Erin Dunham is the 35-year-old CEO, owner, and co-founder of the Hamilton-based Hospitality Group known as ‘The Other Bird’. Together with her partner, Matt Kershaw they were able to build 6 1/2 restaurants and grow from 5 to 150 employees in only 6 1/2 years. Erin is very passionate about revolutionizing the Restaurant Industry by giving their customers the best dining experience and raising respect for the people in and out of the kitchen. She promises to take diners into a whole new world of flavor and decadence through her partner’s big flavor cooking and her passion for extraordinary service.
What to Expect
- Refusing to take a service job
- Instant obvious connection
- The ‘Think-less Industry’
- Customers aren’t always right
- Boredom as inspiration
- Five Sense Approach to user experience
- Having a confident staff
- Setting expectations to people
- Serving without being influenced
- Not liking vs. being wrong
- Erin’s inspirations
- Maintaining Processes
- Finding the right talent
- Advice to entrepreneurs
- Getting excited by failure
Hospitality and Business
5 Sense Approach
- Touching the table and feeling things that are clean
- Feeling the music, the lighting and the vibe of the place
- What do the plates look like?
- What the service looks like?
- Why is service important?
- How is the service important?
- Is it important that food comes quickly?
- Is it important that someone’s educating you?
Erin Dunham exclaims that we got a bad habit of the idea that ‘Customers are always right’ and it gives them the impression that they are allowed to be right even when they are not which is counterproductive. She said that we spend so much time pleasing our customers that we lose track of what we really are doing. Erin has been very proud of her smart and confident staff which hold themselves accountable and be brave enough to educate their customers about what they are serving.
Boredom and Diversification
Being a successful entrepreneur, Erin Dunham never really struggled with diversification and turns her boredom to inspirations. She says that surrounding yourself with amazing people who has an attention span and complement your qualities is key. Erin also believes that diversification is personality based and that certain people get stressed in multitasking while others don’t, so it’s really important to know your own limitations.
- “Our incredible staff is the fact that we do things differently than tradition.”
- “Chefs are brutal, they’re mad, they’re yelling.”
- “There is a lack of respect given to the front line staff and lack of respect overall people give to themselves.”
- “When you can get your co-workers and staff to align with you and your passion, it blows up.”
- “Be the best, be awesome, be different. Give the customers what they don’t expect.”
- “Most of what we do is based on boredom. Boredom is our inspiration.”
- “Restaurants to me is about your five senses. It’s touching the table, feeling the music, the lighting, the vibe.”
- “The relevance is the customer comes in and leave and they love your place without even knowing why.”
- “My staff are so smart, even smarter than me. They are confident enough to correct the customer.”
- “The world got a bad habit of the idea that ‘Customers are Always Right.”
- “We spent so much time pleasing our customers that we lose track of what we really are doing.”
- “When we’re influenced by customers because they don’t like something, that is wrong.”
- “Always surround yourself with amazing people who has an attention span.”
- “I’m a very hands-on person but I know I can’t be everywhere. So I just have to trust my people to be awesome.”
- “The worst thing that’s going to happen is that you’re going to fail. Who cares?”
- “‘I’m excited sometimes with the thought of failure because I get to start fresh.”
- “Diversification is personality based. You need to know your limitations as a person.”
- “If you’re starting a business you should know that you’re giving up your life. When you get successful, you get your life back plus this beautiful thing you created.”
The only thing that failure’s going to do is to make you fail. How much fun it is to start over?
We hire for personality, not for skill set. You can train for skill set but you can’t train for personality.