Letter to TV Network Execs

Dear Mandy & Samantha,

Haven’t heard from you in a while. Not sure what’s going on, or when the scout is planning to visit us in Chicago. Things have been good at Max’s Deli, if not a little heated. Thought I’d send you a recent correspondence to underscore my point, and give you a glimpse into the Madness.

Last night, at 10:44PM, I received an email from my General Manager, Raoul. The title of the email was “Peace.” Here’s what he wrote…

In an effort to try and keep peace in the family for the short term, I have issued each one of you a $2000 profit check that will be at Max’s for pick up on Thursday morning.

I am working on finishing June now, we made some money in the second quarter, I don’t know how much yet, but don’t forget we lost money in the first quarter.

As you know we have not made much money this year, cash flow is tight, and accounts payables are very high, we will review this on the meeting on Monday.

Before the meeting on Monday the three of you need to get together as partners and make decisions on the following items and let me know on Monday how you want things handled going forward.

  1. Who is on payroll or off and who is getting paid what.
  2. How you want to handle profit payouts. I would suggest that at the end of each quarter we look at the profits and agree to pay out ½ of the quarterly profits split by 3 to the partners. At the end of the year or the last quarter look at the profits for that quarter and see what is left and distribute more if possible, maybe come up with a higher percentage for 4th quarter. You have to leave some money in the company for cash flow, as we have no line of credit.
  3. The madness has to stop, you need to have calm rational ways of communicating, getting along and making decisions as partners. I think the monthly meeting are good, but if you don’t want them let me know what other suggestions you have.
  4. If things continue the way they are it is a recipe for disaster as far as the business goes, we need to get rid of the drama and get down to business in a rational manner.
  5. When you have major decision about operations or money, everyone should be sent an email and the partners should discuss and vote and let me know in writing via email what your decision was.

You have a good thing going and need to work on certain things, but you need to get together as partners and work with each and not against each other.

These are only suggestions, I am trying my best to keep everything cooking, but feel I am failing.

Best Regards,


Immediately, I called Raoul. We talked. Not much was resolved. But I could tell he needed to vent. This morning, I got to the deli early. I sent out this email…

Dear Raoul, Edith & Joey,

I’m writing this at 5:39AM from the office of Max’s Deli. I should be making bagels, which is my favorite way to spend Thursday Mornings. But the events which unfolded yesterday need to be addressed before I can bake in “peace.”

For the record, I’m not interested in peace. I’m interested in profits. I do not want a $2000.00 check to pacify me. I appreciate the offer and do believe we should be able to consistently pay the partners at least this much, if not more.

But first, we need to sit down, look at the numbers and forecast where things are headed. To say we’ve been busy is an understatement.

As for the phone calls that went around yesterday, at some point, in each conversation, everyone talked about walking away from Max’s, or quitting. I cannot base my adult relationships, especially business relationships, around utlimatums.

Things get uncomfortable. This is precisely when you lean in, not relinquish your power. I need everyone to hold on to their position so we can get together and have an uncomfortable conversation. It’s been my experience that these uncomfortable conversations are the most important component of what drives success.

Every leader I respect, from Abraham Lincoln to Lyndon Johnson, would gather together the men and women they were working with, and allow things to get heated because they knew everyone involved was passionate and didn’t have one foot out the door.

You can’t disagree with someone you’re trying to coax into staying – it doesn’t work – everyone has to be invested in the business and hold on to their power. It’s the least I expect, the very least.

For the record, I called Raoul last night when I received his email at 10:44PM. I don’t usually call at this hour, but I felt his email demanded an immediate response. There was a subtext of “doom & gloom.” I don’t let that kind of thing slide.

Our conversation was raw. But I wanted Raoul to know I understood he was frusterated, and even though I didn’t have an immediate solution, I’m perfectly willing to lean in.

Listen, I have big goals for Max’s Deli. It’s not going to be easy to achieve what I have in mind. I wouldn’t be reaching out to TV Network Executives if I thought we were going to fail in front of America; or even worse, show America it’s okay to aim for status quo. It’s not!

I suggest everyone come to the meeting on Monday at 10AM prepared to get uncomfortable. Please don’t take it personally. I do not want things to derail into a conversation about “tone” or “style.” We’re all different and come at things to the best of our abilities. It’d be something else entirely if I felt like someone wasn’t trying, and simply hiding behind an attitude.

I want this meeting to be about issues and expectations. Alright, it’s 6:21AM. I’d like to get back to baking. Have a great day, everyone.



Needless to say, Mandy & Samantha, things are going well.

As a side note, when I was talking to Raoul last night, I happened to be walking my dog, Dudley Moore. He’s super cool and walks off the leash. Don’t know if he picked-up on all the drama and didn’t like it, but he decided to run into the middle of a versy busy street, Western Avenue. All the cars stopped. In the middle of my conversation with Raoul, I was screaming “Dudley Moore!” Then I hung up. Raoul must have thought I was completely nuts!

Dudley is fine, which is more than I can say for Raoul. Anyway, thought I’d give you a glimpse into the Madness. Hope you’re enjoying summer. If you’ll excuse me now, I have bagels to make.

Take Care,


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19 Responses to Letter to TV Network Execs

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Dudley-fuckin-Moore! I was very disappointed to hear this story at 4am….not just because it was 4 in the morning but because it relates to some of my very favorite people… Greg, Joey, Edith, and of course the prettiest ugly dog in the world. All of you including Dudley Moore (he is 4 and in dog years that makes him 28) are adults and very intelligent ones at that…let’s have some “peace”. I’ll light up the peace pipe and everything…love you all.

  2. Vin Vicious says:

    Apparently, Raoul didn’t know that the Morelli clan all have black belts in drama. Raoul has been sucked into the vortex and is doomed if he takes it all too seriously. Some people play raquetball, some golf, some fish or work out. The Morelli clan has it’s opwn sport.

    Free advice to Raoul:
    1. Fix the spelling of your name, it looks like a typo;
    2. Don’t take the arguments and bickering around you personally; the Morelli’s won’t. They can fight in the morning and have laughs together over wine at dinner. Roll with it.

  3. Andy says:

    Sounds like a Kitchen Nightmare. Get a hold of Gordon Ramsay’s producer it might make a hell of a show. His best rants:




  4. Ryan Brent, Elk Grove says:

    I’d watch this show. Can’t figure out what in the heck they’re waiting for, already. Loved watching The Morelli Brothers on “Chefs Versus City.” Even though Greg couldn’t make sausage links to save his life. HaHaHa. LMAO. That was incredibly funny. You guys should have hosted the show. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. By the way, miss you on the radio.

  5. Marilyn Sims, Bedford Park, IL says:

    This sounds like an incredibly passionate team. I think Raoul has a lot of sound advice. Here’s hoping when the cameras aren’t rolling that you are listening to what he has to say. Unfortunately, the biggest drama queens seem to get all the attention. But the quiet guy, the one who crunches the numbers, has more to offer than meets the eye. Good Luck!!!

  6. Debra Brenner, Ohio says:

    Had to check this blog twice. I was so excited Joey posted a new recipe. But no, just a story by Greg. You write enough on this blog, Greg. Why won’t you let Joey post another recipe?!!

    P.S. – I hope you get a show, loved you guys on Chefs Versus City.

  7. Jason Capozzi, 60089 says:

    Raoul would be the “break out character.” Mark my words. I think we’re finally ready for some earnest people on TV. Between Casey Anthony and Anthony Weiner, it’s enough already! By the way, this correspondence is an amazing glimpse into how difficult it is to be a small business owner right now. Kudos to Max’s Deli.

  8. Gregor says:

    He ran into the street. First time ever. After the cars didn’t kill him. I wanted to!

  9. Don Meltzer, SC says:

    Gordon Ramsay is the best: great attitude, all heart. I’d love to read Joey’s version of “Kitchen Confidentials.” I’ll bet it would be one long bender. Wouldn’t it, Joey?

  10. Roni J. says:


  11. Karen from Portland says:

    I came into the resturant once, been reading the blog for food recipies ever since…all of them are full proof and Greg and Joey write beautifully. I wish I didn’t live so far away so I could come try things out at Maxs Deli. Perhaps a visit to Chicago soon…hmmm

  12. Gregor says:

    I have tremendous respect for Raoul. Having flown by the seat of my pants at Joey’s Brickhouse, it’s nice to work with a true professional who has the talent of a Ritchie Melman and the customer service touch of a hardcore mensch. If my brother Joey operates on pure emotion, then Raoul operates on technique and track record. It’s an impressive team. LeBron should spend the summer working at Max’s Deli if he wants to learn how a team can sometimes be at odds, but still come together for the win!

  13. Karen says:

    Joey! Joey!

  14. Cicily Castillo Oliver, 60642 says:

    Joey!!! Joey!!! Joey!!!

  15. jojo says:

    I am going to post recipes wrapped around stories as soon as Greg lets me Indian gift the I-pad… :love:

  16. jojo says:

    Raoul is a Melman guy so he knows how to suceed!

  17. Gregor says:

    You’ll have to pry the iPad out of Elizabeth’s hands. She loves it. Truth be told, so do I. Which is why I’d never leave it in my car. You snooze. You lose. Sorry, Bro. I would have warned you but I know better than to warn you. I do miss your writing. I’m a fan!

  18. jojo says:

    Hey P8-drew when are you coming to Max’d deli?

  19. security guard says:

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset.

    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested.


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