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Chef Robert Irvine on Making a Difference in Hospitality — and the World Interview with World-Famous Chef and Philanthropist Robert Irvine of The Robert Irvine Brand Family about supporting others, embracing a military culture in business, and the essence of leadership.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Support Makes the World a Better Place - Robert Irvine has built his companies on the foundation of service. Throughout any level of hardship or change, he believes the constant variable should be proper support of each other.

Military-Minded Culture - At first mention, conducting hospitality business like a military may carry a certain connotation. However, Robert Irvine carries the side-by-side, back-to-back style of camaraderie to all of his companies to embody the idea that no one person is bigger than the next.

True Leadership is Egoless - Robert Irvine tells a story of how a dishwasher in one of his restaurants once helped him create one of the greatest dishes he has ever eaten. That is just one example of his willingness and desire to learn from any and everybody he encounters.


Calling Robert Irvine, founder of The Robert Irvine Brand Family, a chef is both an honor and a gross understatement of his impact on the hospitality industry — and the world. He has a military background in the Navy, has hosted multiple Food Network programs, is an author of many books, the owner of FITCRUNCH, and much more. He is a man who believes firmly in the benefits of genuine benevolence.

For Robert Irvine, "Nothing is Impossible." The famed chef, philanthropist, and founder of The Robert Irvine Brand Family, has accomplished quite a lot in his illustrious career. But according to Chef Irvine, it isn't enough. His perpetual ascension is only matched by his ever-increasing philanthropic endeavors which already stretch far and wide.

"We're put on this planet to help people." Robert Irvine emphatically states on the Restaurant Influencers podcast hosted by Shawn P. Walchef of CaliBBQ Media. "Money's no good to you when there's nothing to buy because you can't afford it. Money's no good to you unless you share it."

The Robert Irvine Foundation is the bedrock from which all things flow for Irvine and his companies. Founded in 2014, the charity was put in place to aid military men and women, an entity close to Irivine's heart.

"Everything we do is based on the foundation. I can tell you that it's not about money. It's about how much can we give to other people."

The structure of the military also serves as inspiration for the culture he has created within The Robert Irvine Brand Family. Support is the heartbeat of all that the company does, and that begins with its namesake.

As Irvine puts it, "It is a military culture. We stand side by side, back to back, front and center of each other. And if one of my people ever bad mouths the other one, or treads on them, they're gone. I will not accept that."

Through his over two decades of experience within the industry, one thing has remained clear: Robert Irvine is unwavering in his efforts to provide support to others. True hospitality, true leadership is embodied in all that Irvine and his ventures say and do.


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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.

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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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