CPP professor emeritus serves restaurant management secrets in new book

By Lauren Muttram, March 9, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona Professor Emeritus John Self dished out five-star tips for novice restaurant managers in his debut book, titled “The New Restaurant Manager”, published in January.

Self, a professor in The Collins College of Hospitality Management, recently published his first book. The 224-page, conversational how-to guide escorts readers through situations, scenarios and incidents new restaurant managers are most likely to encounter when establishing their career.

“This is not a textbook,” said Self. “This is for people who are thinking about getting into management or are in as a manager trainee or assistant manager and want to accelerate their career by not doing some of the things that can really hurt your career or at least delay it quite a bit.”

Not wanting his book to be overly instructional, Self recommends readers to experience the book as though they were sitting down and having a conversation with a coach or mentor about mistakes to avoid in the field of hospitality.

During his 15 years in restaurant management, Self served as the vice president of operations for a regional restaurant chain and owned three independent restaurants as well as a comedy club.

He recalled making several mistakes during his career in management and remembered seeing these mistakes recur in his employees when he worked as a general manager.

After earning his doctoral degree, Self taught hospitality management courses at institutions including the University of Alabama and Golden Gate University before starting as a professor at CPP in 2002. Working with students, Self was surprised to see these mistakes — like not realizing self-worth to a company, misrule of employee relationships and even failure to identify employee theft — continue to happen to his students after graduating.

Recognizing nothing had changed since he started in the industry, Self decided to write a book to help new managers avoid these mistakes, identify career killers and teach managers how to “work smarter, not harder.”

“I had written bits and pieces — half a chapter here, a quarter of a chapter there, 10% here. I knew the chapters I wanted but I hadn’t put them together,” recalled Self.

After years of dreaming, Self gathered his many notes and pieces of paper covered in scribbles and ideas. In March of last year — at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown — he found the time and inspiration to begin writing. During his time at home, Self witnessed the hard work and dedication his wife was putting into her master’s degree, motivating him to continue his writing and finally complete his work in progress.

“I started getting up at about 4 o’clock in the morning and working all morning,” said Self. “I did that for six or seven days a week for about eight months.”

After 22 rounds of edits and the frustrating yet satisfying publication process coming to an end, Self’s debut book was released on Amazon in electronic and hard copy formats.

Self strives to continue his writing career with a second book targeting high-performance management — creating a guide for management professionals to grow in their careers.

To purchase a copy of Self’s debut book, visit https://www.amazon.com/New-Restaurant-Manager-rookie-mistakes/dp/1736421921.


Corrections were made to this story at 7:19 p.m. on March 14.

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