Have You Eaten Yet?

Chef Felipe Donnelly: A Conversation From Brooklyn

August 03, 2021 Kassata Bollman / Chef Felipe Donnelly Episode 18
Have You Eaten Yet?
Chef Felipe Donnelly: A Conversation From Brooklyn
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today my guest is Chef Felipe Donnelly.
He joins us from Brooklyn where his restaurants Colonia Verde & Disco Tacos  are located.

Today We’ll Be Discussing:
- Mantras
- Breaking out of a creative rut
- Customers

https://www.instagram.com/feldonnelly/?hl=en


https://www.instagram.com/discotacosnyc/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/coloniaverde/?hl=en

[[MUSIC]]


I’M KASSATA BOLLMAN. 

TODAY MY GUEST IS CHEF FELIPE DONNELLY.


HE JOINS US FROM BROOKLYN.


I’LL START WITH A BRIEF INTRODUCTION:


FELIPE USED TO WORK IN MARKETING.


HE HAD A NATURAL CALLING TO THE KITCHEN….SO HE STARTED HOSTING DINNERS AT HOME. 

NEW YORK MAGAZINE ATTENDED ONE OF THOSE DINNERS….AND WROTE ABOUT IT….AND THEN THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT SHOWED UP…. AND SHUT IT DOWN….AND THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS:

TIMING IS EVERYTHING.

THAT FORCED HIM TO MAKE A DECISION….. AND FOLLOW HIS HAPPINESS.

HE OPENED THEIR FIRST RESTAURANT COMODO ON MACDOUGAL STREET….

A 20 SEAT RESTAURANT...PERFECT SIZE TO JUMP IN THE INDUSTRY & EXPERIMENT. 

AFTER THAT: HE WENT ALL IN….. 

CURRENTLY HE OWNS TWO RESTAURANTS IN BROOKLYN: COLONIA VERDE AND DISCO TACOS...PLUS A CATERING COMPANY…. CALLED COMPARTI.


TODAY WE’LL BE DISCUSSING….MANTRAS, 

BREAKING OUT OF A CREATIVE RUT...& CUSTOMERS…..….


SO I’LL START BY ASKING…..AS WE ALWAYS DO….FELIPE …..

 “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?” AND IF YOU HAVE….WHAT DID YOU EAT TODAY?

 

 

[[FELIPE DISCUSSES]]

 

 

 

 

 

 





MANTRA:


I READ THAT YOU HAVE A SAYING THAT TIES TO ALL OF YOUR PROJECTS...I’LL LET YOU SAY IT IN SPANISH….BUT IT’S TRANSLATION IS 

‘FOOD TASTES BETTER WHEN SHARED.' 

THE GOAL IS TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO FULLY OPEN UP...

THIS IS YOUR MANTRA WITH EVERYTHING THAT YOU DO. 


IT’S AMAZING TO ME HOW MANY RESTAURANTS DON’T KNOW WHO THEY ARE...AND WHAT THEIR VISION IS….IT SHOULDN’T AMAZE ME BECAUSE THINK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET….. DON’T TRULY KNOW WHO THEY ARE…. AND HAVE THAT SENSE OF SELF….OF COURSE KNOWING WHO YOU ARE ISN’T EASY…..SOMETIMES WHEN YOU TRULY SEE WHO YOU ARE...YOU DON’T LIKE IT….IT’S A JOURNEY...WITH A LOT OF UPS AND DOWNS.


BUT….I GUESS WHEN I THINK OF RESTAURANTS I SAY…..OK, THIS IS A PROJECT WITH MONEY INVOLVED ETC….SO A CLEAR VISION IS A MUST….BUT STILL IT’S RARE….


WHEN THERE’S A LACK OF A CLEAR VISION….THAT’S WHEN YOU SEE A RESTAURANT TRY A MILLION THINGS…..THEY’RE FLAILING, TRYING TO SEE WHAT WORKS…


WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME IS STICKING TO A CLEAR VISION….AND NOT BACKING DOWN….AND IT’S HARD AT TIMES…..CUSTOMERS MIGHT COMPLAIN...YOUR TEAM MIGHT NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND IT…..BUT IN THE END...A CLEAR VISION HAS WORKED FOR ME 100 PERCENT OF THE TIME…..


THAT VISION ATTRACTS THE CUSTOMERS & TEAM THAT ARE MEANT TO BE IN MY LIFE…. AT THAT VERY MOMENT..….IT TOOK ME UNTIL RECENTLY TO FULLY UNDERSTAND ALL OF THIS…..IT TOOK A PANDEMIC…..WHERE COMPLETE CONTROL WAS NOT AN OPTION……


BUT IT’S AMAZING TO SEE HOW SYNCHRONISTIC EVERYTHING GETS….WHEN YOU SIMPLY STICK TO A VISION …...AND ACCEPT & WELCOME CHANGE…..


SO WHEN I SAW THAT YOU TOOK THIS A STEP FURTHER….. AND HAVE ALWAYS HAD A MANTRA….I SAID...HE GETS IT….I COULD LEARN A LOT FROM HIM...


SO FELIPE…..PLEASE EXPAND ON YOUR MANTRA …..AND TELL US…..HOW HAVING A VISION... HAS PLAYED A PART IN YOUR RESTAURANTS….

 

 

[[FELIPE DISCUSSES]]


BREAKING OUT OF A CREATIVE RUT:


TO SAY THE LAST YEAR HAS BE CHALLENGING FOR OUR INDUSTRY IS THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR…..


WE’VE BEEN DEALING WITH A TON OF MENIAL PROJECTS...LIKE APPLYING FOR GOVERNMENT FUNDING….


CREATIVITY CAN GET LOST REAL FAST….SO FELIPE.....HOW DO YOU GET OUT OF A CREATIVE RUT? 



[[FELIPE DISCUSSES]]

 

 





























CUSTOMERS


NOW, I’M GOING TO READ A FEW RECENT HEADLINES….AS WE MOVE INTO THE NEXT TOPIC….


THIS FIRST HEADLINE IS FROM EATER…..BUT I FIRST SAW THIS STORY IN THE NY TIMES 


QUOTE:

“CAPE COD RESTAURANT CLOSES TO GIVE WORKERS A BREAK FROM CUSTOMER ABUSE”


NEXT ONE:


THIS ONE’S FROM NPR 


QUOTE:

“LOW PAY, NO BENEFITS, RUDE CUSTOMERS: RESTAURANT WORKERS QUIT AT RECORD RATE”


SADLY I COULD GO ON REPORTING WITH SIMILAR RECENT HEADLINES…..THE POINT IS...OUR INDUSTRY IS AT CRITICAL MOMENT….A MOMENT WHERE WE CAN MAKE SOME MEANINGFUL CHANGE...BUT WE NEED PEOPLE TO BE OUTSPOKEN AND HAVE A CLEAR VISION….


CUSTOMER ABUSE NEEDS TO END TODAY….CUSTOMERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT PRICES NEED TO GO UP…...THAT QUALITY FOOD IS NOT CHEAP…..BENEFITS AND GOOD PAY….ARE A MUST…...AND RESPECT NEEDS TO BE PLACED ON THIS PROFESSION…...THESE ARE NOT THROW AWAY JOBS FOR ASPIRING ACTORS…..IT’S A PROFESSION FOR CREATIVE & HIGHLY ORGANIZED PEOPLE….


I’VE TOLD PLENTY OF STORIES ABOUT CRAZY CUSTOMERS ON THIS PODCAST….SO I DON’T NEED TO GO DOWN THAT RABBIT HOLE….BUT I’LL TELL YOU ANOTHER ASPECT THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE... THAT IS CONNECTED TO CUSTOMERS ..


WE USE THE RESERVATION SYSTEM RESY….THEY AUTOMATICALLY EMAIL EVERY CUSTOMER AFTER THEY DINE AT A RESTAURANT…..


THE SURVEY THEY SEND IS PRETTY INTENSE…..


IT STARTS WITH SOMETHING ALONG THE LINES OF 


“DID THE HOST SMILE AT YOU”....AS YOU CONTINUE IT MOVES TO EVERY ASPECT OF SERVICE…..”WAS YOUR SERVER HELPFUL?”......MANY QUESTIONS…..


HONESTLY I FORGOT ABOUT THIS SURVEY FOR YEARS…..I ORIGINALLY HAD ANOTHER SYSTEM…. AND THEN RESY BOUGHT THAT COMPANY…..WITH THE ORIGINAL COMPANY I TOLD THEM TO GET RID OF THAT…..


SURVEYS WERE NOT SENT OUT…..


BUT RESY HAS BEEN DOING THIS ON OUR BEHALF….


IT WASN'T UNTIL I DINED OUT AND RECEIVED A FOLLOW UP SURVEY MYSELF…. THAT I LOOKED INTO OUR ANALYTICS….. AND SAW THAT WE HAD THIS SURVEY…


IMMEDIATELY I CONTACTED RESY TO HAVE THEM REMOVE IT….



THESE SURVEYS HELP TO CREATE THESE ABUSIVE CUSTOMERS….THIS IS JUST ONE SMALL EXAMPLE OF WHAT IS NOT HELPING OUR INDUSTRY……


BY GIVING ABUSIVE ENTITLED CUSTOMERS PLATFORMS TO COMPLAIN….YOU ARE VALIDATING THEIR FEELINGS…

YOU’RE LITERALLY LETTING THEM KNOW…. THAT THEIR OPINION MATTERS….


FELIPE….WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR CHANGING OUR INDUSTRY ?


 

 

[[FELIPE DISCUSSES]]

















TAKEAWAY:


FELIPE, THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US …....

I LIKE ENDING…. BY ASKING…. IF THERE’S ANY TAKEAWAY THAT YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE WITH LISTENERS…... THAT CAN POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THEIR LIVES….. 

IT COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WE JUST DISCUSSED, A PRO TIP…. OR GENERAL LIFE ADVICE THAT YOU LIVE BY ….…


 

 

[[FELIPE DISCUSSES]]




……& FELIPE WHERE CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU  ?



[[FELIPE DISCUSSES]]




OUTRO:


THANKS FOR LISTENING….AND IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY….... FOLLOW  “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?” ….WHEREVER YOU GET YOUR PODCASTS….



[[MUSIC]]





MANTRA
BREAKING OUT OF A CREATIVE RUT
CUSTOMERS
TAKEAWAY