“To anyone trying to get ahead, in the restaurant business or really any industry, I’d say, set goals — short, mid, and long term. You don’t have to be a slave to them, but you need to get on a path to what you think is a better place, whether that’s owning a restaurant, working in Aspen in the summer and the Caribbean in the winter, or whatever. Find the lifestyle that is conducive to making you extremely happy. Happiness is so much more important than money. I know a bunch of stoned-out bus drivers in San Francisco who are happier than many of my friends in New York who make more than $1 million a year.
“Also: Live within your means and don’t accumulate debt. Debt limits your freedom to make decisions. Debt’s good for buying real estate; it’s not good for paying for vacations. If you don’t owe anybody money, you don’t have to take any shit from anybody, ever. Only take on debt for a good investment that will eventually buy you freedom, and evaluate your ability to repay that debt load.”