Lessons from my Father

June 20, 2020


My dad had a profound impact on my career in food service.

It’s an impossible task to quantify the valuable lessons I learned from my dad that continue to serve me well personally and throughout my career in food and hospitality management. However, there are three very specific things I learned from my father that led to a rewarding and joyful career in food service. Those lessons are:
1. The value of hard work.
2. Everyone matters.
3. The importance of giving back to your community.


The Price of Success is Hard Work

The truth is, I never thought I’d make dining services my career even though I grew up in the business. Many people wouldn’t consider this kind of work. You often work long hours. It’s a tough business.

But my father taught me that the food and hospitality business affords one an opportunity (a real, true opportunity) to make a difference in people’s lives every day. Food brings people together. Food builds community and it creates wonderful memories that last a lifetime. Sure, working in food service is hard work.

However, positively impacting the lives of those you serve is incredibly valuable and rewarding; it’s worth every hard hour you put into the work. My dad always said that so long as I worked hard I could accomplish anything. He was absolutely right.

Everyone Is Important

When my father visited the accounts he served, he always took time to talk to every team member. He wouldn’t select one or two teammates to visit with and ignore the rest. His mantra was “everyone matters.” The dishwasher is just as important, if not more important, than the manager. A guest’s experience starts with clean dishes, he would say.

He didn’t see different races or classes of people. He saw people for who they were and who they wanted to be. I loved visiting kitchens with my dad because everyone in those kitchens felt like family and we always had so much fun.

Prioritize Giving Back to your Community

Giving one’s talents and/or time to impact their community takes many forms and impacts lives in many different ways. For example, the value of providing a meal for someone in need, or taking a chance on hiring someone, can make a world of difference in someone’s life. Volunteering, giving back and helping others makes our communities stronger.

My father always told me that you can’t just take from society and your community. You must give back when and however you can. There are times in life when it’s very difficult to find the space and means to serve your community and that’s peferctly OK. But my dad always told me that giving back should always be a priority and serving others will often look different and take many different forms throughout life.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

My father spent his entire career in food service. The lessons he taught me made me a better person. He impacted the lives of so many people, and it’s been fun to share my memories of him with people I meet every day traveling around the country for Fresh Ideas. My dad’s legacy is strong and lives on!


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