2021 Core Four Awards

Each year, Bottleneck Management recognizes employees who demonstrate the best representation of our four core values; understand, support, empower and enjoy. The Core Four Award goes to one Heart of House team member, one Front of House team member, and one Home Office team member.

The 2021 award winners are Colter Potts, Luis Zambrano, and Hector Soteno. These team members are genuine people offering genuine hospitality and have earned some well-deserved recognition, having shown stellar leadership and resolve as our company adapted and navigated its way through the challenges of the pandemic.

Cheers to the Core Four Award Winners

  • Colter Potts is our Information Technology Manager and was recognized this year as the Core Four Award winner for the Home Office. His hard work in the IT department crosses over to every department in Bottleneck Management and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.


  • Luis Zambrano is our Senior Executive Chef at Sweetwater Tavern and Grille and has been with Bottleneck since 2017. He is a true leader and innovator in our restaurants.  


  • Hector Soteno is our General Manager at Old Town Pour House in Chicago and his dedication to the restaurant could not be overlooked by his staff or leadership. 

Insight From the Recipients 

How does it feel to be a core four award winner?

Colter: “It feels unexpected and amazing to be chosen. I was literally thinking to myself as Mark was introducing the award that this is something I won’t ever get.”

Luis: “To be honest, I was not expecting this recognition and it reminds me to keep working hard and leading by example. It feels really good because it shows that I have a talented team who supported me and helped me reach my goals. I hope this inspires others to keep working towards their goals.

Hector: “I was completely surprised when I was told I had won. There are so many amazing leaders in the company, and I think the Core Four Award is something that all GMs strive for in Bottleneck. I’m not the best at receiving recognition, but it felt great to receive an award for something you’re passionate about. It’s absolutely a very proud moment.”


What do you enjoy most about working at Bottleneck? 

Colter: “I enjoy how passionate people are about the company and their jobs. You can genuinely see how much everyone cares for each other and the betterment of the company.”

“The company is small enough that it allows for a lot of growth opportunities and enables me to be on the ground level of creating and improving infrastructure and processes.”

Luis: “I like the professionalism shown in each role within Bottleneck. They have great goals and visions.”

Hector: “I really enjoy the way Bottleneck takes care of their people. They genuinely care about their teams. A lot of companies talk about their views of the restaurant business, but I feel that Bottleneck is not just in the restaurant business, they’re in the people business.


Is there a moment in your career that stands out? 

Colter: “Opening City Works-Schaumburg in -40 weather was fun. That was my first new restaurant opening and, obviously, winning the Core Four Award takes the cake.”

Luis: “After I moved to Illinois, one of my goals was running a restaurant in downtown Chicago. When I got the news about my transfer to Chicago, I was sure that I was heading in the right direction.”

Hector: “There was a moment in time where I shared a concern I had and within minutes it felt like an all-hands-on-deck kind of meeting to get it resolved. It really emphasized the importance of their people. That’s sometimes hard to find out there.”


Is there an achievement that you are most proud of? 

Colter: “Introducing and implementing OLO, the digital ordering platform to the company, and, on a personal level, having my first child.”

Luis: “Being a part of the Sweetwater menu change and guiding some chefs to reach their professional goals in the company. I am proud of the talented team we have.”

Hector: “Something that jumps out to me when I think about this is being asked to pilot a new beer inventory system for our company. I think it stands out so much because of how early on in my development with the company I was. I’m pretty sure I asked, “Are you sure you want me to do this?” I felt proud that the company had confidence in tasking me with this project so early on. Especially with how beer-focused we are.”


What Inspires you? 

Colter: “My daughter, people who don’t have a stop button, and the unknown.”

Luis: “The people around me, starting from my crew to the management leaders. Bottleneck provides me with the tools and challenges I need to grow professionally.”

Hector: “Seeing our team take care of our guests and seeing a guest become a regular to the restaurant is really inspiring. Because to have this happen, so many things must come together such as having a happy team around, happy restaurant leaders, and a great product to deliver to the guests. So, seeing people come back repeatedly is confirmation that what you and your team are doing is working.”


What do you think other people should know about Bottleneck?

Colter: “We go out of our way to support each other and our restaurants, we work as one team from restaurant workers to el Presidente and we all want what is best for the company and the employees.”

Luis: “Bottleneck is a company that cares about you. There is a lot of room to grow here and the four core values of understanding, support, empowerment, and enjoyment are truly the pillars of Bottleneck Management.”

Hector: “They are always honest to their people and they invest in their people. The growth this company has to offer is amazing.”