Unlocking Breakfast Success: Navigating the Intersection of Company, Culture and Business

By Owner and Executive Chef Troy Guard and CEO James Park of TAG Restaurant Group


Developing a restaurant concept mirrors the creation of a delicate recipe, demanding the perfect blend of ingredients, meticulous execution, and a touch of innovation. As we continue to expand one of our rising stars at TAG Restaurant Group, HashTAG, we have grown familiar with successful strategies for growing a breakfast restaurant, while balancing the fine line of creativity and business. 

Chef Troy Guard’s Insights:
Cracking the Breakfast Code

Embarking on my culinary journey has been an enlightening exploration into the complexities of expanding restaurants successfully, spanning from fine dining to fast-casual experiences. Opening a breakfast spot is a whole different undertaking and demands familiar best sellers, an ideal neighborhood, an exceptional staff, and possibly most importantly, a vibe. Fostering a loyal following stems from crafting a lively atmosphere infused with people, culture, music, and cuisine.

For us, an early goal of HashTAG was to grow it, which requires careful planning and execution from the beginning. The menu has to be scalable, which is achievable through consistent, precise recipes that can be crafted fresh daily and executed swiftly — customers should not wait more than 30 minutes, especially not during breakfast. 

Core Values 

Delving into the core values essential for success, I emphasize value itself. The core lies in delivering prompt, flavorful experiences; if something costs $5 it better be worth $5, and if it’s $100 it better be worth $100, otherwise, customers are quick to explore alternative options. My guiding philosophy revolves around three pillars – service, food, and vibe – fortified by the seven core values of our TAG Restaurant Group – Passion, Imagination, Courage, Harmony, Caring, Ownership, and finally Humility. These are all cemented by the underlying belief that the more one gives, the more one receives. 

Navigating the Creative Landscape

Within the creative realm, my approach is simply exploring new ideas through travel, drawing inspiration from diverse cities, exceptional local spots, and the warmth of good people. Get out there, talk to people in the industry, taste everything, explore, and take bold risks. My approach has led me to be innovative yet familiar, shaped by the ever-evolving culinary landscape.

CEO James Park’s Insights:
Win Big with Business Wisdom 

As a seasoned restaurant veteran with more than 30 years of experience, I have landed on a recipe for success through the acronym PIE: People, Innovation, Execution. 

  1. People:

Prioritizing people is paramount, with our “Ohana,” Hawaiian for family, standing as a clear point of differentiation for TAG’s success. Daily collaboration within our Ohana and taking care of the people around you is guided by the vision of our founder and executive chef, Troy Guard, defining our path to success.

  1. Innovation:

Navigating the restaurant business is akin to sailing the open sea. In this dynamic environment, waves ebb and flow, and tides rise and fall. Successful navigation requires mindfulness of these elements, distinguishing between calm waters and impending storms. Preparation is key, and experience is vital to understanding the nuances. The true challenge lies in not only anticipating the sea’s movements but also in embracing innovation. Innovation extends beyond culinary realms, including technology, marketing, branding, menu trends, and more. Being open-minded and always prepared to try new things is a holistic approach that sets the course for sustained success in the ever-changing restaurant landscape.

  1. Execution:

Be an inch wide and a mile deep. Acknowledge the risks of menu expansion and customer fatigue – they are real challenges. Stay steadfast in your identity and offerings, recalling the essence that brought you into the industry in the first place. Execute with fervor and precision. By prioritizing and perfecting the fundamental basics, you pave the way for both organic growth and expansive scalability. Contrary to the age-old saying in hospitality, the customer is not always right, but we should always recognize that they are undeniably the customer, deserving attention and commitment.