Scott Lawton’s insights remind us that while the food industry may be about cuisine, the restaurant experience is about so much more. 

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At the beginning, Scott Lawton didn’t know what food he was going to sell at his restaurant concept – but he knew how he wanted it to feel. The rest figured itself out.

On this episode, we explore the art of creating an exceptional guest experience with Scott Lawton, CEO of bartaco and Uncle Julio’s Restaurant Group. Scott shares how bartaco cultivates a unique atmosphere, blending concepts from lifestyle retail with dining to offer guests a memorable escape. He discusses the origins of bartaco, inspired by food trucks, and its focus on light, healthful fare.

We also delve into how Scott’s team uses customer data to enhance guest satisfaction. Through incentivized surveys and a focus on welcoming first-time guests, they prioritize the emotional experience over sales numbers. Also learn how technology and data play key roles in making every visit to bartaco special.

Thanks Scott!

Here are some highlights:

What’s the most important aspect of the guest experience? (10:09)

I think it has never changed. The one thing that is constant is human interaction….you know, technology is great, but it can’t replace that. It can actually amplify that if you use it correctly.”

Any tactics or tools that you specifically have found to be successful in creating a great guest experience? (11:13)

“A lot of people are looking at sort of a customer data platform and things like that as a marketing tool. That’s everybody’s looking at data right now is marketing like that. That’s the easy pick and you know, we have data, let’s market with it.

We’ve operationalized that and so we have a five-week rolling report that basically shows the customer sentiment, the entire process that they went through in the restaurant, by server stack ranked and by manager.”

Who’s someone who deserves an Ovation in the restaurant industry? (15:16)

“Zach Goldstein of Thanx. I think he has a really good perspective on things. You know, we don’t do a loyalty program yet, but if I do one, it’s going to be with him because he gets it.”

For more, follow Scott on LinkedIn and @bartacolife on Instagram!

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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