Why Restaurants Should Have General Managing Partners with Skin in the Game

Jeff Gigante started his first pizzeria during his final year at Florida State University, twenty years ago. He’s been in the restaurant business ever since. This man knows what he’s doing. Period. He runs popular, profitable restaurants, and he focuses every day on his 300+ staff, and the 35,000 people his restaurants (Ciccio’s Water, Daily Eats, Lodge, Ciccio’s Lodge, Ciccio’s California Cuisine, The Lime) serve weekly. When we interviewed Jeff for Restaurant Owners Uncorked, he us why he has general managing partners who have skin in the game and own a piece of his business…


We’ve financed a lot of our partners that ended up becoming general managing partners of our business, after they’ve been managers for a couple of years, and they want a piece of it.

For me, it’s very important that people are willing to put skin in the game, because then they’re truly vested like we are. They live and die by the success of the business. It’s easy for a GM who’s making $60,000 a year to become indifferent to the bottom line. When he sees a server throw plastic tray with a piece of deli sheet on it – that we serve sandwiches on and that costs me $0.89 – into the trash, he doesn’t dive in there to get it, and then grab that server and say, “Listen, this is not garbage.” When somebody’s got their salary and they’re comfortable, it’s hard for them to have those types of eyes.

But when they know that they’ve borrowed money from their mother, and stuck it into this restaurant, and she’s calling and saying, “How is it doing son? Are you doing o.k.? Are you making money? What? You made a $2,200 bonus at the end of this month? That’s phenomenal!” That’s a different aspect altogether.

That’s the people we’re looking for, because this is my passion. This is what I do to take care of my family.


In the book, Jeff goes on to talk about why it’s important to be paranoid, why he pays managers based on profits, and how one of his concepts is doing up to $1,700,000 per year with 20% margins in a 2,800 square foot space.

The Schedulefly Crew