Conversations with ATX Leaders: Ken Schiller

What would Texas be without BBQ!?!  How do Texans function without wide open access to gather and enjoy some brisket? If you don’t work in the restaurant industry it can be difficult to really see how shelter-in-place mandates impact the staff and leader within those businesses.  We get a quick peek behind the scenes with the CEO, Ken Schiller of Mighty Fine & Rudy’s.


“We spend a whole lot to time staying up to speed with a move target,” shares Ken when asked how he leads his organization, delivering accurate information and communicating clearly. “I know there’s not a magic bullet, and we haven’t reinvented something that is going to be a game changer.  It’s having the discipline to do the common sense things that keep your whole team moving in the same direction.”


Ken’s teams have taken extra measures to make sure costumers feel comfortable and are able to continue to connect over great food.  “We are letting customers know their options, and clearly communicating those options.” Fear is abated when you have multiple choices and the freedom to ease back into gathering as you feel comfortable.


A unique facet of Ken’s leadership style is his intentionality to make sure his employees know they are cared for, “We have a team mantra, ‘nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’” But Rudy’s and Mighty Fine take this concept to the next level.  Ken’s employees have access to two full time team members that hold the responsibility of caring for the teams.  Over ten years ago, Ken made sure that employees had access to someone that could support them through a major loss, a workplace dispute, concerns at home, or journey alongside them with their spiritual questions.  To know your boss cares about your welfare to that extent is a gift to Rudy’s & Mighty Fine employees all across Austin.


Good leadership is simply good leadership, across all seasons, and even in a pandemic.  Ken shares his priceless that have guided his leadership long before Coronavirus, “You need to be honest, you need to be transparent, and you need to do what you say you’ll do at all times.”


ABBA Executive Director, Dr. Rich Carney is not only a fan of Rudy’s and Mighty Fine, but he reminds us, “Good food can help us get through this a lot,” as Rich thanks Ken for giving the Austin community the ability to break bread together, whether it’s carry out or distanced dine-in.  “I was moved that something we typically take for granted had become an emotional part of someone’s life to help get them through this.” reflects Ken.


“My true north is God and the Bible.  I remind myself on a daily basis that God is in control, no matter what the news says, no matter what people are saying.” Don’t miss this quick from Ken & ABBA, and for sure don’t’ miss a chance to eat at Mighty Fine or Rudy’s BBQ!


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