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February 8, 2023 16 mins

The Pre-Shift Podcast presented by 7shifts breaks down everything you’ve ever wanted to know about running a restaurant better. Conversations with some of the biggest names, newest players, and industry innovators bring key insights into how they grew their businesses.  Host DJ Costantino asks probing questions to get to know restauranteurs, chefs, and executives better and find out where they came from, how they got to where they are, and what lessons they learned along the way. 

On this episode, we’re joined by Kelly Phillips, Founder of Destination Unknown Restaurants. Here are some of the highlights:

  • How Kelly started her businesses
  • The decision to put many of her staff on a salary
  • The impact that salaries have had on the team dynamic
  • Why salaried roles in restaurants aren’t all that radical
  • And how you can explore new comp strategies at your restaurant

Guest Bio
Kelly is Founder and Partner in Destination Unknown Restaurants, which is known across DC for Ghostburger (2020, 2022), Taqueria Las Gemelas (2021), and Destino (2021). Recent career accomplishments for Kelly include welcoming President Biden into Taqueria Las Gemelas for Cinco de Mayo shortly after the concept's opening, being part of the 2021 RAMMY winning team for the restaurant group's nomination in multiple categories, and landing on Washington Business Journal's 40 Under 40 2022 list and FSR's 2022 "Rising Stars" list. Kelly was also an integral part of the leadership team that transformed Las Gemelas Cocina Mexicana into Destino in December 2021. It reopened to glowing feedback from guests for their ambitious rustic Mexican fare. Shortly thereafter, Destino landed on Washingtonian Magazine's competitive list of the top 25 Best New Restaurants that opened during the pandemic alongside sister restaurant, Las Gemelas. In late summer 2022, Kelly also transitioned her first restaurant, Espita, into Ghostburger's first standalone concept in a full circle moment for the award-winning pandemic pop-up that began in Espita's Mexican kitchen. Across all of these concepts, Kelly has implemented a living wage at all of her restaurants and eliminated tipping, which she hopes will show other restaurateurs that reevaluating your wage structure is possible, and may even make your restaurant more successful. 

Additional Resources

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Host & Executive Producer: D.J. Costantino
Editor: Fina Charleston
Producer: Samantha Fung
Designer: Jake Sinclair

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