We had the good fortune of connecting with Ted Cutting and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ted, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I chose this question because in our current state of affairs its very relevant to all of us. I see so many of our fellow restaurant owners closing their doors and in some cases throwing in the towel too soon. I wanted to help inspire anyone who is in this frame of mind to reconsider this basic fundamental that has worked for me my entire career. “There are nail biters and there are doers.” Anyone who works in my company is a doer! I don’t allow anyone to say these terms: Think, Hope, Assume, Try, or Maybe. (THATM) There is no way to make a positive sentence out of these words. Doers find a way, they find a solution, they are seekers. Nail biters wait for the outcome, they don’t know what to do, and ultimately blame the failure on others. Doers DONT GIVE UP they will always keep going. If you are a nail biter and read this without changing your outlook then its time to give up. Here are some things that I did that are perfect examples of that: SBA loans came out and that day I sat on the computer and filled them all out. My colleagues complained no one got back to them but I called, emailed, and drove to the offices until they funded me. They closed I remained open. The covid 19 restrictions started to effect my businesses with no outdoor dining and I couldn’t generate sales. Rather than give into landlord demands and use the remaining funds these units had I looked for other businesses that were doing better and invested in those. When those units were finally closed I replaced them with more that were open, had patios, and generating good sales. I never let the climate of the people demanding things of me cloud my judgement of how to keep going. I closed 2 and bought 3 of a different brand. When I bought my first unit in Pasadena in 2017 I had run it for 4 years prior. I would find ways to generate profit. Catering, private events, closeouts and so on. I made Pasadena profitable. I bought 3 units by 2018 and 5 by 2019. I moved to a new brand and used those units to diversify into it. As of 2020 I am a 15 unit national company with 4 different brands. I don’t say that to brag, I’m proud of it. I say it because I was surrounded by people since 2017 that said we were going to fail. “When are you going to give up Ted?” Looking back on it I know it never effected me. In fact, that’s what truly made me a doer. It motivated me to show myself that its YOU that places those limits on yourself. Its YOU that allows yourself to listen and pay credence to those who don’t believe in you or what your doing. I read this question and I said to myself, “even now, when I read the question I don’t even see the words–give up……All I see is, KEEP GOING! I hope after you read this you do not give up. That you keep going. Because that’s what doers do. We see a problem and we solve it. Not just for ourselves but for the many family’s that rely on us to do so.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I always knew I would work for myself. I was a young kitchen manager that dreamed of having his own restaurant and it was such a distance to go from where I was to where I wanted to be. I saw no way of getting there and the dream slowly became a distant thought. I had a great job as a General manager and aspired to be a Regional. Then when I was a regional it returned to me. I thought, I CAN do this. But the business changed and I knew maybe a franchise would be better. Less risk and more support. So, I went to California and worked for a concept that seemed to offer that option. 4 years later I bought the unit I ran. Then I bough another…and another…and so on. It was never easy. It was so hard to stay positive but my wife and my circle was so strong I could do anything. Overcome any obstacle. Its important to surround yourself with that. I learned that many people can do things they believe they cant because they are missing that key factor. I look for people like that because I am motivated to change that for them and at the same time my business benefits. I look at people as people, The position needs a person that can perform at top line. That’s what I expect from myself so that’s what I expect form them too. My lifelong goal is to leave my children better off than I was. To have the world see that what I created helped people and their families. Because when they do, so will my family. In my business its all about a servants heart. I want to be sure that the CCC brand is what every franchisor looks for to help grow their business. My expectation is that before I retire I can pass on what I learned to help others make more organizations like my own.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would first make dinner for them and have them stay the night with my family. The next day we go down to the harbor and go out sailing for the day. Catch up with a beer and some sun with the sea behind us. The following few days I would take them to Napa and San Fran to see the great land out there. Buy up some great wine and drink some of course! We could finish LA and check out the incredible restaurants out there. We could finish the trip in LA Live and have our last night at my location there. We would have some Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza and a cold one and call it a night!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have always said two thing were the mainstay in my career path. The first was Scott Purcell. He was a great mentor to me. He was firm but fair. He looked out for those who performed and paid very little attention to those who complained or could not meet standards. They never lasted long with him and I admire that. He was a great guy and family man too. We talk even now from time to time. The second was my bible for business. The 21 Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. I live those laws. I train those laws. Anyone who does well in my organization does well with these laws. I am grateful to have met John in the late 90s and he has been a great mentor for my business.