The Best Podcasts for Restaurant Owners in 2022

If you run a restaurant and you’re not yet a restaurant podcast junkie: Your time has come.

For those restaurant owners and execs who have blissfully ignored the recent podcast wave — we get it. Every time you turn around, it seems that someone’s launched their own show. It can be hard to separate the treasure from the…well, the other stuff. 

But there are some real gems in the hospitality podcast world. If you follow the right folks, you’ll get unprecedented access to seasoned, successful (sometimes famous) restaurant pros. And they’ll lay it all out there for you — from unbelievable war stories to operational insights to crazy, never-before-shared growth hacks that actually worked. And of course, some that didn’t.

So: the next time you’re commuting to work, or traveling, or washing dishes, or trying to tune out your toddler’s tantrums (just us?), grab your AirPods and add these podcasts to your must-listen list. 

The Best Podcasts for Restaurant Owners

Food on Demand // Tom Kaiser and Nick Upton

Food On Demand is a monthly podcast that covers the latest news “at the intersection of food, technology and mobility,” with a heavy focus on the future of delivery and off-premises operations. Most episodes feature a specific topic or trend — e.g., drone delivery, virtual kitchens — as well as interviews with experts and operators who are driving the evolution of foodservice. Past guests include David Bloom, Chief Development and Operating Officer of Capriotti’s; Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse; and Fred Lefranc of Results Thru Strategy.

  • About the hosts: Tom Kaiser is the editor of Food On Demand, a media brand for restaurateurs, foodservice professionals, restaurant technology suppliers, and catering and delivery providers. Nick Upton is the Restaurants Editor for Food on Demand and Franchise Times. In addition to the podcast, Food on Demand also publishes a weekly e-newsletter and hosts an annual conference.
  • Catch an episode: Episode 20 of Food on Demand features Meredith Sandland and Carl Osbourn, authors of “Delivering the Digital Restaurant.” Listen here

FULL COMP: The Voice of the Restaurant Industry Revolution // Josh Kopel

Created in partnership with Yelp for Restaurants, FULL COMP is a weekly podcast that explores the past and future of the hospitality industry. Host and Michelin-rated restaurateur Josh Kopel interviews both renowned hospitality professionals (ever heard of Wolfgang Puck?) as well as thought leaders from outside of the industry — many of whom offer smart new perspectives on an old business.

  • About the host: With more than 20 years in hospitality under his belt, Josh created FULL COMP to help restaurateurs “survive the present and thrive in the future.” He also hosts Restaurant Marketing School, and he’s currently the president of the California Restaurant Association. 
  • Catch an episode: Episode 160, “Offboarding Yourself,” features Michele Hecken, an executive coach who helps business owners get out of their own way so they can foster growth and empower their team.

Hospitality Hangout // Michael “Schatzy” Schatzberg and Jimmy Frischling

A production of Branded Strategic Hospitality and Foodable Network, Hospitality Hangout is a podcast devoted to all things hospitality, technology and capital. The “Restaurant Guy” (Michael Schatzberg) and the “Finance Guy” (Jimmy Frischling) explore the latest trends and breakthroughs in hospitality tech — which includes everything from digital marketing to kitchen robots. While the two lively hosts bring plenty of personality (and smarts) to the show, most episodes also feature conversations with industry leaders who know a thing or two about restaurant innovation.

  • About the hosts: Michael Schatzberg and Jimmy Frischling are co-founders of Branded Strategic Hospitality. Michael is also the managing director of Branded Restaurants (which Jimmy co-founded), and he has over 35 years of hospitality brand development, management, and marketing experience. An entrepreneur and finance professional, Jimmy has over 30 years in the financial services, capital markets and hospitality industries. He serves as partner and finance director at Branded Restaurants, and he’s a principal at Oak Branch Advisors as well as a trio of municipal bond data and technology companies.
  • Catch an episode: Season 5, Vol. 2 features Carissa De Santis, chief information officer at Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, who talks about building their virtual brand, international expansion, and more.

Restaurantopia // David Ross, Brian Seitz, and Anthony Hamilton

Restaurantopia is a podcast all about restaurant management and operations. It’s heavily geared toward independent restaurants — but really, there’s something for everyone. Episodes feature a wealth of tactical content, and it’s a great podcast to follow if you’re looking for information specifically around cost control, marketing, management and personnel issues. Interviews focus on real-world learnings and successes from guests like Ken McGarrie, founder of Korgen Hospitality, and David “Rev” Ciancio, a hospitality marketing executive.

  • About the hosts: David Ross is a sales pro and the COO of Hillcrest Foodservice, which sponsors the show. Brian Seitz, a member of the Hillcrest management team, has a background in operations, law and finance. Chef Anthony Hamilton is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has more than 20 years of restaurant and hospitality working experience, ranging from quick-service outlets to full-service catering to fine dining. 
  • Catch an episode: Episode 66, “Restaurant KPI Benchmarks and What to Make of Them,” breaks down specific numbers around common (and uncommon-but-useful) industry benchmarks.

Restaurants Reinvented // Jen Kern

The Restaurants Reinvented podcast spotlights industry leaders and change agents — both the seasoned pros and the up-and-comers you need to know. Host Jen Kern brings a strong perspective to the show, asking her interviewees insightful questions around brand building, guest engagement, and revenue-driving strategies. The knowledge and experiences shared here inspire listeners to approach historical challenges in new ways — and they can expect to leave each episode ready-to-implement tools and tactics for their own operations.

  • About the host: Jen is the CMO of Qu, a centralized restaurant tech platform that goes beyond POS to connect on- and off-premise ordering, loyalty, and production experiences for restaurant chains. A long-time CMO, Jen leverages her business acumen to draw out stories and insights from her guests that resonate with restaurant owners on every level.
  • Catch an episode: In Episode 9, Jen interviews Greg Creed, former CEO of Yum! Brands. Greg shares insights and lessons learned from his time leading some of the world’s most well-known brands. 

MP TV // Matt Plapp 

MP TV is an “in-person video podcast” — but unless you really want to put a face to the voice, listening in is usually sufficient. Host Matt Plapp interviews restaurant and brewery owners and operators about their successes and failures in the business. Matt isn’t afraid to ask tough questions about wins and losses, and he likes to go deep on topics like building and retaining a strong team, brand development, and customer loyalty. In addition to business owners/operators, he’ll often bring on industry vendors and advisors — like food distribution execs and CPAs with a hospitality focus.

  • About the host: Take one look at Matt’s website, and you can tell he’s a busy guy. In addition to running MP TV, Matt is the founder and CEO of America’s Best Restaurants, an industry consultant for major franchise brands, and three-time author. He’s kind of the “king of content” for restaurants; if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, Matt’s probably got a resource for you.
  • Catch an episode: “Crunching The Numbers With Chris Rogers” features the CEO of AEH Accounting, who shares advice and ideas about restaurant marketing and finance.

BDO To-Go Podcast // Jeff Tubaugh and Dana Zukofsky 

BDO To-Go is a monthly podcast hosted by Jeff Tubaugh and moderated by Dana Zukofsky. Each episode features subject matter experts who explore industry trends and best practices. The conversation often revolves around the impacts of ongoing consumer and economic shifts — and how to leverage constant change to achieve meaningful growth and success. 

  • About the host: Jeff is a partner at BDO and Dana is a director in the firm’s National Restaurant Practice. Both Jeff and Dana have deep expertise in restaurant/hospitality accounting, compliance, and other financial aspects of the business.
  • Catch an episode: “The Scope of Restaurants Today: Supply Chain and Labor Shortages” features Mark Bromberg, the president at Apex Restaurant Group, which focuses on chain restaurant improvement, management, and rejuvenation.

Keys to the Shop // Chris Deferio

There’s a special niche in the podcast world just for coffee shop and cafe owners (and plain old coffee-lovers). Chris Deferio’s podcast is a definite stand-out. Keys to the Shop provides coffee retail professionals the insights and tools they need to grow their business or advance their coffee careers. Chris, an expert himself, leans on fellow industry vets to deliver actionable advice around management, leadership, and personal development. At the time of this publication, Chris has produced over 300 episodes. 

About the host: Chris has spent more than 20 years in the specialty coffee retail industry. His roles have included barista, trainer, multi-unit cafe operations manager, consultant — and of course, podcast host. His clients range from small-but-growing cafes to large, well-established brands. 

Catch an episode: In episode 314, “The 6 Essential Qualities of Coffee Shop Leaders,” Chris discusses the things leaders develop in succession that allow them to lead people sustainably.

Are we missing your favorite podcast?

If you listen to (or host!) a show for folks in the restaurant business — give us a shout on LinkedIn and we’ll add it to our list! 

You might also be interested in

We know how important same-day payments are for veterans of the service industry who are accustomed to quick cash — and we’re now seeing that same demand expand into other industries as well. 

Kickfin co-founder Justin Roberts joined MasterCard’s InConversation Webinar series to discuss why immediate payment disbursal is key for the restaurant industry and the gig economy as a whole.

Watch the webinar here or read our recap for the highlights: 

People live paycheck-to-paycheck

Not just some people are living paycheck to paycheck. Most people are. 

That’s right: around 64% of U.S. consumers are just getting by. Even more shocking, 51% of consumers who earn over six figures are still living paycheck to paycheck, despite their higher tax bracket. 

It’s a major reason why employees need access to their earnings sooner rather than later. The pressure of watching your bank account slowly drain in the two weeks between payday is putting a lot of pressure on people, leading to a much greater demand for instant payments than ever before. 

Instant payouts are now table stakes

A PYMNTS study found that people of all ages prefer to be paid out immediately, as well as some other interesting statistics:

  • When given the choice, 68% of respondents said they would opt for an instant pay out
  • 40% of gig workers surveyed were willing to pay a fee for an instant disbursement
  • 81% of respondents were willing to switch jobs to an employer that offers instant access to earned wages and tips

It’s safe to say instant payouts are becoming the expectation for today’s modern workforce. But not all instant payouts are created equal.

Consumers are much more likely to engage with an instant payout system if they aren’t required to share their bank account and routing numbers and can access funds with just their debit card credentials. Why? It’s faster, more convenient, and feels more secure. 

Instant payouts and tip management: a perfect use case.

Instant payout innovation has come at the perfect time for the restaurant industry, which is struggling more than ever with the hassles and cost of cash.

If you’re in the restaurant biz, then you know: Most consumers pay with credit cards these days, not cash. That means there’s rarely enough cash on hand to pay out tips at the end of a shift. But employees still want and need instant access to their tip earnings.

Enter: instant payouts. Offering employees the option to receive their tip earnings directly to their bank of choice, the second their shift ends, can go a long way in improving employee satisfaction and ensuring their financial security.

But instant payouts are more than a work perk for employees. The operational benefits for employers range from reduced administrative burden and significant time savings to stronger compliance and streamlined reporting.

Modernizing your tip management strategy: 5 best practices 

There are three key components to your tip management strategy: 

  • Tip pool policy: How are you divvying up tips among your staff? 
  • The payout method: How are you distributing those payments?
  • The systems and tech: What are you using to facilitate those payments?

Under the current circumstances, restaurant operators are under immense pressure to bring their tip management into the future. 

5 best practices for tip management 

Based on our experience working with restaurant operators across the country, we’ve found that these five practices are the perfect recipe for building a successful tip management system.  

  1. Determine the right model and method for your restaurant, based on your location and tech stack
  2. Get a written tip policy (and get it legally approved
  3. Solicit employee feedback in a structured way
  4. Leverage technology for efficiency, accuracy, and compliance
  5. Don’t over-complicate (but do over-communicate!)

Tip management solution must-haves

When seeking a new tip management solution, make sure you carefully vet each system to see if it really meets your needs, or if it’ll be just as frustrating as cash. Here are a few suggestions for what should be on your checklist: 

  • Instant payouts
  • Direct to bank of choice
  • Availability of employee funds
  • Payroll option 
  • Integrations 
  • Simple implementation + onboarding process 
  • Around-the-clock customer service 

Big emphasis on strong customer support teams. Restaurants and bars don’t have “typical” business hours, so neither should your tech support.

Bar Louie automates payouts with Kickfin 

In a recent case study, we took a deep dive into our partnership with Bar Louie, a chain with over 60 locations that took advantage of our new integration with Toast. They made the switch from cash payouts to Kickfin’s instant, direct-to-bank payouts and haven’t looked back.  

Two-minute tip-outs

Before Kickfin, managers spent an average of 45 minutes per shift working through Bar Louie’s complex tip out policy and counting cash. The tip pooling rules were important to them — it’s what makes the entire staff feel like they’re getting their fair share. 

Using the Kickfin0Toast integration, Bar Louie was able to automate the tip pool calculation process and send tips straight to employees in under two minutes – a potential annual savings of 15,000 labor hours across all locations.

>> See more customer success stories 

Do you want to see these kinds of cost-saving results at your business? Let’s talk. Get a demo of Kickfin and see why restaurant owners and employees alike trust us to manage their tips.

Kickfin’s best-in-class tip calculation tool has some exciting new bells and whistles.

If you’re already using Kickfin’s tip pool calculator, then you know how much time and hassle you’re saving by automating everything. (And if you’re not? Head over to our tip pooling software page to see how it works!)

As we partner with more restaurants to bring their tip management into the future, we’re continuing to innovate our product so we can address their biggest pain points.

In this case, that means enhancing our tip pooling features so you can auto-calculate tip amounts even for the most complex or unique tip pool or share policies.

Check out a few of our latest features that will make tip calculations easier than ever.

New Release: Splitting Large Party Tips 

If your restaurant often hosts large parties, you know that the tip share can get confusing. Say one server is taking care of a party of 40 with a bartender assigned to only make drinks for that party. Meanwhile, the server has a few other two-top tables that are getting drinks from the main service bar. At the end of the night, how do you ensure that the large-party bartender gets their fair share of the tip out (without spending an hour on your phone calculator)? 

Kickfin can now automate that process for you, alleviating questions from your event bartender and saving time and effort on the part of your managers. 

Seamless Integrations 

Kickfin is partnering with your POS system to integrate seamlessly with your existing restaurant tech. Already, we’re serving Toast customers through our integration — and your POS just might be up next. 

Kickfin integration users get access to new product features first, like our new tip-out transparency tool. Your employees can log into their Kickfin accounts and see exactly how their tips have been split between team members, offering them full transparency into your tip policy in action.

Manager Tips 

We’re always listening to feedback to improve the Kickfin experience, and this one goes out to all of our restaurant partners who asked us to streamline the manager tip reallocation process.

>>Learn more about managers & tipping laws

In most cases, managers are not allowed to earn tips since they are salaried employees. But we all know that managers often step in and take care of tables to help servers get out of the weeds. Well-meaning guests will most likely leave a tip, not knowing that the manager technically can’t accept them — so where does that money go?

Kickfin now features a default pool, where tips “paid” to a manager are automatically redistributed to tipped staff based on your restaurant’s tip policy. 

Improved Labor Data Accuracy

We all know how easy it is for an employee to forget to clock out after a long shift. And sure, they aren’t going to get paid for a 16-hour overnight shift, but when payday comes around, those extra hours create a nightmare for your payroll team. 

With Kickfin, all employees are required to be clocked out in order to finalize payments — so you’ll catch the labor data mistake long before your payroll team has to sort it out. 

Even Better Security 

We’re committed to protecting you and your employees’ hard-earned money, so we’re adding an extra layer of security for certain transactions. You can now enable double approval of payments that meet certain conditions:

  • First payment for new employees
  • Employees getting their first payout in X number of days
  • Employees receiving more than X payouts in a 24-hour period. 

With these extra guardrails in place, you can always be sure that the right money is going to the right person. Reach out to our support team to configure your custom security measures.

Using Kickfin is a win-win for operators, managers, and employees alike. Restaurateurs save on cash delivery and labor costs, managers shave hours off their workload, and servers have the same instant payment that they’re used to — without the hassle and uncertainty of cash. 

Want to learn more about Kickfin? Let us show you the ropes with a demo

You heard it here first: 2024 is the year of integrations. 

In an effort to make Kickfin even more user-friendly and adaptable for our partners, we’re working with restaurant tech leaders to integrate our tip management solution with their existing systems. 

First up — Toast! A trailblazer for cloud-based restaurant management technology, Toast is a favorite POS system for restaurants, food trucks, and bars. You probably know them best for being the first to create handheld POS devices, drastically changing the entire restaurant ecosystem. To make life easier for their customers, Toast partnered with Kickfin to create an integration that makes tip pooling, tip distribution, and calculation smoother. 

As restaurant tech innovators ourselves, this partnership is the perfect fit for Kickfin. 

Our goal at Kickfin is always to save time for managers, prevent loss for operators, and create more financial freedom for hospitality employees through pioneering technology that digitizes many of the analog processes that the restaurant industry is built on. 

As a member of the Toast Partner Ecosystem, we’ll be able to deliver our product to Toast customers and modernize their tip management systems with ease. Using technology that they’re already familiar with, Toast customers can reap the benefits of Kickfin with minimal ramp-up upon implementation.

“No two restaurants split tips the same way, but invariably, it takes too long and involves too much risk,”  said Justin Roberts, the co-CEO of Kickfin. “This integration allows for the utmost customization with a near-zero learning curve — truly the best of both worlds for restaurants that want to save time, reduce labor costs and make life easier for their team.”

And one of their partners is already enjoying the ROI with Kickfin. Bar Louie takes great pride in making tip distribution equitable for all of their employees, so they rely on a complex tip pooling system to ensure fair pay. Prior to using Kickfin, managers at each of their 60 locations spent 45 minutes at the end of every shift to make calculations and divvy out funds to all of their servers. Now, they’ve streamlined their tip-out process with Kickfin — and managers are doing the same work in less than a minute! That’s an annual average of 15,000 hours saved across their entire chain. 

>> Hear more Kickfin success stories

After implementing Kickfin, managers can spend their time on what matters most: delivering excellent customer service. That means more table touches, more support for your staff, and more time to focus on server training. 

With managers spending more time on the floor (instead of counting cash in the back), you’ll see better customer reviews, better service, and increased sales — all from digitizing your tip-outs with Kickfin.

We’re excited about our new partnership with Toast and the opportunity to make digital tipping a reality for their customers. For restaurants who aren’t using Toast, don’t worry! We look forward to providing similar integrations across the restaurant tech industry.  

Want to see these results for yourself? Find out how to become a Kickfin integration partner or check out a demo of our platform.

No growing pains here! 

We’re thrilled to announce that Inc. listed Kickfin in their list of the top 10 fastest growing companies in the Southwest. (In fact, we earned the #1 spot in the software category and were listed as #9 overall!) We’re honored to be included alongside innovative companies that are making a big difference in our region. 

Inc. measured Kickfin’s growth from 2020 to 2022 — which wasn’t an easy time for the restaurant industry, to say the least. In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, restaurant concepts across the country embraced Kickfin’s technology. 

As a group, the 2024 Inc. honorees averaged 136% growth and created 17,606 new jobs over a two-year period. Individually, Kickfin grew by a whopping 1,304% (yes, really!).

We want to recognize and thank both our amazing customers and the Kickfin team for being part of our success story and allowing us to be a part of theirs. 

Our Customers

For years, restaurants manually calculated and paid out cash tips — despite the increasing hassle and liability those old-school methods entail. It’s not because operators are tech-averse; there simply wasn’t a good way to automate the process that didn’t create new friction or require new workarounds. 

That’s precisely why we developed Kickfin. Of course, we’re proud of what we built and the team behind it (more on that below). But we owe a great deal of our success to the customers who trusted us enough to give Kickfin a shot — especially those early adopters who are now some of our longest-standing customers.

There’s a leap of faith involved when you partner with a vendor and layer in new technology, particularly when it impacts something as important and sensitive as how you pay your people.  We don’t take that lightly, and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve each and every customer who’s been on this journey with us.

>> Hear from our customers about their experiences with Kickfin

Our Team 

Every person on our team wholeheartedly believes in our mission and vision for the future. In short: we’re here to make the tip management process insanely easy for everyone so that paying out your people is (almost!) as great as getting paid. 

As backstory: Our co-founders, Brian and Justin, came up with the idea for Kickfin while dining out together and noticing that an armored car was dropping off cash. They asked why a restaurant would need a cash delivery when most patrons pay by card; the manager explained the cash was needed to pay out tips at the end of the shift. The inefficiency (and expense, and risk…) of that process was a lightbulb moment for Brian and Justin.

They set out to build a team who not only understood the problem, but could think critically and creatively about a solution — and bring it to life. 

From sales and marketing to product and support, every Kickfin employee has had a hand in the growth and success of our company, thanks to their passion for our purpose and their commitment to being best in class.

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved thus far, and we’re excited to continue collaborating with our customers, innovating on their behalf, and taking Kickfin to the next level together. Onward and upward!

See Kickfin in action!