Cover image for Lessons in excellence from Charlie Trotter
Lessons in excellence from Charlie Trotter
Clarke, Paul, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley, Calif. : Ten Speed Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix. 262 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX911.3.M27 C53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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.

Author Notes

Paul Clarke is VP sales and marketing at Sandelman & Associates, a San Clemente, Calif.-based independent research company that provides the restaurant industry with consumer insights. For five years, Clarke was editor of Chef , a trade magazine read by chefs nationally. For the past 15 years, he has worked as a public relations and marketing executive, working with leading restaurant and food and beverage companies. Clarke 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 and resides in Barrington, Ill., with his wife and four children.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

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

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vi
Introductionp. vii
Envisioning Excellence
1. The Key Ingredient Is Passionp. 2
2. Examine Your Values Rather Than Everyone Else'sp. 7
3. Do What Fulfills Youp. 12
4. Know What the Hell You Want Your Company to Be and Tell Everyonep. 18
5. Think Big, Because There's Always Room at the Topp. 25
Your Staff (Part I): Hiring and Training for Excellence
6. Hire for Desire Rather Than Experiencep. 32
7. How to Brainwash Your Employees and Supervise for Your Super Visionp. 37
8. Get to Know Your Employeesp. 44
9. Build Teamsp. 49
10. Stellar Service Results from Stellar Trainingp. 54
11. Cross-Training Isn't Just for Atheletesp. 60
12. Fire Employees Who Don't Meet Your Standardsp. 65
Your Staff (Part II): Excellence in Leadership and Management
13. Set the Tone Every Dayp. 74
14. Create Anxiety to Get the Most Out of Your Employeesp. 78
15. Set Deadlines, Prioritize, and React Quickly When Things Don't Get Donep. 82
16. Precise Directions Lead to Precise Resultsp. 86
17. Take Responsibility for the Detailsp. 90
Your Staff (Part III): The Entrepreneur as Motivator
18. Create Challenges for Your Employees and Encourage Them to Challenge Themselvesp. 98
19. Be a Cheerleader and Recognize Employeesp. 101
20. Give All Employees the Freedom to Reach the Topp. 104
21. Allow Employees to Do Work They Enjoyp. 109
22. Give Employees Major Responsibilitiesp. 114
23. Prepare Employees for Their Futures, Even If It Means They'll Move Onp. 122
24. Reward Employees Generously, Frequently, and Unexpectedlyp. 127
Innovating for Excellence
25. Create Challenges for Yourself and Your Businessp. 136
26. Create an Environment Where Innovation Is Possiblep. 141
27. Innovators Hunt for External Opportunitiesp. 148
28. Allow Employees to Own Their Innovative Ideasp. 153
29. Act Quickly, Because the Problem with Instant Gratification Is It Takes Too Longp. 157
30. Ask Employees What Needs to Be Improvedp. 162
31. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Customers What Needs to Be Improved, Even If It Hurtsp. 168
32. Continually Improve Processes, Upgrade Facilities, and Train Constantlyp. 174
33. Reinvest in Your Business, or What to Do with All the Money You're Going to Makep. 179
Excellence and Your Public
34. Touch Your Customers (Figuratively, of Course)p. 186
35. Pick Your Customers or They'll Pick Youp. 191
36. Don't Be Afraid to Fire Customersp. 195
Excellence in Marketing, Publicity, and Sales
37. Determine the Information Needed Before Conducting Market Researchp. 204
38. Before You Waste a Lot of Time, Find Out If the Information You Need Already Existsp. 208
39. Design and Administer a Research Study and Use the Infop. 212
40. When It Comes to Publicity, Only a Sharpshooter Will Dop. 217
41. Conventional Press Releases Aren't Worth the Postagep. 222
42. React Quickly When Crises Arise to Avoid Bad Publicityp. 228
43. Develop a Targeted Marketing Database of Customersp. 234
44. Go Ahead, Toot Your Own Hornp. 238
45. Plan to Sell Your Solep. 242
Excellence in Public Service
46. When You're Not Managing, Motivating, and Marketing, Champion Causesp. 252
Indexp. 258