829: Andy Pforzheimer Co-Founder of Bartaco and Barcelona Wine Bar

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With excitement allow me to introduce to you today's guest, co-founder of Bartaco and Barcelona Wine Bar and CEO of Taste Maker Acquisition Corps, and I should mention you hold titles with Wisely, US Foods and Upwards Projects Restaurant Group, Andy Pforzheimer.

Andy is a graduate of Harvard University. After graduating he traveled to France to explore his passion for cooking. He continued is his culinary adventures in the United States throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. During this time he worked for notable chefs including Jeremiah Tower at Stars, Anne Rosenzweig at both Arcadia and the "21" Club and Patrick Healy at Colette.

He thought he had his fill of cooking and went to work as the original food editor for Matha Stweart Living magazine. Turns out, he prefers to work on his feet and before long he was back in kitchens with the catering and consulting businesses he started. It was during this time he met his business partner, Sasa Mahr-Batuz. The two opened the first Barcelona Wine Bar location in 1996 which they scaled to 6 locations. In 2010, Pforzheimer and Mahr-Batuz started Bartaco. In 2012 they took on a partner in Hal Rosser and Rosser Capital, opening even more restaurants. In June 2018, with 32 restaurants in 14 states, they sold Barteca to Del Frisco's Restaurant Group for $325 million.

Show notes… Calls to ACTION!!! Favorite success quote or mantra:
  • "What you tolerate becomes your standard."

In today's episode with Andy Pforzheimer we will discuss:

  • Doing literally whatever it takes to work in the best restaurants when you're starting out
  • Prime cost
  • Maximizing seating
  • Working for Martha Stewart
  • Partners
  • Failing
  • Salvaging waning restaurants
  • Usefulness of lawyers
  • Negotiating leases
  • Reverse engineering from you "Why"
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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Focus
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • I can be didactic
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • They have to care deeply about the job
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Staffing
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Look in the mirror and say "is this who I am?"
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • We want the guest to know something personal about their server
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • They don't know how to seat a room
  9. Name one service you've hired.
  10. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influence operations?
  11. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?
    • Kindness is more important than brilliance
    • What you tolerate becomes your standard
    • Always smell you own armpits
Contact info:

Email: andy@barteca.com

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Andy Pforzheimer for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!

Restaurant Unstoppable is a free podcast. One of the ways I'm able to make it free is by earning a commission when sharing certain products with you. I've made it a core value to only share tools, resources, and services my guest mentors have recommend, first. If you're finding value in my podcast, please use my links!

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