Discover how restaurant legend Jim Mizes scales brands and enhances guest experiences with timeless principles and innovative strategies.

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In this episode of “Give an Ovation,” Zack Oates welcomes Jim Mizes, a restaurant industry legend with an impressive track record, including roles as VP of PepsiCo, President of brands like Einstein Bros and Blaze Pizza, and various advisory roles. Jim shares his insights on scaling restaurant brands, the importance of aligning founders and financial partners, and the timeless principles of guest experience. Learn how to eliminate operational boulders and focus on what truly matters—developing people and serving guests.

Here are some highlights:

What are some common mistakes brands make when trying to grow? (1:40)

“I think you have to start with the founders… They have to know what their strengths and weaknesses are and they have to allow people to support them in the areas in which they are not at their best.”

What’s the most important aspect of the guest experience? (5:55)

“I don’t think it’s changed, Zack… Guests want to be seen, heard, appreciated and get value for whatever dollars they’re transacting with you.”

Any tactics or tools that you specifically have found to be successful in creating a great guest experience? (9:13)

“You can have a hospitality person whose sole job is to greet the customer… Their number one job is to greet and make sure the customer feels that they are seen and heard.”

Who’s someone who deserves an Ovation in the restaurant industry? (14:09)

“I’ll give you two. One is Jim Bitticks at Dave’s Hot Chicken. Jim starts with the operator in mind, creating an experience for the people in the restaurant that is second to none. The other is Charles Watson at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. In the last four years, Charles has nearly doubled the size of the brand and significantly increased their AUVs and unit count, all while staying under the radar.”

For more insights from Jim Mizes, connect with him on LinkedIn.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole episode, as well as other interviews with restaurant gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation: A Podcast For Restaurants” on or your favorite place to listen to podcasts.

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