284: Why you need to just start with Joseph and Jenna Cuccia


In this episode, we discuss: why it is so important to just start; how the universe will present the path to success after you start; why you need to listen to your gut to find clarity in your mission and vision; and why it is ok to have an evolving vision.

Joseph and Jenna Cuccia are the brother and sister team behind 17 Summer Street, located in Lodi, New Jersey. Starting as a Catering company in 2012, 17 Summer street has scaled and evolved over time and now serves as a full-service restaurant which is garnering accolades from around the industry including Joseph’s recent accomplishment of being nominated as a semi-finalist for James Beard: Rising Star Chef Award.

Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor

Hospitality Tips From the World's Best (1)

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

Jenna:”Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart.”

Joseph: “The People who say the sky is the limit, never reach the stars.”

Career Challenge or Failure

Early on Jenna made the mistake of hiring anyone early on. She now knows the value of hiring people who fit the brand and who are in line with the core values, vision, and mission. She listens with her gut.

Knowledge bombs

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

    • Jenna: High level of emotional intelligence.
    • Joseph: Constant strive to improve.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Jenna: Letting the opinions of others get to her.
    • Joseph: Over thinking, losing control of emotion.
  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    1. Lead from the front
  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview? 

    • Ask the interviewee to sell you a pen. What you’re looking for is their ability to think critically and get creative, while being logical.
  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Adapting to outside factors like food cost and staffing demands. They’re dealing with it by just trying to be a little better every day.
  6. What’s one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    1. Delivering outstanding, authentic service.
    2. Making people feel like they are a part of something greater.
  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?

    1. MailChimp– Online email marketing solution to manage subscribers, send emails, and track results. Offers integrations with other programs.
  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?

    1. Don’t be so afraid. Don’t second guess. Just do it!
  10. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?

Q: Why do you love this industry?
A: It is in their soul.

Contact Info

Email 17summerrestaurant@gmail.com

Website: 17summerrestaurant.com

Instagram: @17summerrestaurant

Facebook /17summerrestaurant

Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Joseph and Jenna for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!