Top 5 Books Every Restaurant Owner Should Read – Total Food Service

I wanted to suggest five of my favorite business books that cover a variety of topics related to operating your restaurant. Most of these books are easy reads or listens if you prefer audio books like I do. Some of these books, you might not have considered reading as a restaurant owner but definitely should read if your serious about the growth of your business. Happy reading (or listening)!
I’ll never forget sitting on the couch at my in-law’s house one day, admittedly a little bored, and there was a book on the end table that caught my eye. I started flipping through The E-Myth and was blown away by what I was reading.
I immediately found the book on Audible and binge-listened. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that it totally changed my life! 
The basic idea behind the book that every business has a technician, an entrepreneur, and a manager. The reason why most small businesses fail (or struggle) is because they are run by a technician – the person who knows the technical work involved in the job.  However, technicians are usually not well trained at “running the business”.  While the technical work (cooking, serving, bar-tending) may be done well, if the HR, payroll, insurance, marketing, accounting and taxes are not addressed, the business will struggle.  The E-Myth introduces most owners to building systems and removing yourself from the role of the technician, stepping into the role of manager, and then eventually entrepreneur.  
The E-Myth is an easy read that clearly outlines the systems to put in place in your business and how to move from technician to business owner. 
Are you feeling stuck? Ready to up your game? Your hard work is starting to pay off, but there is something standing between you and the next level of achievement. Perhaps one small flaw–a behavior you barely even recognize–is the only thing that’s keeping you from where you want to be. 
This is the premise behind Marshall Goldsmith’s book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. This is another easy read about the management and leadership behaviors that hold us back. 
Marshall shares some great stories, examples, and scenarios that allow you to really dig inside of yourself and be honest. He talks about correcting behaviors that are holding you back, but you have to be ready to be honest with yourself.
Danny Meyer started Union Square Cafe when he was 27, with a good idea and hopeful investors. He is now the co-owner of a restaurant empire that includes Shake Shack. How did he do it? How has he consistently beaten the odds in one of the toughest trades around?

In Setting the Table, Danny shares the lessons he learned while developing his method of doing business, “Enlightened Hospitality”. It’s a business philosophy that emphasizes putting the power of hospitality to work in a new and counterintuitive way: the first and most important recipients of hospitality are the people who work for you. In descending order of priority, the next most important receivers of hospitality are guests, the community, suppliers, and investors. This way of setting priorities stands more traditional business models on their heads, but Danny considers it the foundation of every success he and his restaurants have had.
I think you are going to love the great attention to detail in this book, as well as Danny’s unique take on the hospitality and service industry. After all, he has created a winning recipe when it comes to building a restaurant empire!
Too many restaurant owners and operators are stressed out, exhausted, overwhelmed and struggle to create the profits and freedom that drove them to open their restaurant. Especially in this day and age!
Make It Happen explores the myth that the restaurant business is harder than other industries. It challenges the belief that you must be in your restaurant 24/7 just so things get done right. It defines what’s really needed to run a successful and profitable restaurant, and teaches operators the systems, processes, and procedures needed to achieve their goals. Then clearly demonstrates how to apply these systems for accelerated growth.
This book is intended to be a quick read with extremely digestible information taken from the author’s personal experience working in restaurants, owning and operating his own restaurants, and now consulting 100s of restaurants on how to hone their operations for maximum growth.
This book is not for the faint at heart; nor is it a weekend reading sitting by the beach and having a Mai Tai kind of book. This is serious business read, but it’s incredible information for any business owner wanting to learn how to properly measure and motivate a team using data and actual information! I don’t think I’ve ever paused or bookmarked an audiobook more than I did this one for little nuggets of great information.
The idea behind The Four Disciplines of Execution (The 4DX) is that you have to execute. I have a quote that I like to share with my clients, “Ideas are only 40%. Execution is the other 80%.” I know that’s fuzzy math and it’s intentional because coming up with great ideas is only one part of the equation; executing them is the other. You have to execute on your ideas in order to make them reality, and execution is the hardest part, right?
If you or your team is struggling with getting things done and moving the ball forward, or if you’re not executing day to day the way you want it mostly likely can be attributed to one of the 4DX in the book. 
I know it might seem impossible to find the time to read a business book but please consider this time an investment in both you and your business. The next time you’re browsing Amazon or Audible, I hope you consider adding one of these 5 books to your library.
Ryan GromfinRyan Gromfin is an author, speaker, chef, restaurateur, and founder of,, and, and author of Make It Happen. He is the most followed restaurant coach in the world helping Restaurant Owners and Operators increase profits, improve operations, and scale and grow their businesses.
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