"Why this business...?"
Hello, Welcome! That's how it always starts for me at the restaurants. When someone comes for dinner, whether it's for the first time or the 100th time, "Welcome" is my way of saying "come in, relax, you're in good hands now." It's so ingrained in me that I have to stop myself from "welcoming" people when it's not my home or restaurant. Like when you invite me over to your house for the first time it's not appropriate for me to come inside and say "Hello, Welcome!"
I also make a point of welcoming every new person that comes to work for the restaurant. I want to extend the same hospitality to each and every staff member that is extended to paying guests. Because I believe that you can't really turn genuine hospitality on or off. In other words - I really want you to be there and hope you have an amazing experience or I don't. There is no sometimes.
With that in mind, it becomes very important to find employees who share that understanding (whether they know it or not) to make the restaurant successful. Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time interviewing candidates over the last 10 years. And regardless of someone's qualifications, I always ask the same question: "Why this business...?"
Believe it or not, "The money is good" or "I like working with liquor" are not the right answer. What is really great is when someone says "I love making people happy." That's hospitality gold! Anyone who has a passion for providing a great experience can be molded into a prosperous restaurant professional that will be an incredible ambassador, "welcoming" people from the heart.
OK so now this is probably a good place for me to answer my own important question. Why this business? Well, honestly, I love making people happy. And selfishly, I love the feeling I get when I help someone learn something new. Seeing people discover something, whether it's a new wine, a new food or even a new place, is incredible. It's so fulfilling when that new thing then becomes part of that person's own story.
And what I've found over the years is that it's almost always an even exchange. As I'm sharing new experiences with people and helping them discover something, they are teaching me in return. After all, providing true hospitality is about being open, about both giving and receiving. It's about removing the walls between you and someone else so that you can truly say "welcome."
So how does all this translate into my new blogging adventure? Well I guess we are about to find out! I'm going to continue eating, drinking, traveling and sharing. My quest for new discoveries, new sights, new faces, new flavors is going live on the internet for everyone to see (gulp!) Hello! Welcome!