of his ego and empowering those he was then leading. Ultimately, he was afraid of being replaced when in reality, we should have the mentality of trying to replace ourselves.

Knowledge bombs

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

    • Hard work.
    • intention to succeed
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Not knowling his limits.  Over comitting. Over schedule
    • use a list. know you limitations
  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    • be yourself.
    • Be authentic
  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • Ask “If I don’t hire you, what are the two reason I’m going to regret not highing you?”
  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • How and where to grow their business.
    • How do alocate their resources  during the growth period.
    • If you’re experiencing this challenge, John recommends that we refer back to our original vision and mission. Ask yourself, “Do these new opportunities your encountering align with your original mission? “
  6. What’s one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    • Casual, warm, authentic, confident service
  7. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

    Danny Meyer: Setting the Table : The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

    Salt: A World History

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

    • Avero Slingshot– Avero software has powerful restaurant solutions that improve profitability and the guest experience. Our restaurant management software is tailored to the way you work. Whether you are on the floor, in the kitchen or on the go, our industry-leading restaurant analytics software provides you valuable insights so you can make better decisions for your restaurant or enterprise.
    • Evernote– Collect, nurture, and share ideas across desktop and mobile platforms with Evernote. Your thoughts are always with you, always accessible, always in sync.
    • Momentum Chrome DashboardReplace new tab page with a personal dashboard featuring todo, weather, and inspiration.
  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?

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

  • Be ready to answer that question 😉

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!

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 John Toulze for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!