An insider’s look into the award-winning restaurant of internationally acclaimed chef Charlie Trotter, with techniques and strategies to create top-tier service, food, and atmosphere.
Charlie Trotter's Chicago restaurant is not only one of the premier eating experiences in America, it serves also as the model of a thriving business whose cutting-edge approach to management is setting new standards for quality, efficiency, and profitability. In fact, people in just about any field can learn from Charlie's methods. For this breakthrough business guide, journalist Paul Clarke conducted in-depth interviews with Charlie and his associates, distilling invaluable lessons for entrepreneurs and hospitality professionals who are committed to creating highly respected and innovative businesses. Anyone who wants to improve their business will be sure to learn something new from this Midwestern dynamo.
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Paul Clarke is director of business development at Q1 Consulting, a Chicago-based consultancy that helps food and beverage companies and restaurant chains to develop winning business strategies fueled by marketing research and data. For 10 years prior, he was VP sales and marketing at Sandelman.
Early in his career, Clarke was editor at Chef magazine, read by 50,000 chefs, and a public relations executive, representing chef-driven restaurants and luxury brands. Clarke attended Tulane University and is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, where he earned a BA in English literature and an MBA. He is a native of the Chicago area, resides in Barrington, Ill., and is a proud father of four.
Creating a world-class restaurant requires command of more talents than cooking alone. A wise chef must master all the arts: painting, music, architecture, and even dance, all of which combine in any consummate dining experience. A chef must also acquire business skills: accounting, human resources, management, finance, media relations--an error in any one of those compromising dining perfection. Chicago's Charlie Trotter has conquered all those areas, and Clarke has focused on Trotter's noncooking aptitudes to find insights into the success of Trotter's restaurant and, by extension, any other thriving enterprise. Based on Tom Peters' standards of excellence, Clarke's analysis reveals how Trotter himself works and how he engenders similar excellence in his restaurant staff. It may offend conventional wisdom to enthrone a chef as a paragon of outstanding business leadership, but given the choice in leadership role models, what makes the world a better place: Attila the Hun's heads on pikes or a creative chef's savory pike on fiddleheads? Mark Knoblauch
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