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How Do You Start a Successful Restaurant? Obsess Over the Tiniest Details, Says This Entrepreneurial Chef. Chef Michael Mina discusses the importance of the guest experience, how he built a restaurant management company, and the importance of embracing tech.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • When it comes to hospitality, Michael Mina says success is in the details. He believes obsessing over even the smallest things translates into customers knowing they are cared for at his restaurants.
  • Starting a restaurant management company was a bit off the beaten path for Michael Mina at first. But leaning into his passion has allowed him to build a portfolio that includes over 30 restaurants.
  • It is hard to break out of your comfort zone and try new tech tools to run your business, but Mina says embracing new solutions, such as Toast, can be transformative.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to hospitality, Chef Michael Mina believes success is all in the details. The renowned restaurateur stands out in the culinary world for his exceptional cooking skills and his unwavering commitment to guest experience and innovative management. His philosophy centers on the belief that every detail matters and is evident to any customer who visits one of his MINA Group's establishments, including his restaurants inside of the San Francisco 49ers' Levi Stadium.

"At the end of the day, it's obsessing over every detail of the experience and knowing that it all starts with having a team," Mina told Restaurant Influencers host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media. "If people around you don't see that you're obsessed over making things better for the guest, they're not going to do it themselves."

Mina says a team's dedication to excellence can significantly impact the overall guest experience. The passion for meticulous attention to detail ensures that guests feel genuinely cared for.

Related: If You Want to Make Millions, Ditch Your Polished Pitch and 'Own Your Crazy' Says This Legendary Branding Guru

From chef to leader

Transitioning from chef to restaurant operator stemmed from a vision that extends beyond running individual restaurants. "I really enjoy this. I want to build a company to partner with hotels, casinos, with developers, and really be a management company," Mina explains. His strategy has allowed Mina to build a diverse management portfolio encompassing over 12 brands, such as Bourbon Steak and International Smoke.

In today's digital age, the integration of technology in the restaurant industry is crucial to growth.

It wasn't always easy to adapt to new tech, but Mina has learned to embrace this shift, recognizing the importance of adopting new solutions like Toast to enhance operations and guest experience.

Related: This Chef Fled a War-Torn Country as a Child. Now She's Helping Other Refugees Rebuild Their Lives.

"That was that first introduction for me as a chef to stop fighting the technology piece in my mind. And saying, 'It's here. It's here to stay,'" Mina recalls. "Now, I'm going to get better data on my guests. It's going to make it easier for my guests. It's going to be a better experience for them to learn about my restaurant, everything."

Recipe for success

Chef Michael Mina's success in the culinary world is a testament to his dedication to guest experience, innovative management, and willingness to embrace tech. His philosophy of obsessing over details, building strategic partnerships, and learning to leverage technological advancements has set a high standard in hospitality and restaurant management.

"If you're really passionate about what you do and you really want to continue to get better, I think you learn really quickly that the only way you're going to get better is by pushing yourself."

About Restaurant Influencers

Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point-of-sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Restaurant Influencers is also supported by Ovation. Learn how Ovation's Guest Feedback Platform actually drives revenue with actionable insights here.

Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

More from Restaurant Influencers

How Do You Start a Successful Restaurant? Obsess Over the Tiniest Details, Says This Entrepreneurial Chef.

The Scrappy Origin Story of Toast, the Game-Changing Restaurant Tech Company

If You Want to Make Millions, Ditch Your Polished Pitch and 'Own Your Crazy' Says This Legendary Branding Guru

This Chef Fled a War-Torn Country as a Child. Now She's Helping Other Refugees Rebuild Their Lives.

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