Once again, it's a real good guest post! This one courtesy of David Hayden over at The Hospitality Formula. Thanks, bro!
One of the remarkable things about spending the better part of two decades in the restaurant business is the people you meet along the way. I have former co-workers who are Doctors, Lawyers, and very successful business owners. There is something about the restaurant industry that draws people with talent and ambition. It is always nice to see a former server achieve their aspirations and move ahead in the careers of their choice. Sometimes you even get a chance to wait on them again. While it may seem awkward to do so, that feeling is dwarfed be the sense of pride you have in playing some small part in watching their rise to success.
It is the people that remain in the industry that always fascinate me. I am endlessly inspired by the people who would be successful in any career they choose, but choose to stay in the restaurant industry. The ones who stay do so out of a passion for the business and the unrivaled ability to make an impact on the lives of others. Foregoing wealth and status for the ability to put a smile on someone’s face is one of the noblest callings in the world. Those are the people I truly admire.
People like Penny Shultz. To say that Penny is beloved is to say that George Washington is mildly respected. She is the confidant, cheerleader, and counselor to countless regulars at the bar she has called home for over 20 years. I’ve known Penny for most of those years and she is one of my most cherished friends. She never forgets a face and nothing makes you feel more special than being welcomed like her best friend when you pull up a stool at her bar. The compassion she shows for those who bring their problems to her and the excitement she shares with the success of others is remarkable. At some of the lowest moments of my life, Penny was there to make me feel that everything would be alright and hundreds of other people could say the same thing.
Then there is Scott Henze. There might be a few people in Kansas City that don’t know Scott Henze, but I haven’t met many. I have never asked Scott for the shirt off his back, but I am pretty certain the only delay in him giving it to me would be taking the time to iron it first. Scott is the most patient server I have ever met and can turn even the gruffest guest into a friend. His sincerity is easily shown to others. This is probably why Scott is like the Yelp of the city. My car recently died. I had some money set aside, but not enough for anything nice. I definitely had no time or transportation to go shopping. Scott made a call and had his friend Pete on the phone. Two days later Pete was at the restaurant to show me my new convertible. I would have never imagined I could afford a car that was this nice. I probably couldn’t have, but Pete knew I was friends with Scott and financed the difference with no interest and no rush on paying it off. Being a friend of Scott’s comes with credit approval and discounted rates. This is also something I will always extend to Scott’s friends. That is all the recommendation a person will ever need.
I really wish everyone in this business could meet Chef Jasper Mirabile. Jasper loves this business more than anyone I have ever met. It was like the man was born to be a Chef. He runs the restaurant named after his father in a manner that must constantly earn him smiles from his first mentor. He is a tireless cheerleader and advocate for the entire community. His Facebook page is filled with mentions of other restaurants. His radio show provides publicity to small restaurants that could never afford it on their own. He is an advocate for the community and the community loves him in return. I can imagine that it must be frustrating for his staff to have every guest that comes through the door know the owner. I don’t think he would have it any other way. To meet Jasper and encounter his seemingly limitless optimism and enthusiasm makes everyone he meets a new friend.
I am certain that any of these people could have succeeded in any other industry. They have passion, drive, and the sincere desire to improve the lives of others. What makes them special to me is that each passed up those opportunities for the ability to keep bringing smiles to the faces of others. No one ever gets rich in this business, but I am not sure money is any of their primary concerns. They have a passion for this industry, my industry, and their examples inspire me every day.
David's got a Restaurant Marketing Plan that'll drive traffic like you won't believe! If you've got anything, especially an independent restaurant, to promote, you owe it to yourself to check it out. You're welcome!