Dinner Lab Founder: Email Sucks and Other Advice on Building Company Culture

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Building a tight-knit team, as opposed to herding a collection of employees, is critical for any entrepreneur trying to get a startup launched and running. But if your team is spread out across 19 different cities coast to coast, creating a unified staff requires a whole new level of strategic cleverness.  

“Email is a terrible way to communicate with people, especially if you are trying to drive culture,” says Brian Bordainick, the founder of New Orleans-based pop-up meal experience Dinner Lab. “Reading a manifesto from the CEO about culture is not the best way to experience that if you are a couple thousand miles away.”

What started in Bordainick’s basement in the Big Easy has become a fast-growing, venture-backed company that hosts as many as 150 meals a year in each city. Bordainick staffed up quickly. At one time, he was hiring a new employee every five days. Currently, he has 56 full-time employees and another 20 part-time servers and bartenders in each of the cities where Dinner Lab operates.

To keep his sprawling army of employees working toward the same mission, Bordainick brings entire city staffs to the home office as often as possible. He also has employees visit employees in other cities to get to know one another and learn other ways of operating.

Watch this video to learn more about how Bordainick keeps his far-flung employees working as one while encouraging them to think on their own two feet.


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Edition: July 2017

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