April 24, 2020

The Art of the Pivot: Iron Chef Eric Greenspan

The Art of the Pivot: Iron Chef Eric Greenspan

Chef Eric Greenspan is probably best known for his appearances on big tv shows like Iron Chef America. What most folks don't know is the resilience required for Eric to carve out a place for himself within this industry. On today's show, Chef Greenspan shares his greatest successes, worst defeats and the lessons learned from each.

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SHOW NOTES

  • 9/11 caused Eric’s first major pivot
  • Worked at high end restaurant in New York
  • After 9/11, the owners told staff they will no longer pay them but they can work for free
  • Found this to be a distasteful way of dealing with crisis
  • Creating his own opportunities
  • Saw two positions advertised for line cooks
  • Offered to do both jobs for 1.5 pay
  • Seizing new opportunity despite a major life change
  • Was offered Sous chef position at Patina which quickly became an exec chef position
  • From 9/11 crisis to Exec chef at Patina in 8 months
  • How to deal with adversity
  • Believing that there is always an opportunity around the corner
  • Paying attention to the signals that opportunities may be on their way
  • Taking jobs that you don’t feel ready for
  • Not passing up the opportunity, ready or not
  • Having confidence to figure it out
  • Finding the right work environment
  • Conclusion: working for other people was not the right working environment
  • Had to find a new more autonomous working environment
  • Eric was unable to adapt to the corporate structure at Patina imposing boundaries on his work
  • Became a partner at another restaurant but also left quickly
  • The value of teaching as a chef
  • The greatest chefs are great teachers
  • Teachers allows you to hone skills of your staff and push them to excellence
  • Uncovering every possible avenue to get what you want
  • Potential restaurant space needed $25k to extend the lease
  • Did not give up on trying to save the money despite very limited time frame.
  • Asked friends and family
  • Sold car on eBay
  • First restaurant was hit by the recession and writers’ strike
  • Surviving during crisis
  • Running many promotions per week to attract customers
  • Bought food from restaurant depots
  • Businesses don’t succeed because you become famous
  • Restaurant business success keys
  • Being well run
  • Being in the right place
  • Being well funded
  • Making money in the restaurant business is having multiple restaurants
  • Success with Cloud Kitchens
  • Creating multiple brands with different concepts
  • All food from the multiple brands cooked and fulfilled by same staff
  • No front-of-house
  • Delivery only model
Transcript

Josh Kopel:
Today's episode is brought to you by Yelp, whose mission is to connect people with great local businesses. They're also helping me connect with you, which is totally awesome. Now here, we, go.

Eric Greenspan:
There's always a light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dark it appears, and it's just, that like that's how you have to deal with the person. You've got to just dust yourself off and pay attention to the signals, and be open to receive them and pivot quickly to take advantage.

Josh Kopel:
Welcome to Full Comp, a show offering insight into the future of the hospitality industry, featuring restaurateurs, thought leaders and innovators, served up, on the house.

Josh Kopel:
I am Joshua Kopel and on today's show, we chat with chef Eric Greenspan, who shares his greatest successes, worst defeats, and the lessons learned from each. Chef Eric Greenspan is probably best known for his appearances on big TV shows like Iron Chef America. What most folks don't know is the resilience required for Eric to carve out a place for himself within this industry. Here, he shares one of the largest obstacles to cross his path.

Eric Greenspan:
My entire career has been highlighted by obstacles, both of my own doing and obstacles of just the world turning in a way that you weren't expecting it to. And what's been important for me hasn't been as much the obstacle, but the response. How does one shift their lives in order to overcome obstacles when life throws them your way, especially the unexpected ones? Like for example, the first one, I was a line cook in New York City for about four years. I worked at Union Pacific for Rocco DiSpirito, and for David Bouley at Bouley Bakery, for Paul Leibrandt for a short period of time, I was his sous chef. And in 2000, 2001, I was a line cook for Alain Ducasse. So I helped Alain Ducasse open up at the Essex House, the first one of these fine dining, three star Michelin, French chef experiences in America. And it was an absolute honor to be a part of it. And we can talk about that some other time.

Eric Greenspan:
But in the middle of that, about a year into that experience, was when 9/11 happened. In fact, I remember taking the subway into work. I didn't know what to do. I watched the buildings go down and I'm like, "I got to go to work", and I just figured like this is bad, but I don't know what effect this is going to have on work. So I'm just going to go in. I remember showing up to work and being the only guy there. And I just put away all the fish and put away all the meat and put away all the vegetables, nobody showed up. So I left. And I remember riding the subway back from the Essex House to my apartment uptown, and there was literally shellshocked people covered in Ash on the subway. And I'll never forget that image of just, some of us just kind of in normal clothes, a little bit confused, and some of us who were leaving the subway, having just been deeply in what was happening.

Eric Greenspan:
And the next day, I got a call from my chef. No, I don't think it was a call. Actually, we went in, I went into work the next day and everybody was there. And the chef, the French chef, made an announcement that said, "Look, we want to continue operations. We want to keep this restaurant going, but in light of this tragedy and what we think it's going to do for business, we can no longer pay the staff to work here. So you can work here, and we'd appreciate it if you worked here, but we can't pay you." And that was heartbreaking, and frankly, super insensitive, you know what I mean? Like I considered myself a New Yorker at that time, I'd been in town for four years. And to be told that you can work but not get paid at this fine dining restaurant, in the middle of a national tragedy, was shocking.

Eric Greenspan:
And so I quit. As much as I loved working there, as much as the knowledge was amazing and the experience, to me, that inappropriate sense of telling people that they can work for free while they're processing through this. I mean, not to mention the fact, we had lost a friend too. One of the guys who was a line cook with us at Ducasse, had gone on to be a sommelier assistant at Windows on the World, in the World Trade Center.

Josh Kopel:
Wow.

Eric Greenspan:
And was covering somebody's shift for lunch that day, and went down with the buildings. And so like in the midst of all of that loss and all of that shock to be told that we can't pay you anymore, was a kind of a kick in the gut. I didn't want to leave New York though. And so, it was time for a pivot. And so I started applying for jobs and I found a gig, Joe Citarella was opening up a restaurant called Citarella's. He got a high end grocery store chain in New York city, and they opened up a brick and mortar restaurant at Rockefeller Center. And I remember walking into the kitchen and talking to the chef and I said, "I see you're looking for two line cooks, I'll take one and a half pay and I'll do both their jobs", because it was important to me to stay in New York City. It was important to me to not let this tragedy change my love for the city and my support for the city, and the value. And so that's what we did.

Josh Kopel:
That opportunity lasted how long?

Eric Greenspan:
I was there for about three or four months, was doing both jobs, and was excelling at it. But I realized, you know what, I'm not learning anything. And at the end of the day, the reason why I was in New York was to learn. And whereas I wanted to stay, to be supportive of the city and to not let terrorism chase me away, I also needed to kind of further my career and just doing the two line cooks job. While it was satisfying to be like, "Fuck yeah, I can do this", and continue to stay, it was stagnating my career. And so I got the opportunity at that time, Walter Manzke, who owns Republique now, and Petty Cash, and about to open up Bicyclette and stuff like that, Walter Manzke was my chef. I did a three month stint at Patina when they first reopened, as a line cook, before I moved back to New York to do the stint at Ducasse.

Eric Greenspan:
And so Walter Manzke called me and said he was going back to becoming the chef at Patina, and he wanted me to be his sous chef. And so I moved back to Los Angeles. Bittersweet, sad to leave New York under the circumstances, but excited to move the career along. And so I became the sous chef at Patina and then Walter, who had just taken the job back, four months later left and Joachim offered me the executive chef job. So I was 27 years old, and all of a sudden, I was the executive chef at the time, was considered the best restaurant in Los Angeles.

Josh Kopel:
Amazing.

Eric Greenspan:
So yeah, it's interesting how I went from working at the best restaurants in New York, is what I considered Ducasse at the time, and through this tragedy, through a various sense of different pivots, six, eight months later, I found myself with the job of a lifetime, as the executive chef and on a huge stage, the executive chef of Patina, and on a huge stage and ready to kind of build my own team and to create my own voice and to kind of start me on this career as an executive chef in the Los Angeles food scene.

Josh Kopel:
What an amazing opportunity. What an amazing turnaround.

Eric Greenspan:
There's something around the corner.

Josh Kopel:
Have you always had that perspective?

Eric Greenspan:
There's always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark it appears, and to just, like that's how you have to deal with adversity. You've got to just dust yourself off and pay attention to the signals and be open to receive them, and pivot quickly to take advantage.

Josh Kopel:
And so you're at Patina. How's it going?

Eric Greenspan:
I mean, crazy. I had only been the sous chef for four months. That was my first sous chef job. So to be offered the executive chef job, on a stage like that, was insane. Totally ill prepared for that. But I had been ill prepared my whole life. I was a dishwasher and became the head cook at a breakfast joint while I was in college within three weeks. At Union Pacific, I became the chef de partie garde-manger in like a month period of time. From Ducasse, I moved up from veg to cook, when I was line cook at Bouley, I remember Brian Bistrong, my chef, literally turning to my buddy Doug Psaltis, who was the protein cook and I moved up to veg station from garde-manger. He literally said to Doug, "Doug, take it easy on Eric, he's totally not ready for this job, but I think he can do it."

Josh Kopel:
That's incredible.

Eric Greenspan:
That's kind of been the story of my life, has always been like, "All right, well here's an opportunity that I'm not ready for it. Let's go." You don't pass on the opportunity. You don't ever go like, "I'm not ready for this. I think I'm just going to not do it." You got to be like, "Fuck it, let's go."

Josh Kopel:
I love that. So you're at Patina, things are going incredibly well. The restaurant's doing very well. How do you feel about it?

Eric Greenspan:
It's been going well. The restaurant's doing okay. We're doing good numbers. It's funny, our food costs was out of whack because I told them, I was the third executive chef in nine months there. And so I was like, we're considered the most expensive restaurant in Los Angeles. We definitely weren't. And I'm like, "You know what? I'm just going to cook the food I want to cook." And I costed it out and like said like, "Look, this is what we need to charge." And they said, "No, we need to charge less than that." And I said, "I'd rather cook the best food I can since we're considered the most expensive food in town, and just cost it appropriately." And I had a fight with corporate all the time. And instead of lowering my food expectations, I would just send them a spreadsheet every month that said, "Here's why our food cost is out of whack and if you want to change the price, then you can, but I'm not going to change the food."

Eric Greenspan:
So they were going to open up another restaurant at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and they decided that instead, they would move Patina there. That was going to be a different restaurant. That was going to be pre-theater, that was going to be a little bit less sophisticated than what I was doing at Patina. And mind you, we had just gotten reviewed by Wine Spectator at the time. Zagat put us in the top three, Zagat was a thing at the time. Wine Spectator's reviews was the thing at the time and I think that the quote was, "I've never had a better meal in Los Angeles than the near perfect one I had cooked by Eric Greenspan at the time." And Joachim had threatened me. He was like, "If you don't get top five, I'd start getting your resume together." And then we got number one, and I didn't hear from him for like a week and a half.

Eric Greenspan:
But when they decided to move to the concert hall, we mutually decided that that was not a restaurant that I was going to be a part of. And so, that was another change, that was another pivot. And I consulted for a while and moved around and then Tim Goodell made me an offer to be, what I thought, was a partner in a restaurant called Meson G, at the old Citrus restaurant space. And again, we opened that restaurant, rave reviews, but all of the reviews were like, Tim Goodell was so smart to let Eric Greenspan take over the kitchen. And we're getting four star reviews and every review is saying that. And I'm reading it like, "Stop, stop, stop, stop, fuck man, you're going to get me fired." Like this guy's a chef, he doesn't want to hear that. And alas, that lasted about four months. And I found myself in another kind of career pivot. I was killing it. The restaurant was filled, the reviews were great. And yet because of ego, I lost my job again. And not by ego, the partners' egos. And at that point I swore, "You know what? I'm never working for somebody else ever again."

Josh Kopel:
How old were you and what year was this?

Eric Greenspan:
I don't even remember, man. I think that was 2004, so I was 29, maybe 30, I was 29. And so I was like, "I'm never going to work for somebody else again." I didn't look for a chef job and so I pivoted and I took a job at a culinary school. And I literally taught culinary school for two years while I looked for spaces and I looked for investors. In fact found by investors, one of my students, at the culinary school.

Josh Kopel:
Wow. Did you enjoy teaching?

Eric Greenspan:
I loved it. And I think that's another really important part, kind of along the string of like how to adapt to challenges. I made up my mind that I wasn't going to work at a restaurant for anybody else ever again. And so I needed to find something else to pay my bills and to do. And for me, I was like, you know what, I've always viewed my job as a chef. I always say the most important thing as a chef is to be a teacher. It's not to be a good cook, it's not to be creative, it's not to be good at the dining room, it's to be a leader and to be a teacher. Because if you can teach your staff how to do what you need them to do, you can push them harder than you've ever pushed them, and that's where excellence occurs. And so I figured, wow, makes a lot of sense, let's teach at a culinary school, let's hone those skills and let's shape those skills, because I wasn't going to take another cook job. I wasn't going to take another chef job for somebody else. And so I didn't know what else to do. And I loved it, man.

Josh Kopel:
And so now it's 2006, and you go out on your own again.

Eric Greenspan:
You're good at math.

Josh Kopel:
I know.

Eric Greenspan:
Wow. You did that in your head. 2006, 2007, I found a space that I wanted to open up a restaurant. I had been in and out of a couple of different partnerships of looking through spaces, front of the house guys were going to be my partners who couldn't hold on for as long as we had to hold on. We spent thousands of dollars negotiating out spaces and falling through on things. And I finally found a space that I thought was going to work. But they would only sign, like I only had 30 days to close the deal and 30 days wasn't going to be enough to extend the lease. But again, I knew I had 30 days and I needed to extend the lease, and I didn't have any money. And I remember asking my grandparents, God rest their soul. But at the time they were alive and I said, "I don't expect much of an inheritance from you, if you're going to give me an inheritance, now's the time because I need some money to keep this place in escrow, while I raise the money.

Eric Greenspan:
That was the thing, I had 30 days of escrow and I needed at least 60 days to raise the money. But I wasn't going to waiver. And so my grandparents gave me five grand, my uncle invested 15, and I needed five more because I had told the real estate broker, I said, "I need to extend it 30 days," and he said, "I need you to put 25 grand then into the escrow because I need proof that you actually have-"

Eric Greenspan:
Actually wait a minute. Before that, when I told them I wanted to go into escrow on the space, he said, "Write me a check for 500 bucks." And I said, "Why?" And he said, "If you're willing to write me a check for 500 bucks right now, I know that you're serious." And I said, "But why would a serious person just give you a check for 500 bucks?" And the guy's like, "That's what you need to do." So I remember having to write that check and it was like almost the last 500 bucks that I had. I mean, I was a teacher at the time, I did not have that much money, but I wrote it. Fast forward, I knew that I needed to give this guy another 25 grand to keep the place in escrow while I finalized my raise. And so my uncle gave me 15, and my grandparents gave me my inheritance of five, and I had 5,000 left that I needed to raise, and there was two days left.

Eric Greenspan:
And I had a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere. I put it on eBay and I called all my friends around the country and was like, "I need you guys to bid up from around the country, so doesn't look like we're colluding on this, because I need five grand. And all my friends were bidding up on this '67 Belvedere. And some dude in St. Louis wound up bidding 5,200 bucks to buy the '67 Plymouth Belvedere. Boom, we stayed in escrow. We opened to rave reviews. We are the runner up next to Mozza and Fresh. I think it was the runner up next to Mozza. No, Mozza was a runner up with us for best new restaurant, LA Magazine. Fresh, Jason Travi's restaurant, was number one.

Eric Greenspan:
Rave reviews. People were writing on blogs and stuff that like a seat on the back patio at The Foundry on Melrose was like meant that you had arrived in Hollywood. We were packed beyond belief. We were killing it. And I was like, "Dude, you made it." I was 31 at a time. And I was like, "Dude, you made it." And then came the writers' strike. And so, I was in Hollywood. We had a big Hollywood clientele. I had meetings every day for all of the agencies and for the writers and the directors and all those people. And the next thing you know, the bottom just fell out, production stopped. I mean this time the pivot was, stay alive no matter what. And so I basically turned into the P.T. Barnum of the restaurant. I was doing grilled cheese nights and gordita nights and bluesy Tuesday in the front lounge with bands, and we did crawfish boils on the back patio, and we did like DJed brunches. We literally did every sort of promotion we possibly could.

Eric Greenspan:
I stopped ordering from vendors and I would just take whatever cash I had in the register and drive to Restaurant Depot and that's where I did all of my shopping. And I'll tell you, you really learn about what kind of chef, like any chef can order high-end ingredients and farmer's market stuff and figure out how to make great menus. When you can charge $65 for a tasting menu that you built off of Restaurant Depot products, then you're a fucking [inaudible 00:00:19:42]. My staff believed in me. I worked tirelessly every day, I did not take a day off. So nobody thought that I was slacking and I wouldn't do what I was asking them to do. And my staff sometimes was behind. By the time we wound up closing the Foundry, and the story doesn't end well, but by the time we ended up closing the Foundry, but it was seven years in, we survived. Seven years through the recession. And then the challenges that the recession threw our way financially. I was six weeks behind on wages and tips for my staff. And they still all showed up on the last day of work because they knew that I was going to make it happen for them.

Josh Kopel:
What year is it now?

Eric Greenspan:
So it was 2014, and again, another pivot. We just realized that the Foundry was too strapped in debt, it wasn't going to make it. We had tried to raise money, we were building Greenspan's Grilled Cheese next door. And we had tried to get that open before we had the close the Foundry, as sort of to give it a little shot. I had just won Iron Chef and had done next Iron Chef, and my TV career was starting to take off. And I sat there and I was like, maybe TV will rescue this restaurant, and it didn't. Businesses don't succeed because you're famous, businesses succeed because they're run right and they're in the right place and they're well funded.

Eric Greenspan:
And we had one of those three. So I had to figure out what I was going to do, I was trying to raise money for the Foundry and nobody was going to invest. Let's split this restaurant, let's rent out the bar to a bar group and let's keep just the kitchen and the back patio, and lower our rent and operate that way. So we raised the money on that premise and that, with a couple of other pitfalls in the middle, because I don't want to just sound like a sob story this entire conversation, that's how we got Maré open. And part of my raise was to pay off my staffs from Foundry. So I set it up where it's like part of it was like a licensing, I owned the IP to the brand and the company paid me an upfront licensing and consulting fee, and that's what I use to pay off my vendors and my staff, their tips and the money that I owed the back pay. And then we got Greenspan's Grilled Cheese and Maré open on that. We opened it with 40 grand from one of our partners, and boom, got it open, and that was Maré. And from that we opened up six or seven restaurants in a year and a half, off of the Maré thing. Another pivot.

Josh Kopel:
How did it feel? That's a big growth in a short period of time.

Eric Greenspan:
It felt like shit, I hated it. I loved what we were doing there, but my partner is like, "Look, there's three of us and we need to eat so we need to open up more restaurants." And I was like, "Okay." But I wasn't sure, like I'm somebody who really likes to get his hands on things and I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy owning a restaurant group. And so I was like, "I'm not going to wait 10 years to find out." I'm like, "Let's open up a lot of them really quick and just see if we like this or not." I didn't like it. I was proud of what we did. Look, we had Fleishik's. Fleishik's was like kosher Jewish deli. We had Erven, we had Maré Silver Lake, Maré Santa Monica, Maré Melrose. We had The Roof on Wilshire and we had Greenspan's Grilled Cheese. I hated the fact that I was in my car more than I was in a kitchen, and it wasn't why I went into cooking. I realized that that's kind of how you need to make money in the restaurant business, was that you need to have these multiple restaurants, but I didn't enjoy it. And I'm glad that I learned that, in a period of a year, year and a half, rather than taking it 10 years of being 50 and be like, "Whoa, I hate this."

Josh Kopel:
Right. Well, and that's what inspired the biggest pivot, right, to the cloud?

Eric Greenspan:
Look, I loved the idea of doing multiple brands. Obviously, the dust hadn't even settled, so it wasn't like I was going to raise money to open up another restaurant. I had heard of this business called Cloud Kitchens, and mind you, this was before Travis Kalanick even got involved with Cloud Kitchens, the founder of Uber. They were just this one unit and it was a small, like 700 square foot kitchen. And I teamed up with a guy who was a big customer of mine, in all of my restaurants, who always wanted to invest but would not invest if my partners were involved, just wanted to work with me directly. And we pivoted and we rented this little tiny space and we launched, what started off as a restaurant called Chino. We pivoted into delivery only.

Eric Greenspan:
And there was a lot of reasons why I wanted to do delivery only restaurants. Number one, I knew that I could cook great food and put it in a box and I didn't want to have to deal with front of the house or partners who had to deal with anything else. I knew that I could do the entirety of the business myself. I needed some branding expertise, so I teamed up with a company called Made By Super, because I knew we were going to have to develop a ton of different brands over the course of the year. And so we gave partnership to a company called Made By Super, so that we were constantly developing new logos and websites and social media assets and stuff like that.

Eric Greenspan:
But why not create this delivery only concept incubator, where I could constantly develop new concepts and laid them on top of each other? But because I hated having to be in a call at the time, this was great because all of the concepts would be coming out of the same kitchen, with the same team. So I can innovate and make changes on all of my restaurants and all of my concepts.

Josh Kopel:
And respond in real time to whatever the market demands were.

Eric Greenspan:
And could respond to real time, whatever the market's demands were. We were changing the menus weekly. We pivoted from nighttime business at Chino to daytime because I didn't have a chef and I didn't want to run two breakfast concepts and a night concept yet. So until I could build the business out, we made that pivot. Constantly pivoting, constantly changing, constantly developing.

Eric Greenspan:
And at the end, what we had, was the Alt/Grub/Faction. We had, not only do we have four brands, we had Chino, home of the orange chicken burrito, we had 2 on a Roll, which was in New York City bodega style deli. We had Brekkie burritos, which was Southern California style breakfast with like yogurt bowls and French toasts and chilaquiles and breakfast burritos, obviously. And we had Bubu's Birds and Burgers, but then we also have the Alt/Grub/Faction, which is like a delivery food court. So it's all of the brands in one order. So you can order a Brekkie burrito and somebody else could order a rice bowl, your wife can order a rice bowl from Chino. And your kids can have an egg sandwich from Brekkie and chicken tenders from Bubu's, and it can all come in one delivery with one delivery charge. Because there was something that we could do, I could stay at home and not have to work every day, and if I needed to, I could order food for delivery to my house and do quality control.

Josh Kopel:
Right.

Eric Greenspan:
And so I did have to work all of the time. And when I did, I could have a significant impact on all of the brands. It was an amazing pivot. And now, we're kind of an industry leader. Look, the National Restaurant News just named me, I'm the only chef on the power list, for the most influential people in the food business for 2020, because of the prevalence of delivery. Now, with what's happening with COVID now, now we're in a position to really respond because I have concepts designed to come out of one kitchen to really maximize my delivery rep.

Josh Kopel:
Are you guys killing it right now?

Eric Greenspan:
It's interesting, I shut it down. And I didn't think that there was any way to kind of control the safety of my staff, and therefore the safety of my customers working in a big facility like that. So we're in the process right now of doing all of the things that we couldn't do in the Cloud Kitchens environment, in an independent environment, so that I can keep my guys working and give them jobs. We can take advantage and serve the community because we've got the right product to be able to serve people out of, and we can save our business and keep it moving forward, but do it in a safe way.

Josh Kopel:
When do you think that's going to open?

Eric Greenspan:
I've got a couple other brands that I think I want to launch under the radar to kind of get a sense of the market before I roll out the Alt/Grub brands. I think this place has the capacity to do probably 12 different brands and I want to use it for R&D as well. But hopefully soon, hopefully within the next couple weeks. Like if I couldn't keep my cooks six feet apart from each other, then I wouldn't do it, but I can.

Josh Kopel:
That's incredibly exciting.

Eric Greenspan:
Throughout my entire career, opportunity, experiences out of my control have thrown a wrench in my system and we've had to make pivots, and I think we've made the appropriate pivots every time. But in this one, it feels different because I think that we can continue to be an industry leader in how to work safely and how to do delivery properly, at a time when delivery is what is keeping the entire industry together.

Josh Kopel:
Well, and continuing that thought, this is a platform where you get the opportunity to talk to an entire industry. Is there anything you'd like to say to the restaurateurs listening today?

Eric Greenspan:
Stay hopeful. I would say for people who are expecting to do brick and mortar restaurants, I would close. If you can't keep your staff safe and you can't make ends meet off the delivery, first of all be careful about like, try to do direct to consumer delivery because those margins, when the third parties take their chunk, are significant. I've adapted my business model to absorb those costs. But right now, with margins being as thin as they are, I'm worried about restaurateurs getting those first checks and realizing how much shorter they are than what they were expecting, and panicking. And so you want to set up a direct to consumer ordering platform like, ChowNow, for you, so that you can keep as much of your margins as possible. It's going to be a marketing struggle but like reach out to your local guests on your mailing lists and the people who support you, and I think that that's how the best way for them to support you.

Eric Greenspan:
I feel like if you work out a deal with your landlord, to take your rent, to stop paying rent, and add it to the end of your lease term, when you can get reopened and buy yourself a couple of months and find a group of, I see a lot of these fund me pages for people who are trying to pay their staff. And I think people should do a fund me page for like 20 grand, and shut down your restaurant and hold that 20 grand to get it reopened. Because the reality of it is, if you can reopen and restock the shelves and bring your staff back in, you can reopen for that amount of money, and get back in the game.

Josh Kopel:
That's great advice chef. Where can people find you on social?

Eric Greenspan:
@chefgreeny. I mainly do Instagram, mainly do Instagram stories, but nowadays sitting at home. I'm doing all that shit, I might even get into TikTok.

Josh Kopel:
That's chef Eric Greenspan. You could check out Eric's recent projects, including his latest cookbook at chefericgreenspan.com. If you want to tell us your story, hear previous episodes, check out our video content, or read our weekly blog, go to JoshKopel.com. That's JoshKopel.com. Thank you so much for listening to the show. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And while you're there, please leave us a review. A special thanks to Yelp for helping us spread the word to the whole hospitality community. I'm Josh Kopel. You've been listening to Full Comp.