Vice President of Concept Development
Michael Jettner began his tenure in the restaurant industry as a bus boy in 1995 while attending North Central College in Naperville, Illinois where he was a student athlete (studied kinesiology and played baseball). He has worked his way up through every front of the house position; host, security, server, and bartender.
He moved back to Chicago to pursue a Masters Degree in Exercise Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation. His work ethic became evident when he held 3 part-time jobs, was a graduate assistant and held a full class load. His management career began with Ala Carte Entertainment, where he was an assistant manager at Alumni Club and Leg Room on Division Street in Chicago. After completing his graduate degree he spent a couple years in the health and fitness industry and held positions from personal trainer to general manager. He left the health and fitness industry and went into retail management to get a better grasp of management on a larger scale. In 2000, he decided to focus on the restaurant industry full time while taking classes towards his MBA at DePaul University. In July of 2000, he began his career at John Barleycorn with the opening of the second location in Wrigleyville.
Mike’s entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic and business sense became apparent when he opened his first neighborhood bar, Siblings, on Chicago’s northwest side in 2002 while still bartending at John Barleycorn. Not long after that he became general manager at John Barleycorn in Wrigleyville. In 2005 Mike opened his second bar and grill, Jet’s Public House, on Chicago’s northwest side. At that time he left John Barleycorn to concentrate on his ventures. Not long after, Mike took on his biggest undertaking with the design and development of a Mexican restaurant, The Rusty Armadillo Grill and Cantina, which he opened in 2007. Mike’s focus on training, design and implementation of systems and standard operating procedures helped him keep his operations under control.
In 2009 Mike came back to John Barleycorn and Moe’s Cantina as the operations manager of the Wrigleyville locations. He immediately began working on standardizing systems and procedures throughout the company. He quickly became Director of Operations for all Samco Enterprises. He played an important role in the opening of Moe’s Cantina River North (2010) and John Barleycorn River North (2012).
Joining the Team
So then how did he get to Bottleneck? The relationship began when he worked for Jason Akemann at Barleycorn in 2000. The two kept in close contact, bounced ideas off each other over the years, and Nate Hilding had even sat down with him to discuss creating a PPM for a project he was launching in 2009. Mike followed their success very closely and heard about Bottleneck's expansion plans, wanting to be a part of it in any way possible. The core values of the owners and Bottleneck Management were identical to his and he thought the relationship could be mutually beneficial. In 2013, Mike reached out to Jason to see if they had anything open...from bus boy to manager...and here he is today, an operations manager that is slated to head up the opening of each new store.
Mike is an experienced leader that leads by example. He holds his managers and employees to a high standard and does not accept excuses. He exemplifies a customer-first attitude and truly understands and preaches the old saying “that we are here because of our guests, not vise versa.” His attitude, work ethic and his constant desire for personal and professional knowledge and growth make him a great fit with Bottleneck Management.
Outside of Work
When he's not working at one of his own bar & grills, Mike likes to workout, play volleyball and get to Texas whenever he can to spend time with his god daughter.