Lots of restaurateurs want to create a business they love. But because of the pressures—of bottom lines, bills, supply and demand, cash flow, etc.—they give in. And soon enough they end up with a business that doesn’t look close to what they really envisioned.

But there is a way to stay true to your vision and run a successful restaurant business.

And I found that my third interviewee, Sebastian Matias Torres Vallejo, chef-owner of Bayou Café (coffeehouse, restaurant, and event space) in Cuenca, Ecuador has figured it out.

In this interview, you’ll hear about what’s important to Sebastian, how he integrated that with his business, and how he’s created personal satisfaction for himself along with a stellar business image and reputation that has him recognized locally, nationally, and even internationally. And more.

Family First

Sebastian understood what was really important to him and he found a way to bridge that—from what he wanted to what the customer was willing to pay for.

And in his case, it was that family was important. So he created a restaurant with a very strong family environment and culture, right from how he manages his employees to how his customers are treated, to how open he is to having his own family and loved ones around in the restaurant all the time.

But we know to create that bond between customer and restaurateur, as family is no small task. So listen here {11:00 – 15:40 min} as Sebastian shares his exact methods of how he creates this family culture in his business that has various benefits from happy, repeat customers ($$$) to personal satisfaction.

The Power of Feedback

Sebastian has used customer feedback to expand his branding strategy and tailor-make his menu to give his customers what they want. I can’t emphasize this enough—being in touch with your customers is the key to taking informed decisions that suit the customer and the business. And you’d be surprised how many restaurateurs don’t really listen to their customers.

I’m a strong believer in a robust feedback system because it helped me pinpoint exactly what I needed to do to always take the right decisions and I can see how Sebastian has ended up implementing some creative and innovate ideas because he listened to his market.

Hear about how he captures his audience and entices them to keep coming back. {04:30 – 09:00 min}

Finding Personal Satisfaction

Listen to how all this has allowed Sebastian to derive personal satisfaction from his business because we all know that having more money doesn’t necessarily mean more happiness. Ideally, we need both. {08:00 – 09:00 min}

Facing Emotional Challenges

Sebastian talks about the emotional challenges a restaurateur faces. I highly recommend you hear this because it’s hard and it’s a real part of the business that’s rarely spoken about. And he says it straight out. And how he overcomes this. {19:30 – 24:00 min}

Overcoming Employee Issues

Listen to how Sebastian steps into the mind of his employees. Because to fix the problem, we first need to know the mindsets driving the issue. Take this as inspiration as I’ve seen first hand what this knowledge does to changing the tide of employee turnover.

I created a more formal system to do this in my restaurants, which worked wonders for me and I can see how Sebastian has used similar knowledge to address employee turnover. {17:30 – 23:50 min}

Also listen to:

1.  How to create a culture of employee retention. {23:50 – 33:00 min}
2. How to create an effective employee incentive program. {27:00 – 33:00 min}
3. Sebastian’s essential philosophy for restaurant owners. {33:00 – 34:35 min}
4. His #1 secret to making your restaurant business successful. {37:20 – 39:28 min}
5. Understand when your business is ready to franchise. {09:00 – 13:00 min}
6. My #1 learning for new franchisors after having franchised my own restaurants for many years. {09:20 – 10:00 min}

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