How I Work: 21 questions with Frank Scibelli, owner of Mama Ricotta’s, YAFO, Paco’s and Midwood Smokehouse

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Frank Scibelli is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Charlotte.

Frank grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts and got both his undergraduate degree and MBA from Wake Forest University.

After working as a consultant, Frank started Mama Ricotta’s when he was just 27 years old. He also owns Midwood Smokehouse, YAFO, Paco’s Tacos & Tequila and Perfect Plate Catering. Additionally, Frank started/sold Cantina 1511 and was an owner of Bad Daddy’s which sold for $21 million in 2015.

I sat down with Frank at Mama Ricotta’s for lunch. I ordered the ravioli. Frank ordered a white pizza and the mozzarella and tomatoes for us to share.

tomatoes-from-lunch-with-frank-scibelli

House made fresh mozzarella snuggled between thick slices of vine-ripened tomatoes, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil & fresh basil. Delicious.

Office location?

Same building as Mama Ricotta’s in Midtown.

What’s your official job title?

CEO of FS Group.

What type of computer do you use?

iMac at the office, Macbook Pro at home.

What apps do you use every day?

Ctuit. It ties into all my point of sales systems.

What are your social media habits?

I look at Facebook and I look at LinkedIn. That’s really it.

Do you have a to-do list and how do you manage it?

I’m a big list guy. I use a paper pad. I probably have 4-5 pages right now. One page is active. I’m constantly looking at this pages and reprioritizing things.

What type of phone do you have?

iPhone 8 Plus.

iphone-frank-scibelli-charlotte

Just looking at that mailbox unread count gives me anxiety. Then my eye moves to 17 missed calls or voicemails. Frank is clearly calmer than I am.

How much sleep do you get each night?

I’ll go to bed anywhere between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. and I usually get up at 6 a.m. I get about 7 hours of sleep each night.

What’s the first hour of your day look like?

I get up and feed the cats. We have two cats. I’m allergic to cats and dogs, but my wife talked me into the cats. I get coffee. I love the cats now. I listen to music. Then I organize my day. Running a business means constantly evaluating your priorities — and these priorities can shuffle on a daily basis.

How long is your commute and what do you do during it?

15 minutes. I do phone calls. All the calls I need to catch up with.

What’s your typical breakfast?

I’m not a big breakfast eater. Weekends I’ll do breakfast. On the weekdays, I’ll eat a thinkThin protein bar, caramel or peanut butter flavor.

What everyday thing are you really good at?

I’m good at putting things into perspective and breaking problems down to bite size pieces for our team which I think is important because sometimes problems can seem insurmountable. Also, we’re good at thinking outside the box and taking advantage of people’s strengths on our team.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?

Mama Ricotta’s. Nothing else is even close.

What’s a recent purchase of less than $100 that you love?

Lamy Pen. I love them. It’s a $25 pen.

How do you manage your time?

I ask myself, “What are the 3-5 most important things to do each day?” And I like Steven Covey’s work and his time management matrix. I think through the urgency and importance of tasks.

In terms of saving time, my wife and I bought a Peloton bike. It’s cut down on my going to the gym. We fight about who gets to go on the bike first.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love developing people. I love the successes in getting people to go where they want to go. I have an employee that started as an assistant manager and another that started as a server who are now partners.

I like making customers happy. It’s so nice to hear, “I loved my meal at YAFO” or “I loved my meal at Mama’s” — you can be having a bad day and this can really get you going.

What advice would you give your 30-year-old self?

I used to be a lot harsher with employees. It’s good to be direct, but you can be softer and still be direct.

If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing?

I’d be a business and strategy consultant. I love consulting. I did consulting before opening up Mama’s. I really like the problem-solving. I love trying to figure out business problems.

What’s the best job advice you’ve received?

Be passionate about what you do. That’s huge. Even if you don’t make as much money.

And everybody is working 40 hours a week. What are you doing extra? I can outwork the next person.

What book do you give most as a gift?

“If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You’ll Probably End Up Somewhere Else,” by David Campbell. I read it every couple years myself.

What’s the one thing that people don’t realize about Charlotte?

Charlotte embraces people that move here. Charlotte is warm to newcomers. Important people here answer their phone. They’re down to earth. They’ll talk to you. That’s one thing that I don’t think everybody realizes.

What other Charlottean would you like to answer these questions?

Michael A. DeMayo.

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Ted Williams
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Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (seriously).