In January of 1996 I flew to Monterey to oversee the Lobster Grotto's closing. We had six weeks to devise a new restaurant concept, build it, train a group to run it and then open for business. You read that right: six weeks to create a restaurant, from soup to nuts, and begin serving food.
My team was anchored by two Vice-Presidents, Tim Busald and Gail Cederoth. I viewed them as the stronger players in the company and they consistently delivered on their outstanding management skills through the challenges of the Bubba Gump startup, in part because:
- I stoked their burning but clean rivalry at every possible turn.
- I divided up the responsibilities for the concept's development between them.
Gail handled the "soft" side including what we thought would be a small retail operation. Tim oversaw the "science" including the recipes.
The team worked well together and it was proof of Reagan's old pronouncement, "It's amazing how much can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit."