Matthew Mabel

Matthew Mabel founded Surrender in 1991. As president and organizational development team leader, Matthew combines his experience as a former business owner, operator and corporate treasurer with two decades of consulting.

“At Surrender, I function at my greatest capacity by serving others,” Mabel said. “We open up possibilities for people and create value in our client companies. As a result, we have established wonderful relationships with our clients.”

As a restaurant industry analyst, Mabel has been quoted extensively in the media about both industry and management issues. He is a frequent contributor to trade publications including Restaurant Startup and Growth and Nightclub and Bar. He is also a sought-after speaker for industry gatherings on topics of business growth, development and operations.

He has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association (GDRA). In 2003, he received the association’s President’s Award to recognize work he performed in organizational development as part of the GDRA’s launch of a major regional culinary and restaurant management education initiative. That initiative has resulted in 42 Texas Pro Start Programs, providing culinary and restaurant management education in High Schools around North Texas.

Mabel is an experienced and talented entrepreneur, teacher, leader and communicator, who has started companies from scratch and re-invented existing business from within. Each step of his career has contributed to his ability to help others grow their businesses. He has measured his ultimate business success when employees would say to him,

“This is the greatest job I’ve ever had.”

Mabel’s forthcoming book, Beyond Business, communicates techniques used by Surrender to improve companies, careers and lives. It includes many success stories about Surrender’s work with various clients. Read a sample chapter.

Modern Luxury featured Mabel and his career from concert promoter to connoisseur and advisor. The award-winning publication presents a monthly search for the finest in fashion, dining, entertainment and travel. Read the article.

Modern Luxury featured Mabel and his career from concert promoter to connoisseur and advisor. The award-winning publication presents a monthly search for the finest in fashion, dining, entertainment and travel.

Click Article to View PDF


About Surrender

Why are we called Surrender? It should come as no surprise that our clients are some of the hardest working entrepreneurs and business owners in their industries. Any one of them would readily admit that they are harder on themselves than any of their employees. Reluctant to ask for help – or to relinquish perceived control – worklife becomes a constant battle.

Surrender was chosen to reflect the opportunity presented when an owner “gives up” the idea that they, alone, have to figure everything out. We are able to demonstrate that, by collaborating with others, synergies and solutions emerge that could not be developed any other way.

We work with owners, senior managers and unit- and department-level managers, designing custom-tailored solutions to reach their goals. We employ techniques used in some of the greatest corporations in America, adapting them to entrepreneurial business. First, we listen to what the stakeholders are seeking, knowing that the best solution for one company could be the worst solution for another. We customize our work to each client, believing that a one-size-fits-all approach fits no one.

What is the portrait of our typical client? An individual whose strengths and enthusiasm have propelled their business forward from birth to belief – but only for a while. Sales are in the millions or tens of millions, but have reached a plateau. It becomes harder to see how the growth can continue, or how profits can increase. When the company stops growing, the work stops being as enjoyable, exciting and rewarding as it once was. Incremental gains come harder.

That’s where the Surrender team comes in.

When a company makes the commitment to implement Surrender’s proven strategies:

  • Profits increase.
  • Stress is reduced.
  • Stability is enhanced.
  • Owners and employees are more  satisfied with their work.
  • The company is measurably more  successful.

Our Philosophy

Experience.  Knowledge.  Insight.  Solutions.

Common themes apply to our client companies and their leaders. Insight and solutions come from understanding these connections and the unique way they apply to each company.  Let’s make a few assumptions about your business:

  • It’s not growing.
  • It’s not as profitable as you want it to be.
  • It’s gotten harder to handle.
  • There’s just no joy in it.

We can almost guarantee that, if these assumptions are true for your business, it’s because your leadership is being asked to handle issues they don’t have extensive experience with, and they are doing so by trial and error.  We address these same issues again and again with each new client.

Why would I want to feel any better?

Why place limits on how you feel about your company and your work? Many of us subscribe to the old adage, “Work is hard. That’s why they call it work.” But the Surrender team knows that work can be rewarding, fun and meaningful.  The by-product of that is making money.  Clients get to experience feeling better about their businesses, even if they already feel pretty good.

The Surrender approach demonstrates that, just because the status quo is acceptable, it does not preclude a superior arrangement that you haven’t experienced before.

If you are going to be in charge, you may as well enjoy it.

The leader of an organization has the unique ability to build a team around his or her characteristics and personal objectives, but most don’t take that opportunity.  We encourage executives to tell us what they would like their lives to be like.  Then we build a plan to get there. The Surrender approach starts with leadership but includes plans that work for people at all levels of the company.  We design strategic and human resource plans and provide coaching on their implementation to produce results.

You are unique, but your challenges are not.

We understand that challenges are part of the natural cycle of business birth and growth, not a result of someone doing something wrong. Frankly, some of our clients think their businesses would make for great reality TV shows!  At some point in each engagement, the client asks Surrender President Matthew Mabel,

“Have you ever seen anything like this?”

Meaning: “My problems are unique” and “Don’t I have the most screwed-up, confused, ridiculous mess you have ever seen?”

Mabel’s answer is always, “No.” There are always unique aspects to your business and its history, but many organizations have challenges. The smart ones do something about them, whether it’s with us or by finding another solution.

Until we get robots we’re going to have to deal with people.

When was the last time you heard someone say this?

“I’m going to start a business! I’m a fantastic manager. All I need is a product or service.”

We haven’t heard that one very often, either. The fact is that leaders of companies often begin in a discipline other than management or supervision. The ability to understand and motivate people is critical to success and those skills can be learned. The Surrender team coaches leaders to become great managers and to understand each of the people who report to them as unique with specific needs. Keeping in mind their personal style, we have a history of transforming people who aren’t natural supervisors into true team leaders.

Do you want success the hard way? Or the easy way?

Matthew Mabel founded Surrender to allow clients to skip the hard lessons he learned in business and go the easy route – by directly importing the myriad solutions he has discovered into their companies. Now, after 20 years, we enjoy strong relationships with our many clients and their companies. Looking back, it is gratifying to see the positive impact we have had in their businesses and their lives.