Rudy Miick began working in the foodservice industry in 1978. Having served as partner of a restaurant at the young age of 24, Rudy’s work has since focused on the successful start-up, performance improvement and growth of restaurants, resorts, and other foodservice operations. Rudy has served on the board and faculty of the UCLA Extension’s Hospitality Management Program for 13 years and remains an active member of the Foodservice Consultants Society International and the Institute of Management Consultants. Outside of his regular consulting work, as founder of the Miick Institute, Rudy coaches others in business and life growth, and is an award-winning author of “The Leadership Cookbook,” a bi-monthly column for both U.S. Business Review and Food & Drink Magazine. He has also co-authored four books and regularly speaks at foodservice industry conferences and events.
FE&S: What keeps you working in the foodservice industry?
Rudy Miick: I find myself excited with ideas, textures, mixtures and blends as an idea becomes a real product both in the kitchen and in my consulting work. I am also excited by the speed of production and the expectation, practice and goal of zero imperfections in foodservice. As a diner, I simply love eating and drinking. And I love our industry as a whole!
FE&S: Who was the person that influenced your career most?
Rudy Miick: No one in particular, but as a young boy I had the opportunity to work with many great chefs during an extended stay at the BREAKERS in Palm Beach, Fla. I have also been influenced by a handful of vintners, including David Raffanelli, David Bruce and Bo Barrett. I am drawn to vintners because they have no arrogance, and because of their connection to weather and the earth and passion for the integration of senses.
FE&S: What do you look for in a business partner?
Rudy Miick: Shared values, fast intelligence and passion without drama as well as commitment to excellence and the courage to keep evolving. My first business partners were a huge influence on my career. Both were 10 years older than me and ran a tight fiscal ship. We were running anticipatory costing models by hand — 15 years before computers — on a daily basis. Nothing but excellence was acceptable; that and fun on a daily basis. The other thing I learned from them was that an owner does NOT need to be on site to be successful. What creates success is the culture of the business, the spirit of the owner’s vision, sense of purpose. That vision has really helped me consult and guide the industry leaders and restaurant owners I have worked with over the years.
FE&S: What aspect of your career gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
Rudy Miick: You’d have to ask my clients and colleagues about this. I am beginning to be aware that I am leaving a wake from the work I/we do. I’d like to think my work has made a difference in people’s lives and their businesses. What I believe to be true is I never give up. I keep learning and applying my own learning.
FE&S: If you were not working in foodservice, what would you be doing?
Rudy Miick: It would be fun to be in the film business or write music.
FE&S: Any interesting hobbies?
Rudy Miick: I’ve worked hard to integrate my passions into my work. I love alpine skiing, paddling, mountaineering, body surfing. In the Miick Companies, we integrate all these activities into leadership education and growth, using sports as metaphor. As a result, I get to spend a good part of each year on snow, in the water or on top of mountains as much as in boardrooms.
FE&S: Finish this sentence: Nobody knows I...
Rudy Miick: I’m so extroverted most people know more about me than I do.