Leading from the Front: A Conversation with Steve Sweeney, Past Chartwells CEO, on Leading a Multi-Hundred Million Dollar Company
Play • 46 min

In this episode of the Titans of Foodservice Podcast, Nick speaks with Steve Sweeney, former CEO and President of Chartwells. Steve shares his journey in the food service industry, from his early days in his family's restaurant and hotel business to becoming a chef, and eventually transitioning to the managerial side of the industry. Steve and Nick discuss the importance of taking risks, the daily life of a CEO in a multi-hundred-million-dollar organization, and the evolution of the food service industry. They also delve into the challenges of growing a national company while dealing with different cultures.


  • “I believe it was Pierre Trudeau who said, in terms of luck, opportunity meets persistence and preparation. So if you prepare, an opportunity is there. And I think in my case, that was it." -Steve Sweeney [30:35]

  • “Technology, which is an accelerator these days, helps you get things to students and guests faster. So quality is a must. Give it to me as quickly as possible and through technology and through whatever other vehicles you can make it as reasonable as possible for me.” -Steve Sweeney [27:26]


01:41 Steve's background and entry into the foodservice industry

06:43 Importance of taking risks in business

12:11 Taking care of people and clients

19:58 Growing Chartwells and the importance of staying close to clients and employees

30:19 Preparation, opportunity, and persistence

39:43 Overcoming scarcity mindset and fear of failure


Portillo Sales


Nick: nick.portillo@portillosales.com

Steve: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-sweeney-70606410/

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