Why This Restaurateur Loves Confrontational Customers On this episode of "Restaurant Influencers," FB Society CEO Jack Gibbons discusses the relationship between profit and expansion, how to scale multi-million dollar restaurants, and why you need to embrace negative feedback.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • “Profit” Is Not a Four-Letter Word: Jack Gibbons is not shy about understanding that profit is necessary for expansion.
  • DNA: For a restaurant to go from idea to expansion, you need a strong foundation. For Jack Gibbons, he makes the brand DNA (Differentiation, Nuances, and Attitude) a priority.
  • Confrontation and Feedback: Direct feedback, even when it isn’t positive, is the most efficient path to improvement. Gibbons believes that restaurants can truly express how much they value the customer by accepting their comments and acknowledging areas of improvement.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Experience is everything.

That's the underlying belief of FB Society, a Dallas-based hospitality company operating numerous restaurant concepts that are intrinsically innovative and scalable. FB Society CEO Jack Gibbons' history of scaling unique restaurant concepts is marked by a pragmatic understanding that profit is not just desirable, but an essential element for expansion. He emphasizes that the decision to grow a restaurant must be earned through the establishment of a financially viable and culturally rich foundation.

FB Society knows a lot about building successful restaurant brands. The company developed, scaled, and sold the extremely popular Twin Peaks chain as well as Velvet Taco (of which they are still investors).

"Whether it's the culinary side or the experiential side, it's got to be something that you ask, 'why should it exist?'," the CEO said about developing new concepts. "Because the last thing the world needs is just another restaurant."

In this interview for Restaurant Influencers with Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media, Gibbons asserts: "If you don't build margin into your brand, you can't hire the best people, you can't buy the best products, you can't run great campaigns, and it gives you zero flexibility."

"The first thing is you just got to run one great restaurant and it's got to make sense financially."

D.N.A. stands for Differentiation, Nuances, Attitude

Jack Gibbons places a premium on a brand's D.N.A., which stands for Differentiation, Nuances, and Attitude.

This deliberate approach ensures that as the company expands, it retains its uniqueness and doesn't lose its soul.

Gibbons integrates the brand's DNA into every aspect of the business, sharing it with the team and incorporating it into training. He believes that decisions, even at the management level, should be aligned with the brand's fundamental D.N.A.

"We create a DNA that's actually written down on paper, and it's really the reason a brand should exist," articulates Gibbons. "We share the DNA with the team. We make it a big part of the training. We make it part of something you celebrate all the time."

In the realm of industry feedback, Gibbons adopts an uncommon perspective. He values confrontation and sees direct feedback, even when negative, as a requirement in order to improve.

Gibbons challenges the industry norm by publicly responding to every Yelp review, whether positive or negative, viewing it as an opportunity to show customers genuine appreciation and a commitment to continuous improvement.

This approach reflects his belief that embracing criticism is vital for the growth and excellence of management teams in the competitive restaurant industry.

"I love this feedback. I could just ignore it if I choose to, or I can act upon it," he says. "If you truly value your customers, but you say only when it's something that's positive, then that's a bunch of bull***. Because the reality of it is we don't execute perfectly every day."

The straightforward, no-nonsense approach to development is what has helped catapult Jack Gibbons to the top of the industry.

With energy for growing concepts still running high, he shows no signs of slowing down.

In his words, "There's just so much to learn."

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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.

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.

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