274: Finding Your Niche & Creating Positive, Impactful Relations with Ted Hawkins



Ted Hawkins got his start in hospitality working summers in various restaurants on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. Soon after graduating Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, Ted was hired at Chef Barbara Lynch’s Menton restaurant, as a kitchen server and quickly moved to a front server role. Over the next 4 years Ted climbed the ranks within the Barbra Lynch Gruppo to serve as Assistant General Manager of Lynch’s, No. 9 Park. Today, Ted serves SRV, a Coda Group restaurant, as the General Manager and Wine Director.

Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor

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Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Take the work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.” Take your ego out of it, there’s no job too small.

Career Challenge or Failure

When we were opening a restaurant we had some delays, but had a staff ready to go. We had to tell these staff members to hang in there, we want you went there, and a week went by- when I wasn’t as communicative with the staff about everything going on- because at that point they needed to hear my voice, and know what was going on. It was one of our biggest successes too- because someone told us “Hey, we need to hear from you”, and it was a huge eye opener, and it set the right tone for how we operate, and collaborate.

Knowledge bombs

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

    I say consistency, and consistency in making people feel comfortable in my presence. I like putting people at ease, and I genuinely enjoy people’s company.

  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    Organization. I think a lot of people in restaurants can deal with that at certain times. Google calendar is now my friend!

  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    Listening. Just listening to your staff will go a long way. It can go a long long way. Also, being humble, and honest.

  4. Whats one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview? 

    I want to know what makes them excited. I want to know what they are looking for, and what makes them tick. Learning about WHO the person is.

  5. Whats a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    Staffing. We are an amazing team, and I’m really proud of it- it’s a group of individuals that truly cares about SRV, so we are truly rich with our staff.

  6. Whats one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    We are really great at customizing- whether it’s a huge party or an intimate experience. We are a great Saturday restaurant, and we are also a great value menu during the week.

  7. Whats one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

    Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

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

    Reserve It has helped organize guests, their preferences and more about them. Rather than having filing cabinets for guests, we have moved into the 21st century.

  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?

    “I would have gotten started earlier, and done more. Especially in terms of beverage. I took a wine course at BU, and just nailed it. I would have utilized my time more.

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

    What is one thing that you would change about the restaurant industry? — The pay discrepancy between the front and back of house- it’s not a quick fix.

Contact Info



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Huge thanks to Ted Hawkins for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!