Profile: John Kunkel
Opening any business is extremely difficult. But opening a restaurant? With fickle food trends, a particular customer base and transient staff, to be successful is close to impossible – just ask the owners of the around 90% of restaurants that fail in their first year.
Perhaps, then, the Teddy Roosevelt quote, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed,” makes sense for restaurateur John Kunkel, founder and CEO of the 50 Eggs restaurant group, which owns and operates four successful concepts in Greater Miami.
Mr. Kunkel made his way to Miami from Maryland through Atlanta and Southeast Asia and more. With a background in fine dining, a desire for a normalized work schedule brought him to a quick-service, fast-casual concept with his Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.
But outside of the food, what made Lime successful and what is keeping the hits from 50 Eggs coming is a knowledge of neighborhoods, demographics, infrastructure in place to work with zoning and construction obstacles, and perhaps most importantly, being first to the Miami market.
Combine that with the desire to constantly innovate, change and improve, and the success of 50 Egg’s Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Swine, Khong River House and Patpong Road makes a little more sense. If you ask Mr. Kunkel, the risk of failure was probably worth it.
Miami Today Reporter Nina Lincoff interviewed Mr. Kunkel at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar.
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