I started out my career with plans of becoming a United States diplomat in a foreign country, but soon found myself on the path to earning a Ph.D. in political science and economics, with plans to teach at the college level. While I didn’t finish my Ph.D., I feel as if I have earned it over the course of my life through working in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
During the years spent pursuing my Ph.D., I worked in restaurants to pay my way through school. When I was a young boy, I spent summers as a dishwasher at the San Diego Zoo, eventually working my way up to a busboy position.
As I look back on those early years, what is amazing to me is that I was always happiest when working in the hospitality industry. I like the kind of people who work in the business, and I like what we can do for guests — not just in filling their stomachs, but in fulfilling many emotional needs, from that of business conversations to proposals of marriage.
The hospitality industry is fun, takes a lot of hard work and hours and is incredibly rewarding. The business is so rewarding because we are given instantaneous satisfaction when we see the smiles on guests’ faces and their repeat business. We are a manufacturing business, in essence — we take orders, manufacture custom products and get direct feedback and payment — all within the short time people occupy tables in our business.
This holiday season, I’m reflecting not just on 2013, but on the many years that have led up to the coming New Year. I am proud of the direction my company, Puccini Group, has taken in the hospitality world, and I’m comforted and pleased by the restaurant and hospitality relationships we’ve developed and maintained over the years.
Cheers to a Happy New Year.