Episode 37

Published on:

16th Aug 2023

Putting the Guest First: Craig Haley, President of Smokey Mo's BBQ’s Secrets to Creating a Memorable Guest Experience

In this episode of the Titans of Foodservice podcast, host Nick Portillo speaks with Craig Haley, President of Smokey Mo's Texas Barbecue. Craig shares his journey and insights into the food service industry. Starting as a delivery driver in high school, Craig fell in love with the restaurant industry and worked his way up to become a restaurant manager. Craig's passion for operations and guest experience led him to his current role at Smokey Mo's, where he focuses on strategies to grow the brand and build better teams. He emphasizes the importance of quality, service, and creating a fun and enjoyable environment for both employees and guests.


  • “Learning about the personalities on your team and how to put people in the right places is something that certainly is important in every  industry, but incredibly important in the restaurant industry.” - Craig Haley [07:38]
  • “Figure out the best practice and then write it down and make it easy to train. Flowchart it out. And the important thing about that is that each time somebody comes to any of your restaurants, it's the same. But also if you find that there's an issue, if you start seeing that guests are complaining about something you can go back to the process and go: ‘Okay, how can we tweak this?.’ And it just makes the whole problem-solving process much easier when you already have it written down." - Craig Haley [27:02]


02:31 Craig's background in the restaurant industry

12:56 Common failures in the restaurant industry

16:59 Strategies for getting five-star reviews on Yelp 

25:01 Smokey Mo's Texas Barbecue

30:36 Craig's day-to-day responsibilities as President of Smokey Mo's

34:04 Goals and strategies for Smokey Mo's future growth 


Portillo Sales


Nick: nick.portillo@portillosales.com

Craig: https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-haley-b4066835/

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About the Podcast

Titans of Foodservice
Nick Portillo shares with you the things he has learned on his own journey of building a successful business in the food service industry.

About your host

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Seth Creekmore