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Knead Hospitality + Design Co-Founder Jason Berry on Innovative Leadership and Employee Retention Interview with the cofounder of Knead Hospitality + Design about loving what you do, a revamped restaurant work week, and leading by committee.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • If You Don't Love It, Don't Do It - Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. According to Jason Berry, "doing what you love" rings especially while trying to build a restaurant business.
  • "Four Days at Work" - Recruitment and retention are a thorn in any business owner's side. Jason Berry and his Knead Hospitality + Design go to great lengths to employ hospitality and innovative initiatives, such as four days at work for management.
  • Leading By Opinion - As the saying goes, if you don't work for anybody, you work for everybody. Jason Berry seeks the opinions of his executives when making decisions pertaining to Knead Hospitality + Design.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For Knead Hospitality + Design co-founders Jason Berry and Michael Reginbogin, providing hospitality to their team is essential to building a successful restaurant company. It's not just about the guests, it's about making sure your employees are taken care of, too.

"We definitely listen to what people have to say," says Jason Berry on the Restaurant Influencers podcast hosted by Shawn P. Walchef of CaliBBQ Media. "I wouldn't say leading by consensus, but leading by opinion and learning to really embrace what people have to say."

That inclusive forward thinking is what has caused Knead Hospitality + Design to become one of the top restaurant companies in the country with an impressive 14 restaurant concepts, which includes the popular DC-area establishment Succotash. They accomplished all that in just 8 years.

Providing hospitality in the form of collaboration is the foundation of which Knead Hospitality was built.

Understanding his strengths and areas to improve upon has allowed Jason Berry to hand the restaurant design responsibilities to his partner. Berry's time is now allocated to remaining in step with some of the things that sparked his love for the industry in the first place.

"Taking care of people and seeing their experience. But I get to lead and guide a bunch of people doing that now, and I'm able to have a bigger impact by my reach," says Jason Barry on the Entrepreneur Media podcast.

"As they say, in most industries, "if you don't love it, don't do it". But I think that's ridiculously true for this industry."

His love for the restaurant industry is superseded only by his love for people. Not only is there an intentional effort to lead his company as a group, Jason Berry also had a hand in implementing an innovative way to encourage balance among his executive team. It's called 4Days@Work.

Jason Berry explains: "What it means is you're scheduled for 11 hour days at the restaurant and hopefully you get all your administrative work done. But if you can't, you can do the rest of it at home or at the beach or in Mexico or whatever you want to do."

Collaboration breeds confidence, and hospitality is a requirement for loyalty and growth. Jason Berry and his Knead Hospitality + Design embody all these elements and more.


NOMINATE A RESTAURANT INFLUENCER — Do you know someone who is killing it on social media? Let us know by emailing influencers@calibbq.media or sending the @calibbqmedia team a DM on social media.


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 DAVO. Never worry about sales tax again. Try DAVO and get your first month free. And AtmosphereTV - TV to Enhance Your Business. Try AtmosphereTV.

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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