As part of locating ALOR consulting in Portland, we decided to spotlight local businesses. What started as a project to get to know Portland, quickly turned into an exploration of devotion and teamwork.
Over and over, we heard passionate people talk about their work, their teams, their bosses. Particularly in restaurants.
Hospitality Starts Before Guests Arrive
Traditionally, hospitality is defined by the treatment of guests:
The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
Turns out Portland businesses known for hospitality, define things a little differently.
Tasty n Sons “Hosts” Their Team First
See these faces? They look pretty happy don’t they.
These people are at work. Physically taxing, long shifts in hot kitchens kinda work and yet, they’re all still smiling. This is the Tasty n Sons team. After their Brunch shift nonetheless. Cheese!
“John and Renee host us, then we in turn host the crew and then everybody hosts the guests. So we’re ready to bring the fun, bring the party and ensure guests are having a great time.” — Brunch Chef de Cuisine Erin Connell, Tasty n Sons
Owner and Executive Chef John Gorham and his wife Renee “host” their team, ensuring they are taken care of. Happy. Perhaps that’s a good part of the reason why, Brunch Chef de Cuisine Erin Connell has been with Tasty n Sons for nearly six years now. She is happy there and proud of the work the Tasty n Sons team does. She should be, look at this!
Creating a Family Atmosphere at Chesa
Chef José Chesa is well known in Portland for his hospitality. Thing is, the hospitality he shows his guests, starts in the kitchen.
“This is a hard business. You must be passionate about what you’re doing. If you’re not happy and you cook, your food will not be good.” –Chef José Chesa
Don’t be fooled, that is a smile from Sous Chef Abel. Really! We swear, check out.
Chef José Chesa checks with his team to make sure they are happy. He truly believes if his team is not cooking happy, the food will not be good for his guests.
On the day of our interview, we arrived before the restaurant opened. Although the staff was working, prepping for the day, everyone was laughing, joking and smiling.
They were having fun, working together. It was clear we were in the midst of a happy team. That evening our food, in fact, was delicious and tremendously beautiful.
Inspiring Leadership at Reverend’s BBQ
Discussing harsh opening reviews with Reverend’s BBQ Kitchen Manager Matt Currey, was unexpectedly inspiring. Matt didn’t cut and run in the face of the critics. Thanks to his bosses support, he stuck with it. Making improvements in everything from suppliers to cuts. Three years later Reverend’s BBQ is a neighborhood gem.
Hospitality Starts Before Guests Arrive
Local business owners taking care of their teams is a tradition that runs deep in Portland. While we’ve focused on the restaurant industry in this article, the same thing can be seen at Craft Breweries.
At Ancestry Brewing, Founder Jeremy Turner treats his team with the respect one would give family. A few of whom like his brother-in-law, are. When new menus rolled out, the entire team pitched in. Jeremy was getting team member feedback like “I’ve never seen anything like this before. The front of the house is giving the back of the house a hand, this is great!” Teamwork.
Jeremy respects his teams work so highly, he built the entire Ancestry Brewing taproom in Tualatin, Oregon to showcase their work. A huge bank of windows gives every seat in the house a view of the team at work.
Consequently, the Ancestry team from Tualatin to the Sellwood taproom are passionate ambassadors for Ancestry Beer. Likely a part of the reason Ancestry Brewing was recently voted the number one brewery in Oregon!
Hotel Lucia Defines the Art of Hospitality
Perhaps the most obvious place to look is the hospitality industry itself. Enter Hotel Lucia.
“Hotel Lucia really focuses on hiring people who are passionate about Portland. That way when recommending restaurants, coffee shops or cocktail bars, our team is talking passionately about what they love. Plus, Hotel Lucia really takes care of our team. If our team is happy, then they are able to focus on our guests.” — PR Director Kate Buska, Hotel Lucia
Recipe for a Happy Team
There are two recipes for employee discontent that are served up far too often in Corporate America.
Expectations without resources. Responsibility without authority.
It might seem a giant leap, but looking at culinary teams with a hospitality mindset just might reveal a simple recipe for employee satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.
- Find people who are passionate and love the craft.
- Realize they are in fact, in your care and take care of them.
- Trust them to get it right. Be there when something goes wrong.
- Give the best ingredients and proper tools to cook up success.