I have been blessed to meet so many nice people along the way.
I am not talking about celebrities necessarily, although I have met my share of them, I am talking about my day to day interactions with our guests. With whom, together over the years, we have become a part of each other’s lives.
The Teachable Moment
The lesson came at a single fleeting instance while I was on my honeymoon. I know you’re saying ‘on my honeymoon?’, and I do remember the wonderful time spent together with my new wife, but the indelible business moment came when I met the owner of Simon’s Sweetwater Tavern in Anaheim, California.
He greeted us at the door. Me with a firm handshake and then a peck on the cheek for my wife. When he found out we were newlyweds he came and sat with us for a few. He said if you ever get in the restaurant business shake hands and kiss the ladies on the cheek.
At that time I never dreamed I would be in this business, much less for nearly three decades, but a few years later my Uncle Vito DePalma offered me a job at a new restaurant he was opening in Livonia, Michigan.
I told him I knew nothing about the restaurant business, he said “you will learn”.
That was 1987 and I can say I have learned a great deal.
The most important advice I would give to anyone venturing into food and beverage is to
- treat your guests like family,
- build long lasting bonds, and
- keep them for a lifetime.
Why have I stayed nearly 30 years?
Well, it isn’t due to the long hours, working on holidays or missing most of your family’s events. No, it is because of the feeling you get when you bond with strangers who were thrilled with their experience and you truly look forward to their next visit.