How to Win Casual Dining: 5 Tips from Kimbal Musk | Food Newsfeed
Continue to Site

How to Win Casual Dining: 5 Tips from Kimbal Musk

February 05, 2018
KImbal Musk, cowboy hat and all, looks forward from the table at one of his celebrated restaurants.

The global social entrepreneur

1 of 6
Ryan Dearth
The global social entrepreneur

Yes, he's the brother of Elon Musk. But Kimbal Musk is also a global social entrepreneur disrupting the casual-dining segment as we know it. Here's a look at how he plans to change the industry, and better the world while he's at it.

For more, check out FSR's profile on Musk.

Kale at Kimbal Musk's restaurant Next Door.

Millennials: Mission and passion is key

2 of 6
From the Hip Photo for Next Door
Millennials: Mission and passion is key
“People say millennials are the entitled generation, but what I see is an impassioned generation. We don’t struggle with finding good labor because we give people a mission that links with their passion; this is the exact opposite of what people are talking about when they talk about millennials as entitled. We want millennials on our team, because their passion comes through in the work they do; they’re going to work harder and do a better job, because our mission resonates with them.”
Braised pork shoulder at Kimbal Musk's The Kitchen restaurant.

Gather and conquer

3 of 6
The Kitchen
Gather and conquer
“Anything urban is higher energy. People may actually live in suburbia, but they don’t want to live in traditional suburbia. The old days where everyone had their McMansion, that lifestyle is not interesting anymore. People want to be able to walk across the street to this restaurant. They want to have a gathering space with friends and family, one where they don’t stress out about bringing their kids.”
KImbal Musk, cowboy hat and all, stands in front of one of his celebrated restaurants.

Don't get caught in the value wars

4 of 6
Ryan Dearth
Don't get caught in the value wars
“Everything has been about getting the price down—who cares what the consequences are. The promise of industrial food was cheap calories for all. We just didn’t realize that instead of cheap calories, we have extremely expensive calories in the form of obesity and diabetes. It’s a personal tragedy for the person whose life is destroyed, and it’s an economic tragedy for the country. No one wins. … Restaurant groups or food businesses that still believe industrial food is the future, I think they are already dead. If you don’t understand that you have to change, then you’re just going to be left behind.”
A server walks by a table with bread at Kimbal Musk's The Kitchen.

Digital first

5 of 6
The Kitchen
Digital first

I visited the head of a major Yellow Pages company, and he literally threw the book at me and said, ‘You ever think you’re going to replace this?’ And I thought: He’s already dead. The Yellow Pages were already dead. Now I see the same sort of thing in food. … Speed and taste are critical. Automation and digitization have made restaurant operations profoundly different today than it was just five years ago. Our front end is 100 percent digital.”

Note: Back in the early days of the internet, Musk and his brother, Elon, built an online database of businesses, Zip2, which he likens to a digital version of the classic Yellow Pages.

A family gathers for dinner and board games at Kimbal Musk's Next Door restaurant.

Focus on community

6 of 6
Next Door
Focus on community
“We really go deep into communities; we’re not a believer in spreading this out over 100 communities. We want to pick 10 communities and go deep. We want kids from elementary to high school to have a connection with real food, to understand what real food is all about—that it comes out of the ground, it tastes good, it’s nutritious, it’s important to trust your food, and you can trust food you’ve grown yourself.”