Rob Katz + Kevin Boehm

Co-Founders, Boka Restaurant Group

Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz are the dynamic duo behind Boka Restaurant Group, one of the nation’s premier chef-driven restaurant groups known for more than a dozen of Chicago’s most lauded culinary establishments.

The James Beard nominated restaurateurs joined forces in 2002, bringing together nearly twenty combined years of experience in the bar, restaurant, and nightclub businesses. Their inaugural restaurant, 4-time Michelin Star recipient Boka, opened in 2003 and since that time Boehm and Katz have established a nationally revered restaurant culture built on great chefs, inspired hospitality, and amazing design.

Boehm and Katz won Restaurateurs of the Year from Time Out Chicago in 2010, the Chicago Tribune in 2011, were named Empire Builders of the Year by Eater National in 2011. They were James Beard semi-finalists for Best Restaurateur in America in 2015, and finalists in 2016.

Kevin and Rob share 5 things they wish they knew as first-time restaurateurs:

1. Hire people, not skills. A healthy dose of emotional intelligence is a big plus in the hospitality business. You need a great chef, but you also need a great chef who isn’t an asshole.

2. Use professionals. Lawyers and accountants are expensive, but having an ironclad lease and audit-proof books is worth every penny.

3. Share your information. You can’t expect people to make change within the restaurant if you don’t give them the answers to the test. Go over every line item on your P+L with your entire team.

4. Find balance in life. Remember to breathe. Success takes hard work, but if you don’t find time for yourself, your family, and your health you’re going to burn out quickly.

5. Invest in training. Critics come in on day one, so only open when you’re truly ready.

For reservations, click here.

Watch more FIVEinSIXTY episodes here.

FIVEinSIXTY is our web series with thought leaders whose stories provide insights and inspiration for the next generation of go getters—our own little brainchild outside the wide variety of videos we produce for our clients.

Latest Episodes

  • Rob Katz + Kevin Boehm
    Episode 54
    Boka Restaurant Group
  • Eddie Lou
    Episode 53
    CEO, Shiftgig
  • Tim Handorf
    Episode 52
    CEO, G2 Crowd
  • Caralynn Collens
    Episode 51
    CEO, UI LABS

FIVEinSIXTY is our web series with thought leaders whose stories provide insights and inspiration for the next generation of go getters—our own little brainchild outside the wide variety of videos we produce for our clients.

Check Out Our Work