245: Know When You Don’t Know with Kim Bartmann


Restaurateur, Kim Bartmann, comes from a punk rock culture and supported herself through college by working in kitchens. Bartmann moved to Minneapolis in 1983 and would go on to open the Cafe Wyrd . Today, she currently operates eight restaurants which include: Pat’s Tap, Bryant Lake Bowl, Bread & Pickle, Tiny Diner, The Third Bird, Red Stag Supper Club, and Trapeze. Kim and her restaurants have taken countless accolades including James Beard Semi-Finalist Outstanding Restaurateur 2013 & 2015. In addition, Kim contributes to Women’s Chef and Restaurateurs, which exist to promote awareness around women chefs.

Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor


Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Fall 7 times. Get up 8.”


What’s Your Purpose, or Your “WHY”?

  • Loves food, people, and art. Loves creating places and experiences that bring people together.
  • Went into this business with the mission to create a culture where employees were treated well.
  • Always saw her restaurants as a place where people can come together.

Your “It” Factors

  • Values how people are treated.
  • Asks for help.
  • Kim knows what she doesn’t know and find someone who does know
  • Loves gathering information
  • Never stops learning.

Career Challenge or Failure

Kim was getting things in motion to open a new restaurant and was negotiating on her space. She never got her agreement in writing and the property went to someone else. Protect yourself and get agreements in writing! Get someone who is an expert like a real-estate broker or lawyer to look at the agreement.

Knowledge bombs

1. What advice do you have for funding a restaurant?

  • Don’t overspend. People over spend when opening a restaurant. Spend as little as possible.
  • Research crowdfunding options.
  • Don’t ruin relations with friends and family to open a restaurant. Go the traditional route of using banks first and family as a last resort.

2. Success is so dependent on your people. What’s your advice on hiring, managing and retaining people?

  • Put more importance on hiring than you think is necessary.
  • Step back and ask yourself,  “What is my business? What are my values? How do I want to portray my restaurant?” Then, ask yourself, “What kind of questions should I be asking interviewees to make sure they share the same values as your brand?”
  • Hire people who are naturally welcoming.

3. What are some current challenges or industry challenges you see coming?

  • The upcoming minimum wage.
  • To combat this challenges, Kim is focusing on her bottom line more than ever before.

4. How do you balance work and life?

  • Ask for help

5. Recommended book?

The E-Myth Revisted: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Servant LeadershipL A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness 25th Anniversary Edition 

CLICK  HERE to get a FREE audio version of this Book

6. Recommended tool or technology?

Schedulefly– A simple & fun way for restaurants to schedule staff, communicate and get organized online. Used by thousands of successful independent restaurants.

Hotschedules delivers solutions for employee scheduling software, talent sourcing, eLearning, back office, shift and task management and platform as a service.

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?

Have more confidence that you can learn the things you don’t know enough about.

8. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?

Who was your personal mentors? What did you learn from them?


Contact Info

Twitter: KimBartman

email: KB@barbette.com

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 Kim Bartmann for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!