Owning a restaurant is lovely, but restaurant management can get overwhelming. According to Perry Group, 70% of restaurants that make it past their first year close down within three to five years. In total, 90% of independent restaurants restaurants close during the first year, with five years the average live-span.

On the bright side, 90% of businesses operating past first five years would go on to stay in business for at least ten years.

Knowing how to keep the doors open, customers coming in, and the staff hardworking is truly important. The customer is always right, and some of them may try to take advantage of this. It’s easy to assume you can keep your composure until the heat of the moment.

Restaurant owners, new and old, will face the same problem. But there’s good news! Some of the most successful restauranteurs have shared their experiences and advice in books. Short of hiring them in consultant roles, this is the best way to tap on their accumulated knowledge.

Here are eighteen of the best books on restaurant management. We’ve also included small tags under each book to describe what each book focuses on, like Hospitality or Managing People, or Interviews and Case Studies, as well as quick jumps to some of the best books for niches in Cafes, Restaurants, Bars and even Ice Cream Shop owners.

18 Restaurant Management Books to Learn from the Experts and Book Your Business Solid

 

Best Restaurant Books by Category

Best Restaurant Books by Titles

 

Setting The Table by Danny Meyer

The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

Photo credit: Union Square Hospitality Group

Hospitality. Company culture. Managing People. Customer service.

This book connects hospitality to human relationships and experiences. Danny Meyer is a New York City restaurateur and the CEO of Union Square. This book, Setting the Table, embodies Meyer’s description of what success means to him.

He believes hospitality should start with treating your employees well as this would have a ripple effect on your customers. Meyer’s beliefs that hospitality should be fun and this book is a reflection of that perspective.

His philosophy goes against the norms of traditional businesses. But many restaurants have used his lessons and advice to succeed. He believes that in the end, it only makes sense to create positive, elevating results for human relationship and experience.

According to Amazon, 75% of the reviewers rated the book 5 Stars.

A reviewer, Jon Cannon is part of this 75% who gave this book the highest rating on Amazon. He says the book provides theory and application. He thinks Meyer’s book would benefit restauranteurs and everyone else interested in hospitality.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • Treat your employees well
  • Your relationship with your employees has a ripple effect on your business
  • Excellent customer service comes naturally to restaurants that treat their employees well
  • Hospitality business must be fun to thrive
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Restaurant Success by the Numbers by Roger Fields

Photo credit: eBay

Survival beyond the first year. Business success. Restaurant management.

This book focuses on how restaurants can get past their first year, and remain in business long after.

Roger Fields is a partner at Merchants Accounting Services, a restaurant owner, and consultant. Restaurant Success by the Numbers” is a how-to guide with several personal examples and stories from other startups. He simplified otherwise tricky processes of location, menu, hiring, ambiance, staff, and profit.

Carry out the proper feasibility study to determine if your restaurant would satisfy your set goals. Work with reports and statistics, don’t just hope for the best.

The Amazon rating of this book is 4.5 out of 5 Star

To Trudy McCormack, Restaurant Success by the Numbers is like conversing with a successful friend. Trudy found some pieces of advice helpful and took notes while reading. Meanwhile, Tamara L Cole thinks that the information is essential if you’ve been in the industry. Albeit, it can serve as reminders and refreshers for you.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

Set actionable goals that suit your restaurant’s size and type. And then go to work!

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Restaurant Owners Uncorked by Will Brawley

Photo credit: Carousell

Business lessons. Interviews

Brawley’s Restaurant Owners Uncorked shares the experiences of 20 restaurant owners. This book is a must-read if restaurant management success matters to you.

Will Brawley is a partner at Schedulefly. His book, “Restaurant Owners Uncorked” compiles the interviews of 20 experienced restaurant owners.

Imagine having a business dinner with twenty speakers. All of which are professionals in your field of interest. They talk about the pros and cons of the profession and share how it affects them.

If you own a restaurant or aspire to own one, this book will give you practical advice. Meet Chris Sommers, a former technologist who was invited to the white house to make pizza. Hear from a Hell’s kitchen cast, Scott Leibfried and a host of others.

The rating of this book is 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

One Amazon customer thinks Restaurant Owners Uncorked is “absolutely amazing.” The interview style makes sure you hear it directly from the restaurant owners. Albeit, this reviewer believes the author shouldn’t have given takeaways at the end of each interview.

He thinks readers might get a different interpretation from the author and dilute the message of the interviewee. In this reviewer’s opinion, if you only read three books before opening a restaurant, this should be one of them.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • A good CPA is more important than the food you serve.
  • Go beyond engaging your customers, remember who they are.
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Front of the House by Jeff Benjamin

Restaurant Manners, Misbehaviors & Secrets

Photo credit: Goodreads

Best practices. Psychology. Business Tactics

This book talks about what happens behind the scene of the art of great hospitality.

Jeff Benjamin is a managing partner of Philadelphia acclaimed Vetri family of restaurants. Front of the House gives an insider’s view of essential aspects of hospitality like, the server’s opinion of you, reserving a table, what you can do to get ejected from an excellent restaurant.

Being in the kitchen is stressful, especially on busy nights. But this can’t be compared with what the front of house staff has to handle. Just think of the always right customer.

This book has 4.6 out of 5 Stars on Amazon. From the reviews, most people think it’s a good read. But the readers that enjoyed it the most were in the hospitality industry or aspiring to start a restaurant business.

A Kindle customer who is a FOH manager thinks its a great read. According to this customer, it offers excellent ways to resolve situations positively.

Another reviewer, AnnapolisGirly who isn’t in the restaurant business, said it felt a little promotional. But she recommended it to a local restaurateur in her neighborhood who was excited.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

Learn the essential skills for front of house success, including conflict resolution and how an experience FOH manager

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Book #5: Making the Cut

What Separates the Best from the Rest

Written by Chris Hill

Photo credit: Chris Hill

Entrepreneurship. Management. Case studies. Stories

Chris Hill’s Making the Cut is about what it takes to be successful. Hill is a skilled entrepreneur and manager. The book is a collection of stories and lessons from the best chefs around the world.

Not without his own story of course!

The chefs in this book include Dominique Crenn, the best female chef in the world, Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani, Frank Stitt and Jeremiah Tower.

If you intend to take your restaurant business seriously, this is a book to read. You’ll get advice, inspiration, and direction in your journey to success.

The book has a 93% 5 Star rating on Amazon. Magdalena thinks his advice is intelligent and from experience. She found his writing friendly, conversational and helpful in her profession.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • Commit to doing your best.
  • Take every day as a challenge and strive to be better than the day before.
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Book #6: Chasing the Heat

Written by Leonard Gentieu

Photo credit: Goodreads

Recipe. Inspiration. Case studies

Gentieu’s Chasing the Heat talks about the struggles of the middle-class and building something big for yourself in spite of challenges.

Leonard Gentieu is a chef, entrepreneur, restaurateur, and a teacher. In this book, he describes his fifty-year journey in the kitchen. From washing dishes to his flourishing charter cruise business.

The book contains short sections that he calls “A Day From Hell.” These portions describe the terrible experiences that he had. He also shares recipes that match the stories.

His tone is a mixture of humor, optimism, and frankness. It’s informative and inspirational, yet intriguing.

The book has a 97% 5 Star rating on Amazon.

One reviewer, Laurie, thinks it’s inspiring and entertaining. She said it felt as if she “was sharing a glass of wine  with a good story-telling friend.”

Another reviewer, Marie A. thinks he’s an excellent writer. She said the stories about his experiences came alive.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • You are a result of the choices you make.
  • Use your present state as a stepping stone to where you want to be.
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Book #7: The Profit Recipe

Written by Cesar Quintero

Photo credit: Amazon

Business process. Managing people. Business tactics. Restaurant trends

The book is about using top restaurant trends to increase your customer base with little investment.

Cesar Quintero introduced the healthy food delivery system, Fit2Go. In “The Profit Recipe,” he showed essential trends that most restaurants aren’t seeing.

The book talks about the effect that IT and software has had on restaurants in recent times. And how restaurants can increase customer base with little investment.

It’s an engaging book that gives practical steps to run your restaurant. 80% of the reviewers on Amazon rated it 5 Stars

A reviewer on Amazon, Wendy C, said the book is an excellent read for any entrepreneur, especially for people in the restaurant business.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • With a bird’s eye view, you can start processes that are easy to follow.
  • Processes help your employees deliver excellent products and services.
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Book #8: The Chipotle Effect

Written by Paul Barron

Photo credit: Pinterest

Case study. Customer service. Business tactics

The Chipotle Effect delves into how a small organization can move at the pace of the fast-changing social customer.

Paul Baron is a restaurateur and entrepreneur; he founded QSRweb.com, foodabletv.com, FastCasual.com, and RSMindex.com.

This book argues that you must know how customers think to attract them. Based on this premise, the Chipotle Mexican Grill designed their services to address their customers’ taste.

Most restaurant owners want the result of the Chipotle Mexican Grill but are too slow to get it. To get that effect, you must have a vision, act fast and see what others aren’t seeing. Especially on your customer’s needs.

He proposed an equation that would help you master this effect. His idea of the technology, design, and future of the restaurant industry draws on recently observed trends.

On Amazon, this book’s rating is 3.2 out of 5 stars. William H. Bender and Jeffrey Lemus, part of the 60% who rated this book 5 Star thinks the book is restaurant management asset to own.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • Understand your customers
  • Match your services to your customers’ needs
  • Move fast!
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Best Book for a Café Owner: The Daily Grind: How to Open & Run a Coffee Shop That Makes Money by Andrew Bowen and Claire Bowen

Image Credit: Google Books

Café management. Customer service.

About 50 percent of the US population drinks coffee. On average, they consume 3.1 cups per day.

If you’ve done the math and you’re thinking of opening a coffee shop, then Andrew and Claire’s book can give you a hand.

The Daily Grind is a detailed and practical guide for café owners. It’s packed with information on launching and running your coffee shop business. The book goes for both newbies and experienced coffee shop owners.

After spending several years in the hospitality business, Andrew and Claire Bowen started opening their coffee shops in 2007. Their success in both the corporate world and their business lives informs their consulting skills.

You’ll learn the importance of location. And you’ll gain insights on delivering topnotch customer service. You’ll also learn how to decide what to put in place before you open shop. Like drawing your coffee shop business plan.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • Study before you start the business
  • Choose a location that supports business growth and lowers competition
  • Create a strong team and offer excellent customer service
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Best Book for a Restaurant Manager: The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook by Douglas Robert Brown

How to Set Up, Operate, and Manage a Financially Successful Food Service Operation

Restaurant ownership and management. Marketing. Equipment

If you’re wondering how to become a restaurant manager, this is the book for you. But it benefits both restaurant owners and managers. It doesn’t just guide you on how to start a restaurant; it shows you how to manage a restaurant successfully. The author, Douglas R. Brown, is an authority in this space; he writes books and software for the foodservice industry.

You’ll find this book helpful whether you’re just starting or have been in the business for years. It’s only 28 chapters but touches on the various aspects of restaurant management.

This fourth edition of the Restaurant Manager’s Handbook is a revised edition. It adds new chapters and updates the existing ones. These updates include techniques for effective interviews and hiring. You’ll also find guidelines for food nutrition and training for employees.

The new edition of this book provides lots of tips for different events. These tips make budgeting, accounting, promotion, and marketing very easy. Even if you want to sell your restaurant or make it a franchise, you’ll find this book a helpful guide.

Brown wants this work to help foodservice managers to take more control of their labor and operational costs. And he gives specific tactics for boosting profits in any restaurant and bar.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • With the systems in place, you can build any small restaurant into a full-blown franchise
  • Every aspect of your business matters whether it touches the customer or not
  • Learn business skills
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Best Book for an Ice Cream Shop Owner: Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts: A Commercial Guide to Production and Marketing by Malcolm Stogo

Image Credit: Google Books

Ice cream business. Manufacturing. Retailing. Marketing. Recipe

The global ice cream market is expected to go from $70.8 billion in 2017 to $97.3 billion in 2023. So, no doubt, business is booming!

But how do you cash in on the boom?

Call Malcolm Stogo.

Stogo has been called the godfather of ice cream and has been at the forefront of the industry for more than 25 years. He’s authored other books on the subject, including Incredible Ice Cream. And he’s even provided dairy-free dessert alternatives to support the growing demand in that space.

Stogo’s book, Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts, shows you everything you need to know about starting, running, marketing, and managing an ice cream business.

The book proves doubles as an excellent resource for starting an ice cream business and a great guide for growing and managing an existing one. Both manufacturers and retail ice cream business operators will find this book helpful.

The positive reviews on Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts have been significantly objective. A reviewer expected more imagery, but on the content, he says, “It’s what I was looking for.” One reviewer even went as far as calling the book “The Bible of Ice Cream Making.”

Meanwhile, the negative reviews on the book have been very unsubstantiated. All unverifiable claims, so far (at the time of this writing).

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

This book offers lessons on everything an ice cream shop owners needs to now.

  • Find the dessert business that matches your interests
  • Develop, fund, launch, and run your frozen dessert retail or manufacturing business
  • Buy, install, and operate your equipment for ice cream production and serving
  • Know if which fits you best: batch or continues methods of production
  • Hundreds of frozen dessert and ice cream recipes
  • Take your frozen desserts and ice cream to market
  • Promote your business
  • Employee management
  • Records management and keeping
  • Equipment maintenance and sanitary care
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Best Book for a Bar Owner: Raise The Bar by Jon Taffer

Image Credit: Amazon

Bar revival. Business tactics. Customer reactions

If you know the widely popular TV show, Bar Rescue, then you’d know Taffer. He hosts the show. And he knows a thing or two about how to run a bar. Jon Taffer lives in Las Vegas, where he is the chairman of two successful businesses, Taffer Media and Taffer Dynamics.

Raise the Bar shows readers Jon Taffer’s core business philosophy, which he says is the secret to his success. He calls it “Reaction Management.” Unlike most bar management books, this one doesn’t give you cookie-cutter ideas to complex situations.

Taffer has enjoyed success across the hospitality, F&B, and hotel industries. And he has come to be considered one of the most successful persons in these spaces. Going by Taffer’s achievements, business successes, and the book’s reviews Raise the Bar seems it opens up Taffer’s business secret — what’s made him the envy of many industry players.

In the words of Nick Shepherd, CEO Carlson restaurants/TGI Fridays,

“[Jon Taffer] provides a way of methodically evaluating and challenging every aspect of what lies behind a great bar. He seamlessly blends data-backed insights with hard earned experience to create a template of how to construct a plan for success.”

About 92% of this book’s reviewers on Amazon think the book is a five or four-star book. Meanwhile, 75% of these reviewers rated the book five-star. This is probably that must-read hospitality and restaurant management book you’ve been wanting to get!

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • You and your staff are not a family. It’s a workplace, not a home, and a boss should set rules and enforce them. He shouldn’t let employees get away with poor performance or bad behavior.
  • The red napkin signals that the customer is new and should be treated as such
  • Seating arrangments at a bar can boost revenue and lighting can raise the bar’s dynamics
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Best Book for a Restaurant Owner: It’s All About the Guest by Steve Difillippo

Exceeding Expectations In Business And In Life, The Davio’s Way

Image Credit: Amazon

Restaurant ownership. Have fun at work and business

Steve Difillippo started his first restaurant at the age of 24, and there’s probably no better book to show you how to start a restaurant. He’s since built his restaurant business up to a $50 million brand, and the Davio’s brand is worth $10 million. Difillippo graduated from Boston University in 1982 and went on to attend The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.

He’s worked at a restaurant in the Boston area until he was able to buy off an existing restaurant called Davio’s in 1985. Difillippo went on to earn raving reviews for the innovative and bold ideas he brought to the new Davio’s.

Over the years Steve Difillippo has expanded his restaurant from Boston to the Gillette Stadium, New York City, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

More than 90% of Amazon reviews rate this book at four to five stars. And those who’ve experienced Davio’s in Boston and other places think the book is an accurate depiction of their encounters. If you’re thinking of owning a restaurant, this is the book to read.

One reviewer even called Davio’s “my all-time favorite restaurant.” This comment goes to show that Difillippo’s material is one of the best books on opening a restaurant.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • Your passion and fun in your personal life can and should fuel your success in the restaurant business.
  • Focus on creating an excellent experience for the customer
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Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Image Credit: Amazon 

Culinary memoir. Foodservice. Chef skills. Restaurant management.

This book has received overwhelming praises for two decades! And it still holds up. Frankly, it’s probably one of the best management books out there.

It probably strikes you first as a memoir. And that’s what it is — until you read it. Unlike other, Kitchen Confidential touches the uncomfortable topics that your usual hospitality and restaurant management book would rather avoid.

For people interested in how to run a restaurant, this book brings out the darker corners of the business. You should read this if you’re interested in how to start a food business and succeed at it.

Bourdain goes into insightful details that benefit the tactic-minded restaurant managers, chefs, restaurant owners, and their employees. Yes, you’ll learn about kitchen equipment and knives, but you won’t stop reading until you exhaust the pages.

This book tethers between an industry commentary and Bourdain’s confessional narrative. He even gives detailed accounts of his drug use and sexual encounters.

Kitchen Confidential stands solid at a 4.6-star rating, where 88% of these 3,400 reviewers rate Bourdain’s work four or five stars. Only 2% rated it one star.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

Thriving in the kitchen, restaurant, and culinary professions and business requires masochistic, and almost irrational dedication

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Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food by Gordon Ramsay

Recipes from the F Word

Image Credit: Amazon

Recipe. Fast food. Menu guide

Yummy meal on the table faster than you’d deliver a takeaway. That’s Gordon Ramsay’s promise to readers of this recipe book.

This book gives you ideas for snakes you’d get in five minutes, main course meals that take only 10 minutes, and menus that match any occasion and cooks in 30 minutes. It promises to deliver on fast and delicious meals consistently.

Ramsay has an EMMY nomination for his show Masterchef Junior. This celebrity chef on Fox TV is originally Scottish. He’s enjoyed immense success in the kitchen and on TV, especially with some of the amazing Gordon Ramsey quotes on TV.

Over the years, Ramsay grew his business to owning 35 restaurants across the globe. You’ll find his restaurants in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

As you might have guessed, this book gives quality advice on the best shortcuts for processes that would usually take a ton of time to do. It’s packed with about 100 delectable food recipes, so you’d never run out of options!

Ramsay lists core ingredient s you should have handy to aid speed. You’ll find 15 short sections packed with fast recipes divided into groups like

  • Starters
  • Fish
  • Desserts
  • Pasta
  • Soups
  • Working lunches
  • Meats

And then another part of 15 everyday and entertainment menus. This is no doubt one of the best books on opening a restaurant.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • Fast food can be delicious and doesn’t have to be junk food
  • Food for any occasion can be made fast
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The Upstart Guide to Owning and Managing a Bar or Tavern by Roy S. Alonzo

Image Credit: Amazon

Bar management. Risk management. Bartending

This guide book teaches you how to start or manage a bar or tavern with minimum risk. Roy Alonzo is a certified alcohol responsibility trainer and isn’t new to the food industry. The Master Bartender school he founded since 1980 has produced thousands of professional bartenders.

Bars and taverns are usually the first choices for many entrepreneurs that want to start small businesses. The risks, however, is enormous if you go into it without the right guidance.

You should know that apart from competing with other bars, you also have other nightlife activities to put up with. The cinemas and nightclubs are as much your competitors as other bars and taverns near you. So know your audience and be armed to succeed.

This book offers information on business planning, marketing, initial investment, and all the topics that, if mastered, leads to a successful bartending business. It also covers the latest trends in the field as well as information on how to deal with state regulatory agencies.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • Being passionate about starting a bar or tavern is not enough
  • Calculate your risks before starting your bar
  • Know who your target customers are, what they want, and build a competitive edge
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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting And Running A Coffee Bar by Linda Formichelli, W. Eric Martin, and Susan Gilbert

Published in 2005, this book does miss out on some new elements of digital marketing, like social media. But the ideas in it for running a successful coffee bar are priceless and very relevant in today’s climes.

Many to-be restaurant owners have found this book a fantastic start to their journey to restaurant success.

Susan Gilbert has owned and sold coffee bars. In total, she’s headed five coffee bars. This book is Susan’s collaborative effort with veteran authors, Linda Formichelli, and W. Eric Martin, to develop a step by step guide that helps new or burgeoning industry entrants.

You will learn how to create a coffee bar business plan and how to approach banks for loans.  Authors, Susan, Eric, and Linda, used this book to address all the concerns and questions a newbie might have concerning starting a coffee bar.

This book has more fans than critics. So far, more than 80% of reviews on Amazon has been very positive.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • The realities of working behind the counter at their bar
  • How to make and mix coffee
  • Pricing their coffee for profits
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Straight Up: Real World Secrets to Running a Killer Bar by Ramona Pettygrave Shah

Image Credit: Amazon

Bar management. Bartending. Teamwork. Memoir

Ramona Pettygrave Shah before authoring Straight Up led a hospitality group’s beverage program. She’s been in the industry for about ten years; has worked as a beverage consultant, bar manager, and bartender. In short, she knows how to run a bar.

This book covers a wide range of management themes; time management, teamwork, work ethic, and more. But it doesn’t stop there.

Straight Up also comes with drink recipes for juice, infusion, syrup, and cocktail. Buyers get Shah’s Mixology tips to try out too.

This book resonates deeply with bartenders and bar managers. Even people with decades of experience in the bar management space found the book useful.

The Amazon review is near stellar! Where only 3% of reviewers feel this wasn’t a good buy, a whopping 93% feel this is a five-star book! And 97% either gave it a four or five-star rating.

Key Restaurant Management Lessons

  • Handling bar management challenges successfully
  • Real-life bar situation management guides for bartenders
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Wrapping Up

Restaurant management requires more than just hard work. You must use the right information to point your energy in the right direction. Choose a convenient time to learn from those who have gone ahead of you and take the lessons and experience from them.

Nicholas Godwin

Posted by Nicholas Godwin

Nicholas Godwin helps businesses tell profitable stories that their audiences love. He's worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies, global tech corporations and top consulting firms, from Bloomberg Beta, Accenture, PwC, and Deloitte to HP, Shell, and AT&T. You can catch Nicholas on TechContentLabs or say hello on Twitter.