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The Cutting Onions Podcast

Author: Bobby Shaw

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On the Cutting Onions Podcast, restaurant executive and author Bobby Shaw celebrates leaders and organizations that build strong people cultures that develop other leaders.

Bobby interviews leaders who have built amazing cultures in their organizations through developing great leaders who produce amazing results, the right way.
38 Episodes
On today's episode I share the audio from my first webinar where I discussed 5 Ways To Attract And Retain Top Talent. This is a message we need more than ever as restaurants, hotels, and many other service companies are reopening dining rooms and facilities as we emerge from the global pandemic. The 5 things I talk about in this podcast will help you take an honest look at where your organization is and what you can do to create or recreate the culture you want to have that supports your mission, and bring your team along with you. If you would like a copy of the video portion of the webinar, please send me an email at --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Welcome back to The Cutting Onions Podcast! As promised here is a second volume of solid gold wisdom that has been shared on my podcast during these last couple of years. As I was getting this episode ready and listening back, I am just incredibly grateful that these amazing leaders shared some of their valuable time to have a conversation with me about culture and leadership.  Here are the incredible leaders you will hear from on this episode: Former McDonald's franchisee Art Phillips HR Manager Chris Cargill Crack'd Owner/Operator Danny Azzarello Restaurateur, Hotelier, and Non-Profit Founder Steve Mangano Raising Cane's GM Jacob Shaw Zalat Pizza COO Jason Brooks Chef, Restaurateur and Author Jeremy Barlow from Nashville TN Consultant, Coach and Food Safety Expert Luay Rahil Chief Storyteller for Dodo Brands, Max Kotin Culver's Franchisee Matt Mitchell Consultant and Halal Guys Franchisee Paul Tran Chick-Fil-A Franchisee Priscilla Mendoza Enjoy this episode! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Today I am circling back to a conversation I had with Matt Plapp, CEO of America's Best Restaurants, on his podcast a few weeks ago. Matt was gracious and had me on to talk about a few key concepts of my book "Cutting Onions: Leadership Lessons Learned From the Restaurant Industry". One of those ideas was the concept of Generational Differences and we had a great conversation about that and I wanted to unpack it a bit more on this short podcast. I hope you enjoy it.
Welcome to the Cutting Onions Podcast! In this episode I go into the archives from the past 34 episodes and pulled some amazing wisdom that some of the various guests I have had on the show over the last 18 months. It was fun to go back and listen to these incredible leaders. They inspired me all over again, and I think they will inspire you too! If you hear something that grabs you, make sure to go back and listen to the full episodes wherever you consume your podcast content. I will be doing another Best Of compilation soon so be sure to subscribe! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
This episode of The Cutting Onions podcast features my conversation with Dan Fogarty, Founder of Call Fogarty, an agency that helps cool companies become cult brands. Dan was also one of the earliest Marketing executives at Chipotle, first on the agency side, and then working directly for Chipotle for many years creating the iconic brand voice we had in those early days. He was responsible for leading the team that created the legendary advertising and branding messaging that resonated with our guests in ways we could have never predicted, and connected marketing directly with the culture we were building. And they did it on a shoestring budget.For me, as a young multi-unit leader back in 2002, getting to experience the way Chipotle approached Marketing impacted me forever, because it was the first time I looked at Marketing and Operations as being interconnected. They were then, and they still are today.In this amazingly fun conversation Dan unpacks so many things including:- How Marketing and Culture are connected- Using every medium we had to communicate with the guest: What Dan calls the “cereal box strategy”- Using our food as currency- Marketing to solve a problem- The importance of a words and tone of voice and how they add a whole other dimension- How a brand is a chair, music, napkin, and the bathrooms- Teaching people how to cook- How we advertised before Facebook and Instagram- Teaching people you could get great food served fast in a time when most restaurants were focused on cheap price pointsAnd so much more.Dan and I talked at length about the early lessons that we learned at Chipotle and how those early marketing decisions helped influence how we built the brand. This was such a great conversation, truly showing that culture and marketing are one, and completely connected to operating a great restaurant.It was so great getting to revisit the history of Chipotle marketing in the early days, and then realizing how much of that approach still resonates in today’s marketplace for any brand out there. If you are a small brand, you can do these things, and I highly recommend you listen to Dan’s advice and implement some of these tactics where you can. They may look a little different in 2021, but the spirit of this approach is timeless.Stay tuned at the end for a couple of bonus radio spots that will bring a smile to your face…”Chicken Man” and “Salad Kountry”. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Thanks for joining me for this episode where I speak with Restaurant CMO Tim Hackbardt.Tim is a 25+ year restaurant industry veteran who has served 25 restaurant chains across QSR, Fast Casual and Full Service Restaurant categories. A few of these brands include Del Taco, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Rubio’s, Pieology, Steak ‘n Shake, Johnny Rockets, and Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que.He is currently Chief Marketing Officer for Del Taco where he oversees brand strategy, marketing and menu strategy. Del Taco (NASDAQ: TACO) is the second largest Mexican quick service restaurant chain with over 600 locations in 16 states.Previous to his role at Del Taco, he was the CEO of the consulting firm BrandTrip Partners. His firm served restaurant chains primarily in the areas of distressed turnarounds, brand reinventions and new restaurant concept development. One of his most interesting projects during this time was to develop a new pizza chain in the Middle East for a multi-national company located in Saudi Arabia. Today there are eight Turnstone Pizza restaurants open around the city of Riyadh.Tim is originally from Michigan and is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a BAA in Broadcast & Cinematic Arts. Today, he resides in the San Diego area with his wife of 31 years.When he is not eating for his job, he is usually burning off the calories training for endurance races. A 2X Ironman, and 5X 70.3 Ironman, he also enjoys ultra trail running and cycling adventures in the Pyrenees, Sierras, Rocky Mountains and Dolomites to name a few.Tim can be contacted and followed --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Here is my amazing conversation with Max Kotin, Chief Storyteller for Dodo Brands. Max shared so much great information about Dodo Brands, how they started, and how they have created the fastest growing pizza concept in the world according to Technomic. Dodo Pizza now operates more than 700 pizza shops in 14 countries, including its first US unit located in Oxford, Mississippi. But Dodo is so much more than pizza. They have developed a portfolio of digital-first QSR brands including DrinkIt, Doner42, and Dodo Pizza. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Welcome to the Cutting Onions Podcast! Please enjoy my conversation with Chef Jeremy Barlow. Jeremy has been an innovative force in Nashville's chef scene for over 18 years and has several amazing concepts including Tayst and Sloco. Jeremy has also been a champion of food sustainability and creating accountability around sourcing and how the supply chain is managed. He walks us through the evolution of the food system. As he says, everything happens around the table. I loved hearing about what Jeremy has been doing in Nashville over the last several years!We had an amazing conversation that covered a wide range of topics including:- The magic formula of pop ups and how they work- Are events worth it?- Finding efficiencies in the QSR segment and combine it with the fine dining world to define what the next food system will be- Why food policy matters- And his exciting new concept, Fryce Cream, which has been in development on 12 South in Nashville and has already gotten rave reviews!You do not want to miss this inspired conversation! He also tells a hilarious story about putting pork belly on the menu about two years before it was trendy to do so and he couldn't sell it! Now of course it is everywhere!You can find Jeremy on Instagram as well! Check out his channels:@slocosammies@the_green_tayst@frycecream --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Welcome to The Cutting Onions Podcast! In today's episode I chat with Jason Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of Zalat Pizza in Dallas, Texas. My conversation with Jason was so inspired and I think you will be too. Zalat Pizza is committed to not only serving amazing hand-crafted pizza out of their ghost kitchen model, but also to creating a strong culture for his employees. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
About a year ago I found a picture of myself as an employee of the McDonald’s in Blue Springs Missouri back in 1984. Since then I have been thinking about my sixteen-year-old self and what I was dreaming about back then. Where I thought I was going. Who I thought I would become. What I thought my life would be like.My life since that picture taken at age sixteen has been working in my chosen profession: the restaurant industry. And it has changed my life in so many wonderful and profound ways. It created opportunities for me that I wouldn’t have dared to dream about back then. At age 16, I was excited. I was passionate. I was dreaming. I felt connected. I found a family I didn’t really have at home at the time. I knew I wanted more of all those feelings.And here I am. All these years later. Still excited. Still passionate. Still dreaming, and hopefully a bit wiser. I consider it my life’s work to create opportunities for others that otherwise might not exist, and pay forward the generous investment that many different leaders have made in my development over the years, and create those same feelings I had at age 16 for other young leaders. And that work has been, and continues to be, very fulfilling... --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
In this short episode I do something a little bit different. Instead of interviewing someone in the industry, I read the introduction to my new book, Cutting Onions. It was super fun to do and there's a fun story in there about one of my early leadership influences and it may surprise you to hear who it was. Hint: It was a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
One of the questions I like to ask in the midst of a challenge is: “What does this make possible?”That’s an important question to ask during times like these, when the media is bombarding us with all of the negative around COVID-19. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
26. Q&A with Chris Cargill

26. Q&A with Chris Cargill


Welcome to the Cutting Onions Podcast, where we celebrate culture that develops leaders. This is Episode 26.In this conversation I sit down with Chris Cargill. Chris is a long-time HR professional with a passion for creating strong people cultures and connecting with people in a genuine way to help them accomplish their hopes and dreams.The work Chris has done in Human Resources has covered retail, restaurants and professional services and he has made an impact everywhere he’s been. He has razor sharp instincts and intuitively understands people, which has helped him build strong relationships within the organizations he’s been a part of that transcend what people normally think of when they think about HR.Starting his HR career in 1997 after working in customer service he immediately saw the correlation between customer service and HR and went to work. Working with two different startups and having to build the infrastructure from scratch, it helped Chris figure out how to connect with people and keep it real.Chris is one of the most authentic people I know and sees the work he does as a calling and not just a role in an organization and I think that’s where the magic happens. He didn’t start out to be an HR professional and his journey to where he is today is an incredible inspiration.Fun fact: Chris has a passion for music and also produced the amazing track titled Walking Strong that I use for the intro and outro of my podcast. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
25. Q&A with Libby Balsiger

25. Q&A with Libby Balsiger


Welcome to The Cutting Onions Podcast where we celebrate culture that develops leaders.In today’s episode of The Cutting Onions Podcast I sit down with Libby Balsiger, founder of Chica Communications, where she is passionate about advancing socially conscious efforts that underscore corporate integrity and global responsibility. Libby was also one of the early marketing leaders at Chipotle when it was all about grassroots and field marketing strategies. She did some incredible work in building the brand in those early days when sales weren’t great, there was doubt about whether we’d make it in California, and the moment that changed everything.Libby and I talked about how her work at Chipotle influenced her in the important work she is doing now around growing creative startups, many of which are led by female entrepreneurs and helping them market their businesses. Libby is an incredible leader and is continuing to make a huge impact in organizational culture and in the lives of those creating that culture. She is an inspiring mentor for so many leaders looking to do big things.It was such a pleasure chatting with her. She’s the real deal.Here is my conversation with Libby Balsiger. See you on the other side. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Welcome to The Cutting Onions Podcast, where we celebrate culture that develops leaders. This is Episode 24. In this week’s conversation I sit down with entrepreneur, hotelier, and restaurateur, Stephen Mangano.Steve is a passionate leader known for his ability to bring a creative perspective to business and seeing value where others do not. He is a disruptor and challenges the status quo across the wide range of ventures he is involved in.Steve founded CurEat, an app that allows diners across the country to post pictures and what they love about their favorite restaurants. It’s a positive, constructive way to share the love of food as diners travel from city to city. Steve also co-founded the North Carolina Partnership for Childhood Nutrition (NCPCN) which partners with local restaurants to raise money for healthier lunches in public schools, which has made a huge impact on students and given them an ability to focus on learning. This is an amazing organization and I’m grateful to Steve for sharing what they are doing to end childhood hunger in public schools.I am including the links to CurEat and the North Carolina Partnership for Child Nutrition in the show notes.This was such an inspiring conversation and I am excited to share it with you.https://cureatapp.com --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
23. Q&A with Luay Rahil

23. Q&A with Luay Rahil


Welcome to the Cutting Onions Podcast, where we celebrate culture that develops leaders. This is Episode 23!In this conversation I speak with Leadership and Business Coach, Luay Rahil, who lives in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Luay started his career washing dishes in small restaurants before joining IHOP where he washed dishes, became a server and then a restaurant manager.Luay went to college and graduated as a health inspector. From his experience in restaurants Luay recognized that the relationships between health departments and restaurants were strained. He wanted to change that. He wanted it to be a partnership, so that’s what he did.During his time as a health inspector in the cities of Coppell and Ft. Worth, TX, Luay changed the game and improved those relationships with restaurant by treating them as partnerships by working alongside them to address issues and not just being an inspector. He then took things to the next level where he started a food safety company.Luay then figured out he wanted to expand his influence even more and started Lead With Integrity, a leadership community where high capacity leaders join Luay on the journey of creating your best life at work, and at home.It’s been an inspiration to get to know Luay and I know you’ll be inspired as well. So here’s my conversation with Luay Rahil.See you on the other side. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Welcome to The Cutting Onions Podcast, Episode 22. In this conversation I sit down with Priscilla Mendoza, a multi-unit operator for Chick-Fil-A in Austin. Priscilla's journey with Chick-Fil-A started at 16 years old and she recently opened a second location in the Austin, TX market.Priscilla has developed high performing teams and a strong people culture that has allowed her to expand her influence within the Chick-Fil-A brand and in the lives of countless people that have worked in her organization.Priscilla has an amazing story, personally and professionally, and I am excited to share it with you. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
21. Q&A with Art Phillips

21. Q&A with Art Phillips


Happy Thanksgiving! Welcome to The Cutting Onions Podcast, Episode 21. In this special episode I sit down with the person responsible for me giving me my first opportunity in the restaurant business, Art Phillips.
Art is a legend in the McDonald’s system. His accomplishments are too numerous to mention but we discuss a few of them here, including the order by number system. Yep, that was an idea Art shared in a meeting over three decades ago ended up getting pitched to McDonald’s Corporation upper management and the rest is history.In this podcast interview we had a wide-ranging conversation about his career, his love for the McDonald's brand, saving for that first restaurant, identifying talent, and investing ahead of the business to build a strong culture. We discussed his incredible impact on not only the Kansas City Region but the entire McDonald's system.
From his first job at Steak 'N Shake as a carhop, to the start of his nearly 50-year career with McDonald's on March 1, 1966 making $1.00 per hour, to buying his first store in 1978, to becoming an iconic operator for almost 40 years.Enjoy this conversation with Art Phillips. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
Welcome to Episode 20 of The Cutting Onions Podcast. In today's conversation I interview Erin Levzow, VP and CMO of Marcus Hotels and Resorts. She has such an inspiring story and her journey of how she got to where she is today will encourage you to chase your dreams!An aspiring actress, Erin started her career in HR, transitioned into Internet Marketing, and then became a highly sought after expert in the realm of social and digital media. Erin's career has taken her all over the country and she has used her influence to make an impact across many different organizations, including at Freebirds World Burrito where she served as my VP of Marketing.I know you will enjoy this conversation with Erin and the lessons she shares around standing up for what you believe in and never giving up. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
For this bonus episode, I go back to 2017 and the talk I gave at the Restaurant Franchising Innovation Summit in Dallas, TX. In this short talk, I talk about the evolution of leadership development, how we develop leaders, and who is developing you as a leader?I hope you enjoy this bonus episode and that it challenges you to look at the topic of leadership development in a new and different way. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.
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