How I work: 22 quick questions with Rob Duckworth, owner of Duckworth’s

How I work: 22 quick questions with Rob Duckworth, owner of Duckworth’s
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With locations in Ballantyne, Huntersville, Mooresville, Uptown, and on Park Road, Duckworth’s has been slowly but surely popping up in all parts of Charlotte.

Rob Duckworth opened the first restaurant of his namesake in Mooresville in 2004 and is currently expecting to open another next year (along with a brand new concept in South End).

Get to know Mr. Duckworth himself.


Office location?

Cornelius. We have a pretty big office there, and I work out of my home a lot.

Phone and computer?

iPhone X.

I have a Macbook Pro, and iMac, and I work a lot from an iPad Pro on the fly.

To-do list manager?

I use a calendar. Microsoft Outlook is my best friend in business. I live by the calendar and put everything I do on it.

Social media habits?

Personally, I don’t post much at all. For the business, my folks post constantly. But I’ll get on and look at certain pages. I like to troll Instagram and Twitter to see food blogs, cocktails… but it’s not very much, maybe 45 minutes collectively a day on the personal side. On the business side… that’s pretty constant.

Sleep routine?

Probably go to bed between 12:30 and 1:00 a.m. and I’ll get up at about 7 or 7:30 a.m. Doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend or during the week. I could stay up til 4 a.m. and I’m still gonna get up at 7 or 7:30 a.m.


Not so much [at work], but when I’m driving I do. Usually it’s No Shoes Nation (Kenny Chesney Radio). I like it all. I like today’s music. Believe it or not, my daughter’s a big Taylor Swift fan, so I listen to her. It’s really a variety of music.

How do you spend the first hour of your day, starting from when you wake up?

I read the Axios Charlotte email because I usually have that in my inbox before I get up. I usually read Apple News. I’ve kinda configured it to hit all my topics from food sites to CNN to Vice, so I’ll spend about 20 minutes reading that every day. Check Instagram, Twitter for the business, then I’ll start digging into email.

That’s usually the first hour sitting in bed.

What do you eat for breakfast?

I keep it simple. Usually it’s a smoothie with wheatgrass added to it or it’s a bowl of oatmeal if it’s the wintertime. I don’t do much of a breakfast.

office rob-duckworth-charlotte

Wow, Rob’s got a pretty minimalist office


One of Duckworth’s famous cheesesteaks

What do you actually do? Walk us through a day in your life.

I’ve got a lot of good people around me. So I usually deal with the people that report directly to me. We have routine meetings with a rolling list of agenda items. Normally it’s checking metrics from locations using the different applications we have. If there’s anything concerning, I’ll get on the phone with whoever is in charge of that to find out what’s going on.

Unfortunately, a lot of my day is administrative stuff and spending a lot of time on the computer. When I’m in the stores, I make the rounds, talk to the management team… I’d rather be out in the restaurant.

How many restaurants do you have?

We have six and are about to submit a permit for another concept.

What everyday thing are you really good at?

Organizing and having a plan. I always know where I’m gonna be and what I’m doing. I stay on task. It’s the only way I can keep my sanity because I like to be in control of what the heck I’m doing.

Any unusual habits?

I don’t know if washing your handles compulsively is unusual, but I do that a lot.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people. I like the interaction with guests. I like creating stuff and helping develop people to see how they change and evolve.

If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing?

I have dabbled in real estate, and as a byproduct of the business I’m in, I have acquired real estate… I probably would have pursued that a little more diligently.



Meatless Impossible burger at Duckworth’s Kitchen & Taphouse

Where do you go around Charlotte to get away from the office?

Usually it’s local breweries. It’s centered around culinary, cocktails, craft beer. That’s just my life. Occasionally I get to get out on the boat.

Favorite hobby?

Travel and boating.

When we travel I like to eat and try new things. We try not to go to places we’ve already been.

Best investment?

I could say a piece of real estate we flipped or the car that my son now has. It has 300,000 miles on it, and it’s still kickin’ and looks new.

Advice to your 30-year old self?

Focus on one thing and really do it well instead of trying to do too many things not perfect. Be more laser-focused on where your skill set is.

I think when I was 30 I was wanting to get into everything. Real estate, restaurants, convenience stores. It’s not really feasible to do that. One of those is going to suffer if you’re trying to manage them all.

Best job advice you’ve received?

Listen more and talk less.

Book you gift frequently?

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s an old one, but it still works today, and it’ll work 100 years from now.

What’s one thing people don’t know about Charlotte that they should?

I just learned this recently… when we were developing our new concept, we were trying to come up with a name, and I wanted something that had some historical relevance to South End. The railroad was a big thing for South End. One of the reasons the railroad became essential was because Charlotte was the country’s first gold rush.

What other Charlottean would you like to answer these questions?

Hugh McColl.

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