To Top

Meet Justin Cohen of Riot Hospitality

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Cohen.

Hospitality has always been Justin’s number one passion. In the 20 years he has spent in the industry, Cohen has become a respected and committed expert of restaurant/nightlife leadership.

After years in the industry, working for some incredible restaurant group as well as spending time in Japan for a Restaurant venture, Cohen was recruited by Fox Restaurant Concepts (FRC) where he quickly became the youngest Regional Director of Operations in history and was directly mentored by the owner, Sam Fox, one of the most-renowned restaurateurs in the nation. He had the responsibility of leading and developing over 250 employees.

Justin eventually left to help create multi-concept hospitality company, Riot Hospitality, which five years later is a $50 million company that has partnered with country star and CMA host, Dierks Bentley.

He is Partner and VP of Operations for Riot and has helped hand-build every system, every process, every standard, and most of all, every employee’s role and responsibility. He is the mastermind behind employee culture and leadership development within the company. Cohen takes a personal interest in developing teams.

Cohen has worked in every single vertical within the restaurant business and thoroughly understands the leadership skills needed by each employee at each level and knows how to motivate and encourage staff. His years in the industry have given him first hand experiences as an author and writer for multiple hospitality magazines.

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest struggle along the way was learning how to develop my leadership voice and perspective. Working through people was much different than running a business on my own. I now have to get people to invest their lives in me and that’s a huge responsibility that I take very seriously. My paradigm on leadership and business management has developed to where I now still have aggressive financial goals for my company but the means to get there has changed. Profit through culture is how I am leading the company and that mentality has forced me to want to learn how to impact our team on an emotional level. I find myself talking less about the day to day business opportunities and more about the psychology of business and leadership. Teaching concepts like emotional intelligence and conflict resolution to our company has taken my experience to a whole new level of fulfillment and productivity.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Riot Hospitality story. Tell us more about the business.
Our business is hospitality and experience. Our products have been consistently awarded from best Restaurants to Best Experiences. Our nightclubs and restaurants have been trendsetting and have created cult followings known all over the country. I’m proud that we have not spared on any levels of quality. Every aspect of our businesses have been overthought and totally articulated. We have been able to sustain food sales and a culture of standards in nightlife that are unmatchable in the industry. Our team is some of the most creative and dynamic people I have ever worked with.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see our industry continuing to get more competitive which for us is great because a competitive mentality has helped keep us focused and innovative. The consumers’ palate for food and expectations of experience are continuing to advance. Continuous research and development are very important to our growth model.

As increases in labor and cost of goods occur, technology will become more relevant. Constant business analysis will be a cultural standard to growing companies.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in