The real Underground Culinary Tour is not for the faint of heart. By the end of day one, I returned home zonked, my mind and body beyond full. . . You are far more fortunate. You have in your hands an excellent guide to our adventure. There are no buses to board, no credentials to proffer, and you don’t have to worry about pacing yourself. All the tour’s secrets – the cutting-edge trends, the wisdom of employing data and technology, the hidden dining revolution – are all yours and may be gleaned with the turn of a page.”
--From the Foreword by Danny Meyer, Union Square Hospitality Group
"Avero has become the go-to tech company for the hospitality industry, but the secret to Damian's success lies in his deeply rooted passion for food.... which The Underground Culinary Tour illustrates brilliantly!"
--Tom Colicchio, Celebrity Chef and Owner of Crafted Hospitality
“Many years ago, when I worked in a brewery restaurant, it seemed to me that only a few people in the business had what I called "The Sight" - the ability to see, feel, smell, and hear every single thing happening in the dining room at once. The Sight was like a super-power, and the proper use of it could help make a restaurant a success. Not only does Damian have The Sight, but his book can give you this power too. The Sight is in the data if you know how to look. This book will help you find the Holy Grail of the restaurant business - a healthier check average tied to a happier customer.”
--Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster, The Brooklyn Brewery
“In The Underground Culinary Tour, Damian Mogavero takes us behind the scenes to see how pioneering restaurants are using data and creativity to serve up a triple win: delighted customers, fulfilled staff, and profitable owners. Readers and leaders in any industry being transformed by data will value its insights.”
--Jan W. Rivkin, Professor, Harvard Business School
"Damian shows how analytics and thoughtful food make for a memorable meal for both patrons and restaurateurs alike. His work was the source of great value to Caesars and will be to you, no matter the industry, whether you run restaurants or simply dine happily in them."
--Gary Loveman, Chairman, Caesars Entertainment
“If you're looking to stay ahead of the curve in our business, read this informative and compelling book.”
--Michael Chernow, owner of Seamore’s, cofounder of The Meatball Shop and host of FoodPorn
“If a modern day chef's mission is to cook simply and let their ingredients shine, then Damian's message is to simply let information speak. He shows us how data, when mixed with creativity, can be just as transformative to a business as the food and hospitality itself. Part history, part map of where to eat, part demystification of what makes a restaurant great––and a great restaurant profitable––Damian's stories are just as appealing as the food and drink he's describing, and just as satiating.”
--Katie Carguilo, Quality Analyst, Counter Culture Coffee, and 2012 National Barista Champion
“Damian, through Avero, has increased financial transparency and reporting through a well thought out interface, designed for people who love to cook and provide amazing hospitality. The Underground Culinary Tour is a reflection of how people like me began to work with technology to provide a better guest experience.”
--Jean Georges Vongerichten, Celebrity Chef and Owner of Jean Georges Restaurants
"Damian's incredible vision and ability to combine his passion for food and analytical intelligence have helped bring an extraordinary tool into existence. The insights and information Avero offers have allowed Lettuce Entertain You and the entire hospitality industry to see a different side of the business."
--Kevin Brown, CEO and President of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.
"Our economy is being reshaped, industry by industry, by entrepreneurs who connect content with technology to develop applications and platforms to advance efficiency, productivity and profit. In the restaurant industry the pioneer leading the charge is Damian Mogavero. And where does Damian learn the trends – as we discover in this remarkable book, from the Underground Culinary Tour!"
--Michael D. Johnson, Provost, Babson College; Dean Emeritus, Cornell School of Hotel Administration
"Damian and Avero have positioned themselves at the convergence of the art and the science that creates a great restaurant experience. . .Through The Underground Culinary Tour, Damian allows you to join him on the exhilarating (and exhausting) tours that he has hosted to highlight great work going on across our industry. Enjoy the ride!"
--David A. Pace, CEO, Jamba Inc.
“These days, there are a dizzying number of tech companies sprouting up within the hospitality world- all with the intent of making our lives easier, the guest experience better, and our bottom lines more intact. But Damian has been doing just that for nearly two decades. The vision he showed (and continues to show!) is inspiring. Add to that his genuine and profound passion for food and hospitality… There is a lot to love about Damian, and even more to learn from his book.”
--Will Guidara, Restauranteur, Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad
“Damian Mogavero has blazed new territory in how to utilize data to improve our restaurants.. His passion for food is unparalleled. It shows how loving what you do can be both inspiring and creative. Check out The Underground Culinary Tour to see exactly how creative Damian is.”
--GJ Hart, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen
“Damian Mogavero’s book not only takes the reader through a wonderful journey of what it’s like to run a restaurant, it shows how technology and analytics are transforming one of America’s biggest and most visible industries.”
--Pietro Satriano, President and CEO, US Foods
“In the past 10 years, the restaurant industry has seen an influx of technology, all promising to impact the bottom line. However, it took a smarter visionary to transform the data and provide us invaluable insights to run our restaurants better. This practical and technical tool is enhanced by the genius of Damian Mogavero from his passion for food, wine and hospitality. His journey in this book is a true success story about people, chefs and restauranteurs, and their businesses.”
--Daniel Boulud, Chef/Owner Dinex Group
“At the heart of every great restaurant are the passionate people who bring it to life. No one knows this better than Damian Mogavero. In The Underground Culinary Tour, Damian shows how data and technology are empowering people to embrace change and transforming the guest experience across our industry.”
--Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Eating out has gone from a special occasion treat to a daily occurrence for many people. Cooking TV shows usher viewers into restaurant kitchens and freezers, while smart phones allow diners to analyze wine list prices before placing an order. Mogavero, who developed and sells a restaurant management software frequently mentioned in the book, attributes restaurant success and longevity to managing four factors: ingredients, beverages, space, and an "X factor" unique to each entity. Two chapters detail the real-life "Underground Culinary Tour," an exclusive New York City tasting tour, overseen by Mogavero, for a select group of restaurant executives. Writing with journalist D'Agnese, other chapters explore how detailed income and expense data can minimize waste, manage inventory, help with training personnel, and uncover theft. VERDICT This work is more enlightening on the subject of how America serves food, than how it eats. Those interested in an analytical approach to owning a restaurant, nightclub, or bar will be especially interested in Mogavero's ideas. Readers wanting to know more about the inner workings of the service industry may also be an audience.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch., Fort Worth, TX
A book that not only goes behind the scene and through the kitchen, but into the metrics that distinguish a thriving restaurant from a floundering one.As the founder of Avero, Mogavero provides data and analysis to thousands of restaurants worldwide, and he demonstrates how crunching the numbers need not be an impediment to culinary achievement. To the contrary, he writes, "I have told you something of a white lie in saying that this book is about data. It's really about creativity." He makes persuasive arguments that some of the best restaurants in the country—in one particularly interesting chapter, he cites the Brennan family of New Orleans fame—make creative use of data to enhance the customer's satisfaction in an extraordinary dining experience. Though the various chapters seem more like independent pieces than a cohesive whole (more of a buffet than a multicourse meal), the ones that give the book its title are most revelatory, as Mogavero guides readers on "a tour [that] has taken on the lore of legend for foodies, long whispered about but never penetrated by journalists or other outsiders." Each year, he invites a party of various movers and shakers in the restaurant industry to blitz through the New York City dining scene, hitting a bunch of places—from high end to food trucks—that are doing something particularly interesting or innovative. The guests are generally begging for mercy long before the eating and drinking stops, though the experience is easier to digest on the page, and the insights help point to what diners across the country are likely to appreciate next. As the author explains, because of the ubiquity of food blogs, other sites, and social media, "trends that used to take twenty years to go mainstream now take 12 months." Mogavero provides a surfeit of palate-cleansing insight.