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Ep. 107 Dan Celis from Tommy’s Speak Eatery

By September 6, 2022January 9th, 2023No Comments

Episode Guide

Episode #125 with Kay Peacy from Slick Business

Episode #124 with Marc Toews from Gateway Web AR

Episode #123 with Sherry Pratt from Sherry Pratt Health Coaching

Episode #122 with Aaron Strauss from Cache Tactical Supply

Episode #121 with Cedric Delavaud from Ludoland Regina

Episode #120 with Jasmine Patterson from BDC

Episode #119 with Jeff Harmel from Realty Executives Diversified Realty

Episode #118 with Shahzad Khoja from IBITS

Episode #117 with Kathy Sabo from QC Gifts

Episode #116 with Andrea Lo from the Toronto Dating Hub

Episode #115 with Karey Kapell from Next Level Coaching

Episode #114 with Joel Sopp from Socially Acceptable Marketing

Episode #113 with Annabel Townsend from The Penny University

Episode #112 with Cathlyn Melvin about her Tedx Coaching

Episode #111 with Corey Liebrecht from Zippity Zip Courier

Episode #110 with Quinn Nikulak from Kustom Kitties Canada

Episode #109 with Tess Boehm from Totally Tess Tradeshows

Episode #108 with Shane Chapman from the Ultimate Deck Shop

Episode #107 with Dan Celis from Tommy's Speakeatery

Episode #106 with Ann Corcoran

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

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Looking for a local pub with Saskatchewan flavours and a farm-to-table menu?

Look no further than Tommy’s Speakeatery!

I can personally attest to their delicious menu, cold bevies and delightful staff. I just mayyyyy have spent a day or 12 on the patio at this local establishment.

Tune in today as we learn more about this neighbourhood pub, one of its owners, Dan Celis, corporate sales guru turned restaurant owner, and the lengths they go to, to serve their customers.


Are you ready to make the door swing, the phone ring and the till ding? One of the best kept secrets in any community is its network of local businesses. Businesses that rely on local customers, foot traffic and phone calls.

Those same businesses that support your kids’ sports teams, donate to fundraising efforts and supply the cold bevies on a hot summer afternoon. But no more secrets. From the skinned knee lessons that’ll make you wince to the tell-all exposees. These everyday people are doing extraordinary things in their business.

Today we’re sharing the secrets of Tommy’s Speak Eatery, a relative newcomer on the food scene. Welcome to The Secret Life of local. I’m your host Barb McGrath, Google girl and founder of the Get found for local program. Let’s get started.

Our guest today is Dan Celis. He’s the owner of one of the hottest spots here in Regina. And I don’t just mean because it’s 29 degrees outside today. So Dan, take it away. Tell us a little bit about yourself and Tommy’s Speakeatery.

So I’m the managing partner of Tommy Speakeatery, we opened our doors at the end of 2018. That kind of just got into a groove, you can say, By the spring of 2020.

And we all know what happened in 2020.

Yeah, you know, it’s kind of one of those moments where you’d put a lot of work in and you started seeing everything going in the right way. And you know, you’re getting excited, and you’re like, the hard work starting to pay off and then all of a sudden, you know, everyone’s saying, Oh, it’s nothing. It’s nothing at all very much. It is a very big thing.

Exactly. Remember those early COVID conversations? Oh, it’s just the flu. Oh, yeah. Just a cold. Right. Yeah. Like,

it was pretty, it was pretty interesting. And I mean, I don’t think any of us had any idea what we were in for. I mean, I didn’t have any idea what I was in for when I got into the business either. I don’t think

exactly. And none of us had ever lived through a pandemic. There hadn’t been one in over 100 years. So how could we know? But boy, you know, thanks to social media and everything else. 100 years from now, they’ll know what to expect from the pandemic. Thanks. So, thanks to our kids. No doubt. So, yes, so talk a little bit about how you got into, I guess, both entrepreneurship, but also restaurant entrepreneurship, because that can be particularly challenging.

Well, I mean, part of it might have been not knowing what to do with myself in my spare time. So when, I guess way back when I was going to school, I was going to school full time working full time. And when I was done school, I kinda was going a little bit crazy not knowing what to do. With my spare time spent a bit just building random things in the garage different projects and got myself a job in media sales and consulting like as an account executive kind of thing and ended up my first business investing in a niche market pet store here in Regina prairie aquatics where we do saltwater, fish, aquariums reptiles, so none of your cuddly things, any of your dogs or cats, but

Nothing furry.

Yeah, exactly just the tarantulas.

And that would wake me up at night.

So definitely kind of a little bit of a niche market, and then you know, is working full time and going in and building that business working on that business for a few years. But so you know, I just couldn’t really sit still in my, in my spare time. And then kind of moved on in my career from media sales and consulting with the leader post, and it was working at real. And it just was not, didn’t operate at the pace that I was used to. So I was looking at just trying to do things a little bit quicker, a little bit faster and work, I guess, more independently. And, like, maybe is going a little bit bad either. And I had known. I had known some friends of mine, their parents had been in the restaurant industry for decades, and I had been talking to them as some of my clients are for marketing, advertising and consulting and whatnot. And just at the time, right next door to one of their businesses was open for lease and I kind of joked if they’re going to open a bar there. And yeah, and they were thinking about it at the time. And you know, one thing led to another and we were looking at doing a completely different thing, which would be gringos tacos, which now is kind of a ghost kitchen. We ran out of Tommy’s, but that was the original thing that we were looking to do. But kind of we actually had made some offers to lease and you know, we’re getting quite far down that road, but then on the partners are, like, you know, before we start doing something new, we have a project here that we’re doing that’s not going as we’d like it to, and let’s fix what we’ve got before we start anything new kind of thing.

Yeah. And that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Oh, yeah. You know, yet, I think probably you know, given the COVID and how many businesses that they had to worry about then to have one less than the end was probably pretty good.

Exactly a blessing in disguise.

For sure. So you know, sometimes it’s good to not bite off more than you can chew because I know some of my partner’s there are one of them in particular, like in a week it looked like he had aged 10-15 years just like just with the stress of everything and those first couple of weeks and march 2020 and like the uncertainty of everything right and just trying to who do we keep employed who don’t we, but anyway.

And those were brutal hard decisions for business owners. And those are the kinds of things that, you know, we all, we all knew it was happening, but we don’t talk about a lot. And it wasn’t that small businesses didn’t want to keep their employees, they didn’t have a choice. Like they’re literally their doors were closed and they were closed for an indefinite period of time. What do you do, you can’t pay a server when there’s no serving to be done.

100% that I’d heard, like, there were a lot of folks in our communities that paid staff out of their own savings, or took out loans for their businesses and paid their staff out of that. And you know, that there’s only so much that people can do.

There’s only so much you can do. Yep, yep, yep. And every business is different. If you have one or two staff, and you can help them along, that’s a totally different thing than if you’ve got a team of, you know, 20, because you’ve got five different locations or five different restaurants, right. And so the scope and the magnitude really changes. So let’s not go down the COVID path, because hopefully, we’re looking at the you know, I’m hearing some kind of ugly rumors here about the fall and what we might expect, but that’s okay. We’re not there yet. I’m not going to talk about it. So for right now, I’m putting my rose colored glasses on. And so tell me what’s different about Tommy’s. I know you guys are so Saskatchewan focused, Saskatchewan-based, Saskatchewan-taste. So tell me about that.

We definitely try to do a lot of things different from, like, just the way our team operates to the way I manage to the way we build our menu and support local, like, I mean, supporting local has been a big thing. It’s helped us out, kept us in, in business. So we’ve made sure that we’re doing the same thing. So every single beer that we have on tap at Tommy’s is made in Saskatchewan that’s it that’s all definitely have some folks come in and try to get on their taps and I just tell them you know, open up a brewery in Saskatchewan or open one back up or what have you and then then maybe we can talk but we do the same thing with our menu as well as the as much as we can like all Saskatchewan pork. That’s actually the pork industry here in Saskatchewan is fantastic. It is the beef industry of course, as well. And so a lot of Saskatchewan beef, Saskatchewan pork as much as we can. Even I guess, a little bit of an oxymoron, but farmed wild boar, if you will, you know, we got that on our menu as well.

I’ve never eaten that. So wait a second to hold on backup the wild boar. So what like what’s actually on your menu that has wild boar in it?

So we have our wild boar chorizo, which is one of our tacos. Okay. And then we also will rotate some wild boar and on for different features and will be also included on our fall menu that we’re working to put together right now because of course that’s just around the corner.

No, no, no, no, fall is a long way away.

That’s what I’d like to thank you all right, I hear that you got the Halloween decorations for sale. Christmas decorations for sale drive me kind of bonkers. I just want to not pay attention to that, not listen to the back to school ads, et cetera.

So here, okay, so that sounds kind of cool. But just tell me a little bit about the producers. It is a big production item here in the province because I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before.

Honestly, it can be a little bit more difficult to get your hands on because, of course, just kind of the way that distribution networks work. Even if something’s made in Saskatchewan, processed in Saskatchewan, sometimes it doesn’t necessarily mean you can just lickety split, get it from a supplier here in Saskatchewan. So sometimes we have to ask our own suppliers to get to work for us and see what they can find for us. But they’ve been great that way. And I mean, even when it comes down to some of the few items that we don’t make entirely from scratch ourselves, we’re able to get from plants that process up in Saskatoon and whatnot.

So yeah, very cool. Well, a little known fact, of course, when you and I were emailing back and forth to set up today’s episode, I was teasing you and said, Oh, yeah, we’re planning to come there. The one afternoon and we never ended up making it. But I said to my husband, just before we started today, cuz he’s home with me right now to work. And I said to him, we’re going to that patio today, no questions asked. We are getting on her bike. We’re going because we’re heading up to Lake for a few days. So nice. Yes. Looking forward to it very much.

Just a gorgeous day. We’re just so lucky to get this today. And finally,

exactly. And going back to what I said earlier, the kids can’t come and I’m OK with that.

It’s kind of nice. People have an excuse to kind of leave them at home or drop them off at the parents or grandparents or whatever it may be.

You know, it’s funny. When your kids are little, you’re like, Oh, if you take them everywhere, you need the babysitter. It’s a ton of work. I get it. They’re teenagers, they want nothing to do with you anyway. It’s like, staying at home, watching TV, making popcorn for supper will show up in a couple of hours. You know, we’ll try and figure out how to get a pizza home on our bike and we’ll see then.

You go Yeah, so for sure, yeah, no minors inside or on the patio. But we can have all the pupper dogs that you’d like on the patio. So they’re definitely welcome as long as you know, they’re on a leash and reasonably well behaved.

So let’s talk a little bit about your fall menu. By the time our listeners have a chance to tune into this episode, it’ll be either early fall or while No, I guess fall doesn’t actually start too late September anyway, it’ll be later. Let’s just go with that. So let’s talk about this fall menu. What can we expect to see?

Well, like it was saying, we’re going to be bringing our wild boar, I guess wild boar pork belly, if you could call it that and make this our chef calls it a Borchetta. So Borchetta is what he’s calling it. And we did it as a feature here in the summer, and it went over pretty good. So we’re going to be bringing that back for the fall. We’re going to be expanding on our past menu. So of course, all House made noodles and homemade sauce is in the works. And we’re going to be doing a take on an a, what’s called a Capone’s Al Capone spaghetti, which was cool. So following our prohibition theme that we’ve got for Tommy’s Speakeatery, and we’re going to be kind of leaning on that a bit.

And so I guess the Capone family had their own family recipe, which is essentially kind of like a walnut pesto versus pine nuts, if you will. So we’re gonna give that a go see how that goes this fall, hey, and also going to be bringing back some of their original menu items that we launched back in 2018. That I guess got the chop during COVID. Because it just didn’t, just didn’t work. Couldn’t do it during those times. So there are some things that we did before that are going to be coming back. Hopefully better than ever.

Very cool. Were you a foodie before you got into this business?

Um, oh, little bit, I was lucky. I was lucky enough to work under some really good chefs here in Regina, when I was younger, like 19 to 22. But a few different spots. Murry McDonald, Dan Taylor, a couple of names of people would know Steve Barzan really well. Some really good folks, great teachers. And they just kind of set a higher bar of expectation and both like food quality and execution. And I guess just taking some extra pride in your work and how you run a kitchen and a restaurant and whatnot. So that really stuck with me. And it was always something when I was like 1920 that I had this dream that I’d wanted to do a restaurant, but I was like the only way I could I could justify it though if I had a piece of the pie so to speak.

Yeah, yeah, no, I totally get that. So when you look at that, that evolution or that transition for you, you went from that corporate gig that I always like to say my mum and dad expected. And so I did what mum and dad expected for too many years. And now I’m doing what I expect. And so I’ve never looked back but when you look at that transition from corporate to entrepreneurialism, which is the longest word possible to say in a podcast, talk a little bit about that because there was no guaranteed paycheck now you’d been in sales. So you know your paychecks were a little bit variable before I suppose. But how did you make that leap? How did that go for you?

Oh, man. It was a little easier because like I had mentioned I was pretty frustrated with where I was at at the time. I’m just kind of in one of these. You’re part of the management team situation so we’re just going to call you up to do whatever whenever without necessarily a plan but anyways, I digress from that. I just couldn’t take it I guess you could say and I was ready to pretty much do anything. You know, just kind of anything to be my own boss and not have my time wasted. I mean, I can waste my own time. I just don’t like when other people waste it.

I could waste hours, you know, on a social media post on our short form video, like, I can waste hours, but if somebody else was making me waste that time, it would drive me nuts. I hear ya.

I so I couldn’t even I just couldn’t like, I couldn’t even as they say. So like I mentioned I knew some folks, and gonna just one conversation led to another and eventually is like, Okay, this is what I’m doing. And I guess, you know, when you’re discontent with some things, it’s a lot easier to do that. But I’m also, I guess, you know, as a little bit of a younger person not totally risk averse at this juncture, particularly then, so is willing to take my shot. Yeah, I guess.

I’ll never forget the first day though. Or, like, you know, when it’s kind of like sinking in that this is getting to be real, or this is real, maybe it was like my first week, kind of thing back in the restaurant industry after probably 10 years have nothing to do with the restaurant industry at all. And like sitting on the couch and watching TV, and I swear I could just feel my brain rewiring itself. Like and like it’s just like, okay, all this stuff that you like, you know, it’s been processing on the back burner, like clients, numbers and projections, commissions, all of that just like, push that off the shelf. And now we’re gonna refill this. A bunch of other stuff adds on, maybe it’s just the stress, but literally felt like my brain was just rewiring itself. It was the weirdest thing. Yeah, maybe a little bit of terror as well. But

I suppose Hey, but you know, there’s, there’s, it’s amazing to me how quickly your brain can shut one thing off, and then pick the next thing up. Right? Like, just without missing a beat. It’s like tomorrow, I wake up, and now I’m a restaurant owner. So these are the things I need to do. Right. And, and restaurant business is hard at the best of times, margins are thin. I know, I used to work for tourism, Saskatchewan. And so we had one CEO who was just, there’s probably multiple CEOs who are fantastic, but one in particular that I’m thinking of. And he had been in hotels and food and beverage for years. And he got talking one day about how slim margins can be. And it was totally eye opening for me. Totally eye opening. Because you look at a $25 meal, and you think oh my god, like that’s huge. Well, you got to pay for all of the utilities, and you got to pay for all the staff, you got to pay for all the supplies that went into making it and you gotta pay for what it costs to actually get all of those supplies to this location. And and and and, and it’s like, oh, yeah, ok $25 bucks for burgers, not that bad. after all.

Yeah, the soap to the garbage bags to everything, you know? Yep. Well, it’s all built into that one price. There’s no other. Yeah, there’s no other source. Really. Right.

Yeah. So I don’t know if you can talk about this. But this is just something I’ve always been curious about. When you guys are putting priced items, obviously, you have to have a pretty good idea what your overhead is. Do you look at a menu item and know that you need to add 20, 30, 40% to your supply cost? Do you ballpark? Know, your supply costs are going up? And like how do prices evolve? And how do you land on that right price?

Right now it’s a little bit more interesting than probably ever because of inflation. I like talking to my business partners, they own other restaurants, it’s like menu prices are going up 5% Every three months, whereas, you know, mice might have been like 50 cents at a time now 5%. And if you’re selling menu items that are 20 plus dollars, sometimes it starts to add up pretty quickly. And then of course the other challenges on the flip side is trying to keep your costs as low as possible or totally removing some stuff from your menu because you can’t charge what you need to charge to make that a viable menu item right? So then it is just sitting there and it’s going nowhere, and you’re in the food quality drops and of course, so you can’t do that. So we used to do that a lot with the lamb. We were really pushing lamb a lot on our menu within tacos and features and whatnot. And it started to take off and now all the price of lamb has taken off. So no more lamb on the menu.

Yeah, if you’re the kind of person who pays any attention, when you’re grocery shopping and stuff like that, excuse me. If you’re the kind of person that pays any attention to those prices, they go up right now and then they come back down. Then they go up and they come back down. And so there’s this rebalancing that’s happening I think across the board but definitely anywhere in that food industry where some of it is sellers figuring out where that right price is. Some is simply supply and demand, the demand goes up, the supply hasn’t. Right. And so you’ve got to be able to make your mark up there. Absolutely. Pricing in general, as an industry, is just fascinating for anyone who would understand it and study it.

Exactly agreed, like so in the restaurant industry, like traditionally, I guess, like I mean a very wide generalization, you’d be looking at like a 30%, food cost, a 30% labor cost. And then the rest of all your overheads and all, like your counting fees, the work processing fees, the processing fees that you’re charged on collecting taxes, the work is gonna add up to another 30%. And then you know, if you’re doing everything right, you’re left with 10%.

Yeah, and that’s your margin 10%.

Exactly. And I mean, and that’s kind of in a perfect world, I’m lucky that I’ve got some really good staff both in the kitchen and out front and pay them accordingly. So, nor food, or labor cost is not necessarily in that realm of the textbook number, it’s definitely higher. But also, we make almost everything from scratch.

Yes, and so it takes longer. People don’t, don’t take don’t take that into account, because when all you have to do is unfreeze something or defrost it right, cook it up, warm it up and serve it like that takes nothing but is made fresh. Game Changer.

Exactly. So while I have run a little bit of a higher labor costs, so then I target a lower food cost to balance it out. As opposed to a lot of places at least as far as franchises go. A lot of the American ones, it’s frozen in a box off a truck, and then straight into a deep fryer straight into a microwave. There are restaurants in this city with like, eight or 10 microwaves in the kitchen. And it’s doing and they’re doing most of it. And, and it’s just the kind of thing that, you know, when you take pride in what you’re doing that you don’t want to do. Exactly, right. And you can pay the same price. Sometimes you go to a place where you can microwave pasta and you’re gonna pay the same price somewhere else where it’s made from scratch. But you don’t necessarily know that he is a consumer.

And that’s just it consumers don’t know, one of the things that I find really interesting is if you look at the food landscape, here in Regina, or Saskatchewan as a whole, it’s really changed in the last 10 years. So every restaurant used to be burger and fries, chips and fries, whatever was now like every menu, I won’t say every menu in so many places are unique. They offer Saskatchewan flavor. They offer, you know, flavors from different countries. They offer vegetarian, like the menus, and the flavors have just changed so drastically. Do you think that that has, you know, really driven interest in terms of consumers eating out more ordering? You know, to go more? Do you think it’s driven the industry in the right direction?

Well, I would think so. And hope so I mean, Regina has one of the highest per capita is of like restaurants to the population of pretty much anywhere. And definitely having more international flavors on a menu seems to be a big driver of interest. Right? So I mean, both for the consumer, but also, I’d say for my team and the kitchen. For the guys in the kitchen, it gives them a little bit more of an opportunity to be more creative. You know, not necessarily we’ve got the most wild palettes here in Saskatchewan, but you know, there are there are enough foodies in town that you can do something out of the box that people maybe haven’t heard of, but they’re gonna like you know what, that’s not just another burger or whatever. It’s not just fish and chips and like which we do and we got that covered but if you want something that’s going to be unique, very unique you can stop in on the weekend and have something that we’re only going to have that one weekend and that’s it. Exactly. And our chef will talk to me about something and I’ll be like I have no idea what you just said but that’s let’s go with it. This is why you’re the guy

This is why you do what you do all right we’re almost at a time today but before I let you go I need you to tell me what would someone Google to actually find Tommy Speakeatery. How do we find you?

You can google Tommy’s Regina, Tommy’s Speakeatery, Tommy’s Speakeasy. I’ve seen show up on our little Google reports where people are looking for but I’m definitely Tommy’s Regina, and you’re not going to want to show up at barber shop tommy guns No.

Exactly. Alright. Well Dan, thank you very much for joining me this afternoon. It was a real pleasure hearing about the menu and as I said, I’m literally counting down the hours on the clock. I have one hour and 40 minutes to go until I can be on that patio. So right on around this afternoon, do pop out and say hi, we will be on the patio. I’ll be the one in the sun, my husband will be the one under the umbrella.

Great, awesome. On that note, if you want to sell your story, then you need to tell your story and there’s no better place to start than being a guest on The Secret Life of Local.

If you’d like to be a guest email me at or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram pages at

I’m your host Barb McGrath, Google girl and founder of the Get found for Local program. Remember you were hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Connect with Dan @ Tommy's Speakeatery


Barb McGrath’s been cracking the online code for nearly 20 years. She helps local businesses get to the top of Google with digital marketing training, web design, SEO, online reputation and advertising. Most importantly, she’s earned the trust of Google.Barb runs the only Google-approved agency designed to show you how to turn the online “stuff” into in-store buyers.If you depend on in-person customers, you need Barb’s step-by-step, online marketing plan to generate a steady stream of onsite buyers and make it rain money. She is the host of the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs, a local radio show and iTunes and Google Podcast.