How to Prepare Yourself and Your Team for Growth and Scaling by Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is the Cofounder and Managing Director of the Savory Restaurant Fund, a Mercato Partners food-and-beverage-focused practice founded in 2018. Savory closed Fund I at $100M in October 2020 and a subsequent $100M Fund II in May 2021. Currently, Savory owns five beloved brands, including Mo’Bettahs, Swig, R&R BBQ, The Crack Shack, and Via 313. Savory operates 95 restaurants in five states and will add an additional 45 locations over the next 12 months.

Smith spent the last 23 years as an entrepreneur, cofounding three different technology companies from 1998-2008 and entering the restaurant industry in the middle of one of the greatest recessions. Since 2009, he has assisted in developing, acquiring, and operating 200+ restaurants across 11 states, generating more than $1.5 billion in sales.

He received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year® award in 2017. His businesses were also Inc. 500/5000 Honorees for 10 years.

You’re in Good Company

With each business Smith has started, he’s had one clear goal: growth. It’s the American Dream to start a business, become an entrepreneur, and scale it up to success. It sounds easy, but it’s difficult. And it keeps getting more difficult every year.

To be a successful team leader, you need to focus on thousands of details. You’re in good company because everyone struggles with logistical slowdowns and other issues of running a business. Don’t believe the hype in the media about other businesses’ success. They’re all pretty much in the same boat as you.

Focus forward on your own goals instead of always turning to the right or left to chase others’ plans.

Lessons He’s Learned Along the Way

Andrew Smith is a presenter at the Inventory Management + Growth Summit.

After two decades of running businesses, raising more than $500 million, and creating more than 30,000 jobs, Smith has a few tips and tricks to help your business scale. They are not just lessons he’s learned from his successes, but also from his failures. They are:

  • To scale your company, you need to be a good leader.
  • Be patient because the growth process is often slow.
  • Don’t skip steps. Do everything in the right order.

To prepare your company for growth, you must do three things:

  1. Inspire
  2. Influence
  3. Act


When you yearn to do something difficult, it’s because someone or something inspired you to do it. Inspire your team to overcome challenges and accomplish great results. Think about what’s in it for them and why it’s important to them. And consider what good your growth will do. It’s not enough to grow for growth’s sake.


Being clear and setting expectations for team members are the most important ways he’s found to influence them to succeed. You need the right tools, resources, and people to help your team accomplish its goals. Eliminate confusion and give your people the tools they need.

In addition, trust and respect your team first, and they will reciprocate. Don’t demand perfection of people. No one’s perfect. Often, 85 percent of what you want is good enough. Perfection is the enemy of growth.


He’s ready to jump into the trenches with any part of his business. You can’t just lead from the top and expect everyone else to do the work. Don’t hesitate to help whenever you can. Demonstrate your leadership in word and deed.

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Every business is running a race. It might look like one achieved its success overnight, but that’s not the case. In Smith’s industry of food and beverage, there’s no way to skip steps. It takes years to develop a following of loyal customers. The roots started decades ago, even if a business looks like it came out of nowhere.

Think of your business like a marathon, not a sprint. Patience wins the race. Don’t skip steps because he’s tried it, and it never works. Pace yourself. Invest in your team, culture, and self. If you don’t improve personally, you’ll limit and even cripple your business.

It’s okay to be thought foolish and stupid as long as you’re improving. Business growth is a bumpy ride, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.