How do you get to the top of the restaurant business? Ryan Pernice has the answers

In this video

How do you get to the top of the restaurant business? Ryan Pernice has the answers

- Despite the fact that there's this mythically high failure rate for restaurants, it is very tough. But if you go into it clear-eyed about what the challenges are, and you've orchestrated your life and your day-to-day to be able to meet those head-on, it's not easier, but your chances of success I think are much greater.

- So Ryan, hey, thanks for coming out man.

- Yeah, absolutely.

- I really appreciate it, this is great. So you've been in the restaurant, hospitality industry for many years, you've got three amazing-

- Many years.

- Many years, three amazing restaurants.

- They're all still open.

- All still open, Roswell, Alpharetta. So give me your backstory, I'm interested in your journey, like how'd you get into it.

- Yeah sure, so I'm a local guy, I went to Roswell High School, we moved down here from New York when I was maybe nine years old, my dad worked for Delta.

- Where abouts in New York?

- So born in Huntington.

- Oh, okay, all right.

- So we lived there, zero to nine, dad worked for Delta so they moved us here right before the Olympics, and we grew up elementary, middle school, high school here. Go Roswell Hornets. Then graduated from Roswell, went to school in upstate New York, lived in New York City for a little while and kicked around some restaurant stuff. I did restaurant consulting, which felt a little weird, being 21 and trying to tell restaurateurs what to do.

- So you at 21, you got into the business.

- Well, I got into the business when I was 14. So there's a local restaurant, it by the old mill in high school called The Roasted Garlic, and they actually had one here in Clock Tower, a place right down the road. But anyways, so I worked in that family all through high school, cooking and serving, and doing all sorts of back of house stuff. And at one point, my dad said, "Look, if you really like restaurants, "you know there's a school for that." So I said okay, so we explored Cornell University's School of Hospitality Management, looked at restaurant stuff there. Then graduated, restaurant consulting out of college, felt weird about that after about two years, and so I went, opened a restaurant called Maialino, with Union Square Hospitality Group from Danny Meyer, and that certainly wasn't mine, I was just on the opening team. So there was nine front of house managers when we opened, and I was the Operations Specialist. A great title because it doesn't mean anything. And basically that meant I was the office troll who, while everyone else is having fun upstairs, they had me doing tip sheets, inventory control. We did the restaurant, Maialino's, as well as the rooftop and room service, so every case of carrots we got in was split three ways so I had to build a spreadsheet that would say, okay, we got $100 worth of carrots in, $80 of that is for Maialino, $10 is for the roof, $10 is for housekeeping, or room service rather. So all that sort of foundational, nut and bolts, operations-level stuff, I kind of did all those back then and it was a great boot camp in here's how you do restaurants.

- Right, and that's a huge and important piece.

- Yeah, yeah.

- You got of kind of know where the money's going, where the products are going.

- They call it the restaurant business for a reason, there's two parts of that.

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