Whether it’s a classic or a new release, there are some book titles on the market that, despite audiobooks or content on Google, you should just put on your (virtual) bookshelf – and read, of course!

Below you will find a book list of my top 10 books from the foodservice industry, with topics related to the foodservice industry, restaurants, service and more. Since the topic is really important, I have also included books that deal with leadership and management. The order is not necessarily the ranking. Just click on the picture of the book for more information. Have fun reading!

The Chipotle Effect by Paul Barron

A book that not only has to do with Chipotle, but above all deals with the topic of fast casual and the changing consumer habits. The Chipotle Effect describes the changing landscape of the American Social Consumer is shifting rapidly and these changes are having a major impact on future of restaurants. Written by Paul Barron, renowned entrepreneur, publisher, founder of FastCasual.com and restaurant industry innovator.

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer

Seventy-five percent of all new restaurant ventures fail, and of those that do stick around, only a few become icons. Danny Meyer started Union Square Cafe when he was 27, with a good idea and hopeful investors. He is now the co-owner of a restaurant empire. How did he do it? How did he beat the odds in one of the toughest trades around? In this landmark book Setting the Table, Danny shares the lessons he learned developing the dynamic philosophy he calls Enlightened Hospitality. The tenets of that philosophy, which emphasize strong in-house relationships as well as customer satisfaction, are applicable to anyone who works in any business.

Love Is Free. Guac Is Extra.: How Vulnerability, Empowerment, and Curiosity Built an Unstoppable Team by Monty Moran

Imagine you’re one of 75,000 people working in a huge company, and the CEO wants to talk to you, one-on-one, to get to know and understand you. That’s what Monty Moran did 20,000 times as he built the extraordinary culture that took Chipotle Mexican Grill from a regional burrito chain to a Fortune 500 superstar. In Love Is Free, Guac Is Extra, Monty shows how he used curiosity, vulnerability, love, and a unique understanding of the true meaning of empowerment to build a distinctive and wildly effective culture.

Making the Cut: What Separates the Best From the Rest by Chris Hill

A lost soul of a line cook sent a tragic 3AM email that would indefinitely change Chef Chris Hill’s perception of the industry he fell in love with as a boy. As a result, Hill set out on to interview the industry’s elite, looking to answer the question, ‘what does it take to be successful?’. Along the way, he has interviewed some of the world’s greatest chefs – Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani, handfuls of James Beard Award Winners, as well as Michelin Star earners. In Making the Cut, Hill shares their stories (triumphs and failures), as well as his own, and the lessons that we can all learn, as it relates to creating success for our careers, and for our lives as a whole.

Restaurant Success by the Numbers, Second Edition: A Money-Guy’s Guide to Opening the Next New Hot Spot by Roger Fields

This one-stop guide to opening a restaurant from an accountant-turned-restaurateur shows aspiring proprietors how to succeed in the crucial first year and beyond.
The majority of restaurants fail, and those that succeed happened upon that mysterious X factor, right? Wrong! Roger Fields – money-guy, restaurant owner, and restaurant consultant – shows how eateries can get past that challenging first year and keep diners coming back for more. Restaurant Success by Numbers is the only restaurant start-up guide written by a certified accountant, this book gives readers an edge when making key decisions about funding, location, hiring, menu-making, number-crunching, and turning a profit–complete with sample sales forecasts and operating budgets. Opening a restaurant isn’t easy, but this realistic dreamer’s guide helps set the table for lasting success.

Ten Restaurants That Changed America by Paul Freedman

Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ’s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation.

The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food: A Cookbook by Marcus Samuelsson

It is long past time to recognize Black excellence in the culinary world the same way it has been celebrated in the worlds of music, sports, literature, film, and the arts. Black cooks and creators have led American culture forward with indelible contributions of artistry and ingenuity from the start, but Black authorship has been consistently erased from the story of American food.
Now, in The Rise, chef, author, and television star Marcus Samuelsson gathers together an unforgettable feast of food, culture, and history to highlight the diverse deliciousness of Black cooking today.

The Way of the Shepherd: Seven Secrets to Managing Productive People by Kevin Leman/Bill Pentak

Written as a heartwarming contemporary parable, this book points you beyond worn-out fads and flavor-of-the-month management techniques to the strategies that will make you a truly outstanding leader. Find inspiration and a fresh perspective in The Way of the Shepherd on the art of leadership in this account of a cub reporter who lands the interview of a lifetime and walks away with the keys to exceptional leadership. When the reporter meets with the most respected CEO in America, the businessman shares the seven secrets he learned long ago from his mentor – an eccentric but brilliant professor who taught him proven management principles that, while ancient in origin, are applicable in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world.

Successful Restaurant Design by Regina S. Baraban/Joseph F. Durocher

An integrated approach to restaurant design, incorporating front- and back-of-the-house operations Restaurant design plays a critical role in attracting and retaining customers. At the same time, design must facilitate food preparation and service. Successful Restaurant Design shows how to incorporate your understanding of the restaurant’s front- and back-of-the-house operations into a design that meets the needs of the restaurant’s owners, staff, and clientele. Moreover, it shows how an understanding of the restaurant’s concept, market, and menu enables you to create a design that not only facilitates a seamless operation but also enhances the dining experience. The book closes with the authors’ forecast of how restaurants will change and evolve over the next decade, with tips on how designers and architects can best accommodate those changes in their designs.

Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire by Barbara Lynch

Last but not least: Out of Line. Celebrated chef Barbara Lynch – named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2017 credits the defiant spirit of her upbringing in tough, poor “Southie,” a neighborhood ruled by the notorious Whitey Bulger gang, with helping her bluff her way into her first professional cooking jobs; develop a distinct culinary style through instinct and sheer moxie; then dare to found an empire of restaurants ranging from a casual but elegant “clam shack” to Boston’s epitome of modern haute cuisine. As award-winning chef Ana Sortun raves, “Her heroic story inspires us to remain true to who we are and honor our dreams with conviction.” One of seven children born to an overworked single mother, Lynch was raised in a housing project. She earned a daredevil reputation for boosting vehicles (even a city bus), petty theft, drinking and doing drugs, and narrowly escaping arrest—haunted all the while by a painful buried trauma.

© Sascha Barby, 2021. All rights reserved. Title photo by  Nathan Bingle on Unsplash

Sascha Barby

Sascha Barby

Sascha's passion for food and the foodservice industry has driven him since he first worked in the kitchen. Projects abroad and the diversity of the industry have only increased his enthusiasm. Started as a Chef in various restaurants in Germany and Canada, completing his skills with an MBA, he now works at Rational AG in marketing.  Sascha lives with his wife and children in Bavaria near Munich.