#080 – Matthew Mabel: Helping Restaurateurs Be as Good to Themselves as They are to Their Customers

  • October 2, 2018


Matthew Mabel is the president and organizational development team leader of Surrender, a boutique restaurant consulting firm that helps restaurateurs run successful businesses and live happy lives.


“Why aren’t restaurateurs as good to themselves as they are to their guests?” –Matthew Mabel


If you’d ask Matthew what a successful business was back in 1991, when he started Surrender, he probably would have had some numbers and metrics, possibly even a graph. But today he has a new barometer for success: happy and loyal guests, happy and fulfilled employees, and ownership that can live a flexible life that has everything they need so that they can enjoy the rewards of their success.


And let me tell you, as someone who worked in the restaurant biz for years, self-care is not often your highest priority – but it should be! And when restaurateurs work with Matthew, they really are working on themselves just as much (if not more) than they are working on their businesses, and in the end, they’re collaborating to make the industry a better place for everyone.


“My life’s work has been advising owners of independent, successful, multi-unit restaurant companies, improving their businesses and their lives – because I think it’s important to do both simultaneously.” –Matthew Mabel


We also discuss:

  • The 4 secrets of great restaurant ownership
  • Restaurants are a reflection of how the owner shows up
  • Balancing change with consistency
  • We’re really in the branding business, not the restaurant business
  • Why we need to be aware of the difference between a guest and someone in the restaurant biz
  • Choosing the right location
  • Systemizing your restaurant culture
  • The definition of restaurant culture
  • Operating a food truck as a brand extension
  • The recipe for a happy & successful restaurateur




Matthew Mabel’s Bio:

Matthew Mabel founded Surrender in 1991. As president and organizational development team leader, Matthew combines his experience as a former business owner, operator and corporate treasurer with over two decades of consulting.


“At Surrender, I function at my greatest capacity by serving others,” Mabel said. “We open up possibilities for people and create value in our client companies. As a result, we have established wonderful relationships with our clients.”


As a restaurant industry analyst, Mabel has been quoted extensively in the media about both industry and management issues. He is a frequent contributor to trade publications including Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Development + Design and Restaurant Startup and Growth. He is also a sought-after speaker for industry gatherings on topics of business growth, development and operations.


He is a Trustee of the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation, where he serves on the Executive Committee and is Chairman of the Restaurant Education Committee.  He has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association (GDRA). In 2003, he received the association’s President’s Award to recognize work he performed in organizational development as part of the GDRA’s launch of a major regional culinary and restaurant management education initiative. That initiative has resulted in 75 Texas Pro Start Programs, providing culinary and restaurant management education in High Schools around North Texas.


Mabel is an experienced and talented entrepreneur, teacher, leader and communicator, who has started companies from scratch and re-invented existing business from within. Each step of his career has contributed to his ability to help others grow their businesses while having personal freedom and flexibility.


Mabel’s forthcoming book, Beyond Business, communicates techniques used by Surrender to improve companies, careers, and lives. It includes many success stories about Surrender’s work with various clients. Read a sample chapter.


Modern Luxury featured Mabel and his career from concert promoter to connoisseur and advisor. The award-winning publication presents a monthly search for the finest in fashion, dining, entertainment, and travel. Read the article.

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