Making it in the restaurant business is about more than just the food

Posted On September 6, 2019

Does a restauranteur ever get tired of foodies trying to pick his brain?

Not Chris Rainosek.

“No, not at all, because I am one of them,” Rainosek, owner and head chef of The Noble South in Mobile and our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working With Cam Marston,” says of food aficionados. “It’s one of my favorite things in the world to talk about, to dissect food and see what’s going on in the bigger picture.”

Much lower on Rainosek’s list of favorite things are the bad reviews that sometimes pop up on internet sites like Yelp. But even those, he says, can be a learning opportunity.

“They don’t affect me the way they used to,” says Rainosek, adding that the exposure such websites give restaurants generally outweighs the negatives that come with the odd bad review. “You can’t be a slave to them … but I think it’s good to keep an eye on.”

Opened in 2014, The Noble South offers farm-to-table Southern cooking in downtown Mobile. Rainosek shares how he built relationships with local farmers, what he thinks is the most underrated local ingredient, and why “Southern food” isn’t necessarily defined by what your grandmother made.

“When you say ‘Southern food,’ I think people have preconceived notions of what that should be,” he says. “We take the stance that Southern food is food made with Southern ingredients.”

Rainosek also shares insight into the difficulties of succeeding in the difficult restaurant business – the reasons why so many fail, the risks and rewards of being creative with the menu, the primary quality he believes is required to make it, and the keys to managing staff in an industry notorious for strong personalities.

“You have to provide people a place where they can feel comfortable to be themselves because we want to foster creativity,” he says. “We think we’ve created a place that’s welcoming to everybody and I think it has to start at the top.”

Join us for a tasty discussion about the restaurant business.

Categories: What's Working with Cam Marston