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Ep 059 – Behind the Scenes of the Craft Pita Empire with Rafael Nasr

Ep 059 – Behind the Scenes of the Craft Pita Empire with Rafael Nasr

Behind the Scenes of the Craft Pita Empire with Rafael Nasr

In this episode, you’ll meet Raffi Nasser, founder of Craft Pita. Raffi is growing a fast casual restaurant concept with the goal of sharing culture through food.


Transcripts are generated by machine learning, so typos may be present.

BTB (00:00):

Welcome to the Building Texas Business Podcast, interviews with thought leaders and organizational visionaries from across industry. Join us as we talk about the latest trends, challenges, and growth opportunities to take your business to the next level. The Building Texas Business Podcast is brought to you by BoyarMiller, providing counsel beyond expectations. Find out how we can make a meaningful difference to your business at and by your podcast team where having your own podcast is as easy as being a guest on ours. Discover more at Now. Here’s your host, Chris Hanslik.

Chris (00:42):

In this episode, you’ll meet Raffi Nasser, founder of Craft Pita. Raffi is growing a fast casual restaurant concept with the goal of sharing culture through food. Rafi, I want to thank you for joining me here on the podcast. First, just want to start with, tell us who your, who, what your business is, what are you known for?


Yeah, so I’m the owner and operator of Craft Pita. We have two restaurants here in the Houston area, one in the Briar Grove/Tanglewood/Galleria area on San Felipe and Fountain View. And we just opened our second location last November over on Buffalo Speedway and West Park here in the West U area. Very close to y’all’s office.

Chris (01:22):

Yeah. And, and I’m grateful for that by the way. So I’ve heard a little bit, but I want to hear it from you. Tell us what inspired you to start Craft Pita? Yeah,


So I’m a first generation Lebanese, Peruvian American. My father is from Northern Lebanon and I spent my summers visiting my grandmother in Lebanon. And my family has a, a restaurant business there as well. And so I spent a lot of my summers, you know, hanging out in my uncle’s restaurant, always around food. I was the kind of kid, classic story of grabbing scraps off the table at my grandma’s house while the other kids were playing. You know, my sisters wanted to go to the beach and I wanted to go find the best shawarma possible.

Chris (02:05):

Okay. <laugh>. So


That was the origin of my interest in the business when I was at Texas Christian University studying entrepreneurial management. I actually opened a food truck while I was in school. So I started my first business when I was 20 years old. It was basically a late night business for all the college kids after they got back home from the bars

Chris (02:26):

Soaking up a little of what they had enjoyed at the bars.


Yes. So as the university goes, this is a safety thing you guys need. And, uh, I sold my business ’cause I wanted to graduate on time and TCU’s not achieved school by any means, and, uh, worked for, uh, several other businesses. But kind of while all that was going on, working for other restaurants, I knew I wanted to open my own restaurant. I saw a opportunity here in the Houston, in the Houston market for a higher quality Middle Eastern Mediterranean food.

Chris (02:57):

Okay. I love the idea of this. You started at your first business when you were 20. Yeah.



Chris (03:01):

Us what was that like?


That was insane. I would go to class from 8:00 AM till three 30. I would prep food from, you know, three 30 to five 30 and I would serve from about 6:00 PM until 2:00 AM. Luckily I found my girlfriend slash wife right before I started the business ’cause my social life kind of took a backseat

Chris (03:26):



So it was, you know, I never really, I didn’t go to college anticipating being in the restaurant business, but it taught me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I can tell you it was a lot cheaper than my degree, but, but it was a really valuable lesson in, in what it takes as an entrepreneur to wear all hats in a business. And I learned that very early on in my career and it set me on for a great path to eventually on Craft Pita. Yeah.

Chris (03:53):

So let’s talk about kind of the things that, lessons you learned. Yeah. You know, doing that food truck and then you get the idea for Craft Pita. What were you doing before that and then, and what sparked you to kind of take the step mm-hmm. <affirmative> to go on your own again.


Yeah. So lessons I learned owning my food truck, well tell you a very valuable one. I didn’t have a, a great partner, you know, that was part of the reason I wanted to get out of the business. And I think that was a really valuable lesson I learned super early in my career. And I think that’s a valuable lesson for any entrepreneur is that when you choose who you’re doing business with, it’s like you’re getting into a marriage.

Chris (04:31):



And I also learned that, you know, when you are starting a small business, particularly in the the food, food side of the industry, you have to do as much as humanly possible yourself because labor is your biggest expense. And I was in school and owning a business. I think if I was just running the business, I could have been more profitable, things could have gone better. That was a valuable lesson. And I think everyone has this idea, oh, I wanna, you know, invest in a restaurant, own a bar, or do this and it’d cool, but I also want to do what I’m doing. This is a all in business. Gotcha. And obviously now I’m all in.

Chris (05:13):

Look, I think you think what you say is right, but I’ll say I’m not sure it’s much different for most businesses. No. If you’re really gonna be in it, I agree. As the entrepreneur, owner, founder, you have to be all in. For


Sure. And especially that applies to business where businesses where, you know, human capital is the business. You know, you’re, you need hands to, to prepare something you need hands to, to serve something. And after that, I, I came back here to Houston. I worked for a family friend over at Island Grill. Oh

Chris (05:42):

Sure. Yeah.


I worked for a Faisal, helped him open up his Bunker Hill store. Worked there for about a year and I learned a lot working there. You know, I learned that being a member of a community, being a neighborhood, a restaurant, and shaking hands and kissing babies is a big part of being successful in this industry. I also worked for him to also gauge what Houston’s interests were in the cuisine in Mediterranean food. After that, I went to go work for a company called TZ Kaba, which it was a Chipotle style Middle Eastern restaurant.

Chris (06:20):



And they were opening up several units very fast, two n b a guys outta ut. And when I worked for ’em, it was amazing. They were growing really fast. But I also saw the negatives of what happens when private equity gets involved and their only priority is opening as many units as possible. I also learned that the, the assembly style Chipotle style model was not something I wanted to do for Craft Pita. I thought it was something I wanted to do, but it’s kind of hard to convey, um, quality and translate that when you’re going through an assembly style model concepts.

Chris (06:58):



And I knew at Craft I wanted to be a better quality than like a Subway or a Chipotle or any of those things. I also learned from them that branding is a really important thing. They, when I joined them, they were TTS Kebob, then they were Verts and then they became new Mediterranean. And it was Turkish donor kebobs that are

Chris (07:20):



By German food. And I just learned that you don’t have much time to translate what your food is to people, especially when you’re not selling American food.

Chris (07:32):

’cause it sounds like they had an identity crisis.


It’s, it was an identity crisis. And, and literally sometimes it, it was honestly just the name. You know, your name is so important when you’re in the food business and you can be kitschy, you can be cute, but when people read your name or need to type it into a, a web browser or into a social media search bar, it’s gotta be clear and it has to be concise and has to translate what the product is. Yeah.

Chris (08:00):

Sounds like you had an immense amount of learning in just a few years. That


Was, and that was just two years. And at the time my wife, she’s still in in tech sales, she moved to Austin. So I followed her over there and I tried to get into fine dining. No one would hire me in any of the fine dining restaurants because of my fast casual experience and taking two jobs in two years. So I ended up taking a job with Pappa’s at Pappasitos I 35 in Austin. And I stayed there for about three and a half years.

Chris (08:33):



I thought about going to culinary school, but I already spent a lot of money on my degree and I decided to go work for Pappa’s because, you know, being here in Houston, everybody knows the weight that name holds. And also their management training is, uh, probably the best in the country when it comes to the hospitality industry.

Chris (08:54):

They’re definitely known for that.


And they’re known for that from outside of the industry when it comes to management. And I decided to go work for them. ’cause why am I gonna go to culinary school when I can go to restaurant school and they’ll pay me for it. Yeah. You know, so that was an amazing opportunity. I learned that, you know, they have, you start off as a buser and then a server, then a bartender, then a front of house manager, then you’re a kitchen manager. Then when you get in the kitchen, they have you work the fry line and the grill line make salads. They really, you know, I learned there that it, if you as a manager, if you wanna gain the respect of people that you’re managing, you have to be able to do the job. You probably won’t do it as well as them, but you have to know how to do it.

Chris (09:39):



I mean, there, there was guys, you know, working the grill that were as old as I was that had been working there for as long as I’ve been alive. Right. So it’s one thing to manage, you know, a few people, but then when you’re in a restaurant like that, you’re managing, you know, 40 people at once. It really taught me everything I needed to know to be ready to go on my own.

Chris (10:00):

So you mentioned the importance of branding. So what was it that that kind of led you to, you know, craft peta Yeah, true Mediterranean and, and then to develop the concept that you came up with.


So, funny story about the name Craft Pita, I had actually come up with it for, before we opened our food truck and we ended up not using the name. And one day in Austin we had been, you know, brainstorming, oh, well we call the restaurant whatever. My wife brought the name up and she said, what about Craft Pita? And I was like, that’s a great name. What made you think of that? She said, you came up with it 10 years ago. He

Chris (10:36):



I had forgotten. I’m like, man, you know, I’m so glad my wife remembered. And you know, again, well,

Chris (10:43):

Let me pause there. For those of you that were at T C U late night. Yeah. What was the food truck called?


So the food truck is again an example. Bad branding was called Mediterranean Chunky Monkey. <laugh>. Okay. This was my partner’s idea. And actually funny story, we had gotten a cease and desist letter from Ben and Jerry’s for the name because they owned the rights to all food products that have the words chunky and monkey next to it. I wish I would’ve known you then. Maybe you could help me

Chris (11:11):

Out. Yeah. The other importa of of having a good legal team, right? Yes, exactly.


And but to, to that point, I told, Hey, make sure you look it up. We’re all good. Obviously didn’t, but this time around I definitely looked up, covered my bases. So, and luckily we were selling the truck at the time, <laugh> when, while they were sending us the season desist letter, we chose the name Craft Pita because like I mentioned earlier, we wanted, when you read the words Craft Pita and you know, it’s a restaurant, you know, you’re walking into a Mediterranean Middle Eastern restaurant and because of the word craft that you are walking into somewhere that has, you know, premium goods made from scratch, made to order, it connotates quality. And true Mediterranean is partially a joke. Lebanese people think they invented everything <laugh>. And so we want, and you know, the Greeks think they invented everything. The Turkish think they invented everything. Palestinians, Israelis, it’s a little bit of tongue in cheek of Lebanese food is the best Mediterranean food. And we do believe that. Obviously I’m very biased, right.


But I think what makes, uh, Lebanese food the best Mediterranean food is it has this through line of, of freshness and spices that really brings the food up, uh, a few notches. Whereas like, Greek food’s not super heavy into the spices, but lots of fresh herbs and things like that. And then if you go, you know, into Turkish cuisine, you know, Syrian Jordanian Palestinian, and even if you go into Persian cuisine, there’s a lot of spices. I think Lebanese food is kind of that ripe balance of spices and freshness. And so that’s where Craft Pita two Mediterranean comes from.

Chris (12:53):

I love it. So, so you opened your first location, you’ve now expanded to a second location. And some would say, especially in the restaurant business, going to that second one to two is a huge jump because can you make it work when you, now your attention’s split between two different locations? How, how have you made that work? Because part of that comes with having a good team.


Definitely. We developed craft beta from day one to be a scalable concept. So we always knew we were gonna have more than one location. It, it starts and when you, it’s one thing to open a restaurant and then think about opening another one. But when you do it from day one, it does make it a bit easier. Not saying that it’s been easy, but for example, our menu’s not that big. It’s consolidated. We developed managers and a management training program that allowed us to train up one set of managers and then split them off once the new store opened. The other thing that I’m very lucky to have is I work with my mother, Claudia. Her and I are a great team and I kind of spend, you know, 80% of my time at the new store, 20% of my time at the old store. Whereas my mother does about a good 75 25 split. She stays at the old store. And that makes a huge difference. You know, having ownership presence is one of the most important things at a restaurant. And because I have, you know, because we’re a team, we’re able to split our time. Yeah.

Chris (14:17):

What is it then about making sure you’re hiring right? Because so many people, you know, and I, we live it here and I think any business owner you talk to is the hiring decisions are so critical to getting it right. What are some of the things that you do at craft PTA to make sure you’re making the best decision you can when you make that hiring decision?


Definitely, I craft pita. We, we have a very high standard for hospitality. I do think it’s something you can teach people, but there is an innate nature of hospitality when it comes to front of house. We really just ask basic questions like where do you like to eat? What’s your favorite example of a good restaurant experience? You know? And typically you can find out if someone has hospitality based on the way they grew up, based on you know, their families. They’ll tell you like, you know, my mother taught me, you know, to say hi and bye every time I left the house. Um, small things like that. And then in bag of house, we really try to find people who care about quality. Because there’s a lot of restaurants where now certain things are so cookie cutter, but they don’t even really have to think while they’re cooking. It just comes out and we’re not selling, you know, a very basic food. We’re selling food. You know, some people have never made hummus before or tasted in their life. And so how are you supposed to hire someone, teach ’em the recipe, know, even know what, what the expectation is. Right.

Chris (15:44):



Front of house we really look for a high hoss hospitality quotient. You know, when we’re interviewing and in back of house attention to detail and quality, those things are really important for us.

Chris (15:56):

That makes sense. So how would you describe maybe the culture that you are building there, craft peta as you started it and now growing it to multiple locations?


Definitely. I think, you know, it’s in our mission statement that we are committed to sharing culture through food. And I think that’s really the co company culture we try to, uh, derive at Craft Pita. You know, the two, the two cultures I come from, actually the three, you know, in Lebanese culture, hospitality is a big thing. You walk into your grandma’s house, she gives you hugs and kisses, and then there’s about seven courses of food that come out

Chris (16:35):



And you know that that food and that is part of the love. Right? And same thing with my mother’s Peruvian culture. It’s all about family, all about having a good time, all about being together and food is kind of the, the core part of that. And then also being here in Houston, I mean, you know, I always think Houston is where the south meets the rest of the country and southern hospitality’s a thing. So yeah, we really just want you to feel like you’re walking into our house and that’s the company culture we build. And that comes from, you know, serving a high quality product and everyone as a group effort, making sure people feel welcome.

Chris (17:17):

Very good. Excuse me. So let’s talk about starting a business and all that. Not easy. What are some of the maybe setbacks you’ve encountered and what have you done to overcome those? We’ve been through some, you know, turbulent times recently and I’m sure starting a new business has not been the easiest. Yeah. What are some of the lessons learned that you could share with our listeners on that?


I mean, I think, and I hope no one else has to deal with this lesson ever again, but I, covid happened six months after I opened my restaurant.

Chris (17:43):



Yeah. So I, you know, spent my whole life dreaming of this restaurant. And, you know, things are going really well. We actually made a national list of Yelp, top 100 restaurants in America. And it just made our business skyrocket. ’cause we were the only restaurant in Houston on the list. Wow.

Speaker 4 (18:02):



That was in January of 2020. Of course, we all know what happens February of 2020.


And you know, I think the lesson with Covid is there will be outside forces that you did not predict that will affect your business. And you can sit there and cry about it. You can roll over and die, or you can hit the problem head on. I decided to, I realized one, one of the big problems that was happening was, how are people gonna know we’re open for business? ’cause not all, a lot of people, you know, we had the two week period here in Texas and some people stayed closed and some people opened up right after the two weeks happened. So I reached out to a friend of mine that had like a tent rental business, and I said, I need the biggest tent that can fit a F three 50 because, you know, we got big trucks here in Houston, I need the biggest tent and I’m going to, I need to build a drive-through. So I, I reached out to my landlord, I said, Hey, can I do this? He was fine with it. And so we had a tent outside of a restaurant for, I want to say about six to eight weeks.

Speaker 4 (19:08):

Okay. And,


You know, several of my staff had to leave for, you know, they had preexisting conditions or they wanted to go on unemployment. And so I basically worked for about 90 straight days outside selling food. I even started, I realized quickly that a lot of people wanted like, you know, cleaning supplies and gloves and sanitizer. I got in the sanitizer business, <laugh>, I got in the gloves business. I reached out to my local farmer. So I got produce from and I got farm share boxes. We became, you know, pseudo grocery store. And that was, that saved us. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (19:46):



A big reason, another, you know, reason why that ended up working out for us is because of the presence of me and my mom in the restaurant. I think a lot of people, you know, a lot of our local guests didn’t want us to fail.

Speaker 4 (19:59):



That loyalty, you know, going above and beyond for people for those several months that we were open, I think built a relationship that to this day still keeps our business, you know, afloat and suit. A couple other things that our business ran into, partly still because of the whole covid scenario, but other things is labor inflation over the last few years. I mean, it’s, I was looking at my business plan from 2019 and I was like, and now I’ve projected labor numbers. I can tell you we’re way above, way above that. And then same thing with, uh, our food pricing still going up. And these are just things I think any business person will go through is, you know, outside forces affecting your business and unexpected increased costs that you cannot do anything to change.

Chris (20:48):



You just have to, you have to find ways around it. Whether that’s giving the guests more value in one way or another. You, you gotta, you have to solve these problems or else they’re gonna, they’re gonna take over. Yeah.

Chris (21:00):

Yeah. It’s funny you say, ’cause most people having a good business plan, it’s critically important and be and thoughtful and mm-hmm. <affirmative> and as soon as you finish the plan and go into action, the plan’s worth nothing. Right. <laugh>.


Exactly. I, you know, since I opened my business 10 years ago, people have always come up to me with, you know, crack pot ideas. I wanna open a bar, I wanna open a rush, and I want a food truck. My first question to ’em is, have you drafted a business plan? And it’s not, you know, the business plan is not the end all be all. It’s not what’s gonna get you all the investment money. It’s, but it is a plan. You just need guidelines. You

Chris (21:37):

Need guidelines. You need to have some thought laid out. Yes. Right. Yes. That’s


Always is laying out your thoughts. And, you know, once you have your thoughts, you should take that business plan, give it to someone who knows something and have them rip you to shreds it. Some of the, you know, it’s might be humbling, but it’s necessary. Yeah.

Chris (21:55):

So how would you describe your leadership style? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, fairly young entrepreneur. You mentioned earlier when you were in Pappasitos, most people that were reporting to you were much older than you mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So how have you managed through that and how has that leadership style developed? Yeah,


I think, you know, I’ve only been a manager. I’ve never, I never was like a server at a restaurant. So for me, I’ve only been in management. I went from, you know, being on my own, being a manager, I would say not a very good one at all in any way, shape or form. And I was maybe managing four or five people. Then I went to a mom and pop business where there was one central leader and I was just kind of a cog in that wheel. And I molded my, my style of leadership then to, you know, be, uh, a service leader and help out the staff with under me and, and kind of bring whatever they needed to my boss. And then at Verts, it was kind of like a, you know, a small to mid-size growing business where they were really trying to implement their leadership style. And I just, I kind of went along with whatever they needed, but it was a little bit autonomous in the sense that they were headquartered in Austin, not in Houston. So you kind of also have to develop a in store, in-store leadership that you are at the end of the day, the point person papa’s taught me that, you know, you can’t manage everybody the same, especially in a big restaurant like that. You do have to individualize your leadership style of people. And I think in my industry, I think that’s a really important lesson. Yeah.

Chris (23:38):



Some, because at the end of the day, when you’re managing people and you’re being a leader, there are the moments where you’re in a big, like pre-shift puddle and everybody’s listening to you. And in those scenarios, I would say I tend to do extremely well because I can command a presence. And then there’s the times where you have to sit someone aside and listen and just let them talk. And that is not necessarily you leading from, that’s not necessarily you leading in the sense that you are telling them what to do, but by you just listening Right,

Chris (24:14):



You’re showing them that you’re there for them. And I think I would describe my leadership style as, I don’t even know this, but I like experiential. You know, I’ve, I’m in the trenches with my people and I also know when to pull back and let them do their own thing.

Chris (24:30):

Well I think what you were describing there earlier is as a leader, how important it is when you’re talking about the listening side Yeah. Is to demonstrate and empathy. Totally. Right. Is, and you learn so much. I mean, you’re managing or leading people mm-hmm. <affirmative>, everyone’s different. And one size doesn’t fit all.


One size does not fit all. Especially in the restaurant industry where in a lot of hospitality where you’re dealing with teenagers, middle aged people and older people. I mean, just from the age perspective, let alone people’s different backgrounds, you have to, not everyone’s in the same bubble. Right.

Chris (25:05):



Know, you, I, and some of the best workers I have are teenagers and they’ve, it is their first job. They’ve never done anything before, but I’ve molded them into what I need at Craft Pita. And then other times you might get someone who’s a, you know, 20 year vet in the industry, but they don’t listen. So you have, you might have to stroke some egos and let them do their thing, but those two people you have to manage completely differently. Um, so yeah, it’s been definitely throughout the years, my leadership style has changed. And I think that’s a, I think that’s a good thing to, to acknowledge that you can go through ups and downs, but just constantly being, I feel like awareness, in my opinion, is probably the most important trait as a leader if you are the owner of a company. Because if you have that awareness that you might need to change your leadership style, or sometimes you gotta turn up, sometimes you gotta turn it down, that will take you really far.

Chris (25:56):

Very true. Very true. So interested to ask you about this. So you, you’ve expanded to a second location, you said earlier when you started, you were always planning to scale this business. So I have to think, this is a, a question on a lot of entrepreneurs’ minds. What does it take, or when do you know, when’s the right time to make that expansion? And you know, because you’re gonna be facing it, you probably are now, but when do you go to the third store? Totally. So what are some of the things that you look for that you’ve learned to look for, to know when it’s right. Of


Course. I think it’s, I think this applies to a lot of businesses and it definitely applies to the restaurant business One, obviously financials you have to make sure that you can afford to expand. Right. And I think that’s obviously an ob, that’s an obvious one, but you should be conservative. This is a tough business in the sense of it’s very capital intensive to open up a restaurant. Construction is a nightmare. Dealing with the city is a nightmare. You don’t, you can have a really good idea of what something will cost to build out a restaurant. And I guarantee you it’s, it’s wrong. I definitely had some struggles getting this store open and it was already a second generation restaurant, which only is supposed to be easy,

Chris (27:11):

But you a goes to, right. The lease terms and tenant allowances are important. And then timing of when you’re gonna actually rent commences off of completion. Exactly. All those, exactly.


Which the first store, you know, we dealt with a smaller landlord, a local landlord, and this new store over here on Bubble Speedway has a big national one. And just dealing with that legal process. And that was really eye-opening to me. But yeah, that all plays into the financial decision. Right. Secondly, I would say knowing when you’re ready is, it’s, it’s a management autonomy issue is, is the restaurant running itself?

Chris (27:51):



If you took a step back, what would happen? I was fortunate enough to kind of have a situation be forced upon me in that I had, I had to go on my honeymoon, I had to get married,

Chris (28:03):



You know, my wife wasn’t gonna let me get away with that one. So

Chris (28:06):

She was tired of waiting.


She, we, well actually I had proposed and then Covid pushed back our, okay.

Chris (28:12):

Our wedding


About two years. But it was kind of a good, Hey, I need to get this restaurant to function for two weeks without me. And obviously with Covid having all this stuff, I was very hands-on with the business. But I think a lot of small business owners specifically a lot of restaurant small business owners struggle with like literally trying to step away. You have to a, it’s active that don’t do it passively is I’m gonna walk away today and you know what if they mess up a catering order, if they mess up a few, this happens. That happens. You got to kind of, you know, eat sour grapes or else you’re never gonna be able to scale.

Chris (28:54):

Well and I think on that mess up part, I mean obviously it’s usually more in how you respond to the mistake than the fact that you made one, because we’re all human.


Yes. And

Chris (29:04):

Now if you consistently make mistakes, that’s one thing, but if you make it, your customer may not be happy, but how you respond and own it and make up for it. Absolutely. Or speak volumes as to whether they give grace.



Chris (29:17):

Right. Absolutely.


Two things on that. One, I always, one of my management things is, it’s okay if you make mistakes. I just care that you learn from them. If you show me you don’t learn from mistakes, that’s telling me you don’t care. Yeah. You know, good

Chris (29:30):



We’re it’s human. Whether it’s, you know, what we do is very, there’s a lot of errors, whether it’s temperature or technique, whatever. It’s just a matter of if you do, you learn from those mistakes. So if you have to step away from your business and your team makes a mistake, it’s very important to say, okay guys, how do we prevent this from happening again? And on that same point, this is something I learned from Papas, is that, you know, if you make a mistake and you train your guests that no matter what mistake happens at our restaurant, we’re gonna fix it. Whether that’s comping it, remaking it, giving them a gift card for the next time they come in, or just sometimes all people want is an apology or to be heard. It trains your guests that your money is good here. If you spend $50 here, we’re gonna make sure you get $50 worth of your time and money today.

Chris (30:22):



So I think that’s super important.

Chris (30:24):

Very good. Well, so let me ask you this. I mean, as we kind of wrap things up, what are one or two things you would advise anyone, whether it’s to start a restaurant or just any business to kind of keep in mind as they move forward with that plan, that dream, whatever it may be?


I would say, you know, to touch on a few things that we’ve already talked about, at the end of the day, the restaurant business is not about food. It is about people. It is about your own people and it is about your guests. You’re gonna spend a majority of your time dealing with your own people or dealing with guests. You’re not gonna spend a whole lot of time, you know, coming up with recipes and, and making sure the food turns out perfect. That’s obviously a given. But the restaurant industry is a people business. So you have to mold everything you do around taking care of your own people and taking care of guests. And if you approach it that way, you’re gonna be successful most of the time. And hopefully you’re halfway decent making Yeah. <laugh>. But that’s just probably the first thing I would tell people. Secondly, you know, I don’t wanna be one of those people that says stay away from the restaurant business, but this is, it is a, it is a business that requires high business acumen as well as knowing how to operate. I consider myself, you know, I’m a chef, I’ve been cooking for 10 years, but I’ll always consider myself a business, a businessman before a chef.

Chris (31:54):



And I think that’s an important, I think if you approach operating this in this line of work as being a, a businessman or woman, I think you’re going to be successful more than do I make delicious food?

Chris (32:06):

You’re a hundred percent right. I mean, if you can’t run a, in any industry, if you can’t run a disciplined business, yes. You can make the best product, which, whether it’s a plate of food or a widget Yeah. Your business won’t survive. Exactly.



Chris (32:20):

Else will take over that widget or replace you. Yeah. But your business won’t be there unless you can run a smart discipline business and that has financially, human capital, all. Yeah. There’s lots of tenants to it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> so Very true. Alright, so let’s have a little fun. Uh, this will be, you know, interesting from you since you’ve shared your passion for your food and from your culture. Do you prefer Tex-Mex or barbecue?


Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’m a big barbecue guy.

Chris (32:47):

All right. That’s


Probably my passion food.

Chris (32:48):

Oh, I love it. Okay.


Yeah, I’ll never get in the business. I actually just did a, a barbecue Cookoff in Midland at the Permian Basin Cookoff. I did barbecue for about 14 hours. I respect all my friends and barbecue so much more after doing that

Chris (33:02):

<laugh>. I bet.


So barbecue. For sure. Barbecue.

Chris (33:04):

It is. All right. So if you could take a 30 day sabbatical, which you’ve already explained how difficult that would be for you, where would you go? What would you do?


Oh man. 30 day sabbatical. I’ve always wanted to do a trip to Japan. I’ve yet to go there. It’s one of the, you know, culinary capitals of the world. I’m just, I would’ve liked to go there and kind of get out of my comfort zone from a perspective of not being able to speak the language and not being, you know, super familiar with the culture. So I probably do about 30 days in Japan if I could.

Chris (33:37):

Alright. And, uh, I don’t usually go here, but since you’re an expanding business, you’ve got two, when can we expect the third craft pita?


Ooh, third Craft Pita. I would, you know, we’re very comfortable with where we’re at right now. It’s gonna be a lot easier to find a third location when we already have two operating. And I tell my realtor team, Hey, give you the green light. I’d probably say, you know, 16 months.

Chris (34:01):

Okay. Okay. 16



Chris (34:02):

Well, uh, yeah, as I’ve said before and I’ve told you, I think you’re doing a, a great thing. It’s a great concept. The food’s outstanding and congratulations. Thank you


So much. I really appreciate Chris. It really means a lot.

Chris (34:12):

Well, thanks again for being here. Enjoyed hearing your story and I wish you the best success. Awesome.


Thank you.

Speaker 5 (34:20):

And there we have it. Another great episode. Don’t forget to check out the show notes at and you can find out more about all the ways our firm can help you at That’s it for this episode. Have a great week and we’ll talk to you next time.

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