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John Howie -- SPORT Restaurant, Seattle, WA

John HowieRR: Talk about the process of opening up a new restaurant.

Howie: I love the process. Not that it's not a lot of work because it is. But you get to put your ideas into action. See your vision come to life. Build incredible management teams. Create new foods and recipes. Then you get to introduce everyone to all of that and see their excitement for what you have done!

RR: What about staffing, can you really hire a bucket full of great people all at once like you need to do when opening a new restaurant?

Howie: We had over 850 people apply for 85 jobs. I think we hired an outstanding crew, very motivated, excited to be a part of SPORT. Ready to work and take care of our guests. We put people through a 3 interview and reference check process, and each person has to go through a final interview with me personally. I get to set my expectations for their performance and how they will be successful in our environment. It is not easy but fun and exciting!


RR: What are your most & least favorite aspects of running a restaurant?

Chef: Most favorite is the creative side--creating new recipes, systems, tools etc. Seeing the crew or managers develop, gain confidence and ownership. I even like the numbers! My least favorite has got to be dealing with employee or personal problems. Although it is a part of the business and I believe we do a good job with them, it is always hard!

RR: What thoughts about your restaurants keep you up at night?

Chef: Usually it's just the little things. I like to make sure that everything is covered, and I will sit up at night and go through a list in my mind until I'm satisfied that it is covered or until I fall asleep.

John Howie is Chef/Owner of SPORT & Seastar Restaurant in Seattle.

This was an interview excerpt -- click here for the full interview...

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