Nick Kokonas - Know What You Are Selling – [Founder’s Field Guide, Forever Episode]
Today, we are running a special episode from our show Founder's Field Guide. In this conversation, Nick Kokonas shares his experience of bringing a business mindset to the restaurant industry. It is one of our favorites at Colossus and there is something for everyone in this timeless conversation. Nick is the co-founder of 3 of the best restaurants and bars in America - Alinea, Next, and The Aviary as well as the co-founder and CEO of Tock, a comprehensive booking system for restaurants. He majored in philosophy before becoming a derivatives trader and is now one of the most well-known names in the hospitality industry.
Listen to Founders Podcast
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
This episode is brought to you by Tegus, the modern research platform for leading investors. Stretch your research budget with flexible expert calls you can trust. At a fraction of the cost of traditional expert networks, Tegus customers pay only what an expert charges – with zero markups and no confusing call credits – netting an average 70% savings. Don’t want to conduct a full hour call? Tegus offers the ability to schedule 30-minutes, an offer you won’t find anywhere else. And they don’t stop there. With white-glove custom sourcing for every project and robust compliance measures, including a dedicated 50+ analyst team that vets every call transcript, Tegus ensures your privacy and protection. As the industry innovator for qualitative insights, Tegus helps you find the right experts you need at a quality and speed that can’t be matched. For a limited time, as a listener, you can trial Tegus for free by visiting tegus.co/patrick.
Invest Like the Best is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
(3:02 ) – (First question) – Why he thinks it’s so important to own something
(4:35 ) – Make decisions that have outcomes
(7:00 ) – His interest in the restaurant business
(8:54 ) – Why restaurants are so tough
(12:05 ) – How their business mindset changed their running of the restaurant
(14:35 ) – Words they would avoid in the restaurant
(16:19 ) – Asking the right questions in the restaurant business
(20:40 ) – Importance in taking the right risks
(22:02 ) – Coming up with innovative strategies for ticketing, selling meals ahead of time, and dynamic pricing
(30:08 ) – Can dynamic pricing be extended to other businesses
(31:20 ) – Origin of Tock
(36:17 ) – Early days of Tock and identifying the right customers/challenges
(41:33 ) – Importance of the first customer
(44:22 ) – The typical restaurant business model
(49:23 ) – Lessons from Tock and the importance of knowing what your selling
(53:47 ) – Lessons from publishing
(55:44 ) – Other aspects of business that people know but do nothing about
(1:00:19 ) – Their response to Covid and lessons learned
(1:07:43 ) – The real impact to the food delivery companies
(1:09:24 ) – How businesses communicate their end processes to their customers
(1:14:07 ) – Kindest thing anyone has done for him