755: Chef David Vargas on Justify Your Existence
Get 12 Months of Restaurant Unstoppable Network here David Vargas, Chef/Owner, Vida Cantina brings his Mexican heritage and appreciation for local seasonal New England products to every plate at Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, NH. A James Beard-nominated chef, David grew up in Southern CA and spent time in Mexico as an exchange student. David works with the Kittery school system training the administration and staff, and teaching the students about healthy cooking and eating. David also is co-creator of Chefs After Dark, a friendly (raucous!) chef rivalry night among friends in the NH/MA/Maine chef community with hosted events raising funds for deserving local charities. David is also a leader in the region supporting NH Community Seafood, creating “Catch of the Day Tacos” with whatever fresh fish the collaborative hauls in. He earned a cult-like following for his home-made heritage corn tortillas, sourced with his own blend of local organic corn grown for him at Tuckaway Farms, resulting in David opening his own tortilla business, Vida Tortilla. These specialty tortillas are available at the popular Dos Amigos restaurants, Vida Cantina, and select New England restaurants. Show notes… Calls to ACTION!!! Subscribe to the Restaurant Unstoppable YouTube Channel Join the private Unstoppable Facebook Group Join the email list! (Scroll Down to get the Vendor List!) Favorite success quote or mantra: Justify your existence. In today's episode with David Vargas we will discuss: Being a wild child and growing up Feeling at home with restaurant industry workers Hospitality is treating people like family Living in Mexico City and learning to cook Culinary school and if you should go, very expensive Mentors Learning California-style cooking When to transition from line cook to head chef/restaurant owner Taking the next step in your career out of survival Learning food cost - reality vs. what you learn in culinary school You must be aware of what’s going on in your industry - talk to other chefs and restauranteurs If you’re not excited about your food, neither will your guests Sobriety in the industry Spend time away from your restaurant so that you long to be there Opening/operating a food truck Surviving (monetarily) a fire in your food truck Working as a mercenary chef Set your team up for success in their own lives and your business Catering Saying yes to everything Diversifying income Should we pay attention to services like Yelp? The power of getting involved with your community Cooking competitions Diversify your revenue streams Retail in your restaurant - online store and shipping advice Evolving because of COVID-19 - surviving the upcoming winter in NH (no outdoor dining) Today's sponsor: 7shifts is a modern labor management platform, designed by restaurateurs, for restaurateurs. Effectively labor management is more important than ever to ensure profitability and restaurant success. Trusted by over 400,000 restaurant professionals, 7shifts gives you the tools you need to streamline labor operations, communicate with your team, and retain your talent. Best of all 7shifts integrates with the POS and Payroll systems you already use and trust (like Toast!) turning labor into a competitive advantage for your business. Restaurant Unstoppable members get 3 months, absolutely free. PlateIQ- the leading AP automation platform in the hospitality industry. 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Knowledge bombs Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success? Coming in prepared every day to enjoy the day What is your biggest weakness? Not listening to my wife enough What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview? What makes you happy? What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it? Besides COVID, work ethic of new staff, determining work ethic before hire someone Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team. Mental Mise en place What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff? To cook good is to look good What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner? California Dish: What I Saw (and Cooked) at the American Culinary Revolution by Jeremiah Tower Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain *any book about overcoming hurdles*GET THIS BOOK FOR FREE AT AUDIBLE.COM What's one thing you feel restaurateurs don't do well enough or often enough? Give their staff the opportunity to succeed Name one service you've hired. Martha Sullivan - Sullivan Communications - PR What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influenceD operations? Square POS Social media - Instagram and Facebook 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? Justify your existence Si, se puede Spend more time with your family Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org 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! If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post. Also, please leave an honest review for the Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them. And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates. Huge thanks to David Vargas 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. 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