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Chris TripoliHospitality specialist Chris Tripoli is the Founder and former President of A’ La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group, a group of experienced restaurant professionals who advise restaurateurs on how to open, operate, and successfully grow their business. Chris’ 40-year career in the food service industry has allowed him to own, operate, develop, design, and consult. He has opened over 100 restaurants throughout his career. Chris lends his expertise as a writer, penning articles for Restaurants Startup, Growth Magazine, and By teaching courses in the art of opening and expanding restaurant brands, he’s also leading a new generation of food service professionals.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Chris Tripoli shares his journey in the food service world
  • Chris talks about A’ La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group and shares some of the milestones he’s proud of 
  • What led Chris to sell his company?
  • The restaurant brands Chris is most proud to have worked with
  • When opening a restaurant, do not overlook these items
  • Chris offers advice to new restaurateurs
  • The difference between a manager and a leader

In this episode…

The food industry is incredibly competitive, yet new concepts continue to emerge. Along with cash flow, delicious food, and compelling marketing, there are other steps to consider to have a successful restaurant. So, how do successful restaurants compete and have longevity?

If you want to break into the food industry, you’ll want to tune in to this episode featuring Chris Tripoli, a food service veteran with more than 40 years of experience. A piece of advice Chris offers is not to recreate the wheel. But what does that mean? Want to learn more?

Listen to this episode of the SpotOn Series with host Chad Franzen of Rise25 as he speaks with the Founder and former President of A’ La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group, Chris Tripoli. They discuss the food service industry, including the most common factors new restaurateurs overlook, and the difference between an effective manager and an effective leader — plus, Chris offers advice for up-and-coming restaurateurs.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode


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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show. Powered by Rise25 Media. We feature top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.

Chad Franzen 0:20

Chad Franzen here, cohost for this show where we feature top restauranteurs, investors, and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn series. SpotOn has the best-in-class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn Restaurant, where they combined marketing, software, and payments all in one. They serve everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and Subway to small mom-and-pop restaurants. To learn more, go to This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships with clients referral partners have thought leader in your space, there is no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing. To learn more, go to or email us at Chris Tripoli has opened 100 restaurants and his career as an owner, operator, developer, designer and consultant. He found A’ La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group. He writes for Restaurants Startup and Growth Magazine,, and teaches courses in the art of opening and expanding restaurant brands. Hey, Chris, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?

Chris Tripoli 1:26

Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m doing just fine. 

Chad Franzen 1:29

Hey, before we dive into what you’re doing now, tell me about A’ La Carte Food Service Consulting Group, where you were president for more than 25 years? What led to your involvement with that? And what are some milestones from your time there that you’re particularly proud of?

Chris Tripoli 1:42

Oh, great. Yeah, great. Well, I think I sort of morphed into doing that I had been doing concept development, before formerly developing a consulting group to do that. That led to some really good concepts, was working with an entertainment management group. And we created Truluck’s, which is a really good high end seafood restaurant concept. And at that time, we just did the first one or two in Texas, they’ve since gone, you know, beautifully and expanded to five states, 13 restaurants or so but and after that experience, I moved on and started doing development work on a contract basis for people and saw a tremendous need for that small independent, it did not have the home office, they don’t have HR planning, finance planning, you don’t have in house CFOs or, or operation directors because they just have two or three stores. So I decided if I could just put together a consulting group and manage those services for small guys who still need that they still need accurate budgeting, people development, they still need training, and they still need Concept Expansion. So that’s what led to it just sort of filling a need. And following my interest. What really, I guess some some of the trademark projects that I can think of is where we developed independently owned restaurants, in non traditional locations by putting small hands on restaurant operators in parks, arenas, working on airports, you know, that used to be land and only the big boys. I mean, if you weren’t a Marriott host or the SSP, or, you know, large contractor like that. And so it was not easy. But we were able to break into that and help bring very small, really good independently owned brands into that arena. And I guess next to that, I guess, was the international work. It was amazing to me that small businesses around the world wanted to operate their restaurants in a way that could compete with American chains. And so I answered that call and got to do restaurant work from Canada to the Caribbean, from South America, Mexico, Central America, the Middle East. And I always found those projects very challenging because you know, you’re in a market where you have to learn, you know, the clientele, you don’t understand the customs, you have no purveyor contacts, and yet your client is looking at you to help them succeed with their idea. So those are a couple that come to mind that were particularly

Chad Franzen 4:16

satisfying. So you traveled to all those places. Sir, what is there like a memory that stands out? During one of those experiences that’s kind of particularly unique, maybe eye opening, something like that?

Chris Tripoli 4:29

Oh, yeah. The first one that comes to mind is I was working with a client who’s become a dear friend now. Darwish, no. Kandra, who was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and one of our trips, we took a day and he took me into their local market. And that was tremendously eye opening, just to see how they operated their farmers markets and to see the types of produce and the collection of things and all those different things. It looks familiar to me but all had different names. And I was just going crazy, asking questions. is tasty this tasty, he finally had to come up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and said, you know, listen, if you would talk a little less you blend in a lot in the candy store.

Chad Franzen 5:15

Hey. So, you know you were there for 25 years what led to your decision to sell A’ La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group?

Chris Tripoli 5:24

I got to a point where my wife and I had decided we’d like to slow down a little, which is what we’ll call retirement, I guess it’s we decided that she had a very successful small business to that she had operated separate from food service, it was in corporate housing. She did real well with that for about 30 some years. But she was done. She was recuperating from cancer, and said, you know, what work is about done. And so I agreed. I said, You know what, it’s time for us to just slow down. And so the good news is she’s feeling wonderful. She’s recouped. And we did when he retired. So I sold A’ La Carte to people who were working for me at the time. So that allowed small group to continue provide the same services, but allow me to retire.

Chad Franzen 6:09

And I said, No, you will have been a part of opening over 100 brands. Can you give us an idea of what some of those brands are? I know, some of them may be some of the ones that are most proud of maybe some of the ones we’ve never heard of, but maybe give us some an idea of what some of those brands are.

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