Chelsea Gunn has collected several lifetime’s worth of experiences throughout her career in restaurants. From working on lines around the country to building her own business, she learned a lot about food, but more importantly the character built by working in restaurants. With a broad skill set and a newfound definition of “family,” Chelsea pivoted from restaurants to Restaurant365 four years ago. Chelsea now works as a Business Manager of Unified Solutions focusing on migration efforts.
We sat down with Chelsea to discuss her professional experience and what led to her transition into restaurant software. Read on to hear about the hard lessons she learned in the kitchen and how they apply to professionals looking to grow their careers.
Let's Meet Chelsea
What’s your favorite food?
What’s your favorite restaurant?
City House in Nashville, Tennessee – which, ironically, does not serve ramen!
How long have you been with Restaurant365?
Officially for four years, as of this past weekend.
What do you like most about working for Restaurant365?
Being a part of a company that has been successfully growing over the last four years. I have been incredibly lucky to be able to point to areas of interest and have senior leadership support my personal and professional growth. I’ve not only received tools and support to go after these goals but have been coached and encouraged along the way.
Finding Her Sweet Spot
Tell us about your time working in restaurants.
I was lucky enough to be able to receive a culinary and pastry degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where we were in class and practicing 14 hours a day, 6 days a week for 9 months. After culinary school, I came back to the states and bartended while I was a private chef, eventually opening my own chocolate shop in Nashville. At my shop, we made all our chocolates in house. We were also a wine bar that served charcuterie boards and French-inspired breakfast and lunch.
Working in this industry you quickly learn a new, different version of family: a chosen set of people who all must grind and hustle together, working towards the same goal each day. You may fight or get frustrated with one another, but at the end of the shift, you all grab a beer to reminisce about your hectic day. When you open your own restaurant, you find that there’s a craziness and bravery inside of you that allows you to put a piece of yourself out into the world. While it is an exhausting experience, it’s incredibly rewarding.
How did your career path lead you to Restaurant365?
After selling my business, I worked seasonal chef jobs around the country, everywhere from Montana to Alaska. Having worked on the line and helped open multiple restaurants, I was excited to learn more about the back-office strategies that went into the restaurant business. During one of these jobs, I was a client of R365 and went through implementation a little over four years ago.
Throughout implementation, it was clear how much my coach genuinely cared – not only about how the implementation went – but about how I felt along the way. I got to see firsthand the difference between “customer service” and “customer care” and, right away, I knew this was a company that I needed to join. Shortly after concluding implementation, I asked my coach if there were any open positions at Restaurant365 and the rest is history.
‘Gunn’-ing for Greatness
How does your daily work impact our business and the industry?
My current role is my favorite thus far, as it has allowed me to work cross-departmentally and gain a greater understanding of what each department needs to be successful while focusing on migration efforts. We gained such a wealth of talent and all-around wonderful people when R365 acquired Compeat. Now operating as one, I know that our company’s product offers something truly incredible and revolutionary for the industry.
What impact can restaurant technology have on the operation of a successful restaurant?
The exciting and hard part about restaurants is that, while you think you know what you are walking into every day, no two days will be the same. By taking the guess work out of everything – like your accounting, inventory, scheduling, and payroll – it truly allows you to focus on creating the best guest experience.
What advice do you have for current restaurant industry workers looking to grow their careers?
It can be difficult to see that your day-to-day interactions can apply to other areas outside of the service industry, but you’re building an incredibly valuable and well-rounded skillset. Whether you decide to stay in restaurants throughout your career or pivot a couple of times like I did, the character you built each shift will take you far. From escalation techniques to cost analysis and people management, this fast-paced industry teaches you a lot.