July 28, 2020

Podcast 20 Michel Falcon Image

Have you ever been to Toronto? If so, you must be familiar with Baro Restaurant, a restaurant owned by Michel Falcon.

We’re talking to an amazing entrepreneur today. Michel Falcon is very focused on company culture and people first. He and his business partners, with a team of about two hundred people, grew the restaurant from zero to fifteen million dollars in revenue, in two different locations, in just two years.

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Michel is with us today to talk about three important things. He will explain how to define your values and then base everything else on those values, how to recruit people, and how to onboard your people in such a way that you ultimately have them to thank for your success. 

Michel’s bio

Michel Falcon is an entrepreneur, international keynote speaker, and author who leverages his People-First Culture™ philosophy to create a customer experience, employee engagement, and company culture strategies to grow businesses.

The best-selling book, People-First Culture: Build a Lasting Business by Shifting Your Focus From Profits to People, is one of Michel Falcon’s great creations and he’s the creator of the Team Operating System online course.

Michel operates a portfolio of restaurants and venues in downtown Toronto. His venues have grown to earn tens of millions of dollars in revenue with more than a hundred and fifty employees in less than two years by using the very same strategies he’s going to share with us today.

He has been hired to advise companies like Subway, Verizon Wireless, Alfa Romeo, Electronic Arts, and many other globally recognized brands.

He’s been profiled in Business Insider, Entrepreneur, INC, and other publications.

Large format, complex operations

Michel’s restaurants are not small operations. They are large format, complex operations, so there is no single answer to how he was able to grow them to bring in more than fifteen million dollars in revenue within two short years.

A culture of growth

The foundation of the company was built on the culture that Michel and his partners wanted to grow within. So before they even opened the doors of their first venue, Michel was helping his partners to understand how to behave like a company that does a hundred million dollars a year in sales per year. 

Core values

Michel explains that although core values matter, you shouldn’t have them unless you’re going to imbed them into the DNA of the company, and you’re willing to hire and fire people according to the values of the organization. 

Leading without presence

It was vital for Michel and his partners to know what they wanted the values of their company to be because they were not always going to be present in the venues every day. And they wanted to ensure that their team members would keep moving forward without our presence.

Michel’s core values

The core values that he and his team created were:

  • Celebration
  • Ownership
  • Foresight
  • Integrity
  • Humility

Michel’s hiring process

A business needs an engaged, aligned, and productive team. So Michel created a module called the People First Culture Hiring Pyramid, in alignment with the company’s core values.

The Culture Interview

Michel asks two questions in every interview. First, about each of the company’s core values. In that way, Michel and his management team can ascertain whether or not a potential employee is a fit for their company culture because that is the most important thing for them.

A great quote from the CEO and co-founder of Netflix

Reed Hastings, the CEO and co-founder of Netflix said: “We are not willing to tolerate brilliant jerks because the cost of teamwork is too high”, and Michel often reminds himself and his management team of that quote.

Entering the training room

From the outset, all of Michel’s new employees get trained to understand the rationale behind the company’s culture and values, and upon entering the training room, each employee receives a bag containing a handwritten welcome card from the owners of the company and a small surprise that they unknowingly selected in response to one of their interview questions.

Delivering the best customer experience

All Michel’s employees are required to deliver unique and wonderful customer experiences, and to represent the brand well. Therefore it’s up to the leaders of the organization to teach their employees how to do that.

Michel’s advice to small businesses

Your small business will grow to become a medium or a large business one day. Start building the right systems and processes now while you’re still lean and nimble. It’s better to do it while it’s not yet hard to rewire your company. 


Michel attributes the success of his company to his and his partners’ enthusiasm as entrepreneurs and leaders, and the core values of the company.

How Michel Falcon defines himself

Michel is a servant leader and recognized as an individual who truly cares about his employee’s careers.

Links and resources:

Michel’s email – michel@michelfalcon.com 

Michel’s website


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About the author 

Eric Rozenberg

For two decades, Eric Rozenberg has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and produced conferences in more than 50 countries across diverse industries. His focus is creating meetings that are not only breathtakingly memorable but which bring corporate strategies to life and amplify team motivation/performance.

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