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National Restaurant Association - How 3 women succeed in this business

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How 3 women succeed in this business

Women starting out in the restaurant industry might wonder what it takes to advance their careers. We asked three women – who operate or are joint venture partners at fullservice restaurants − what they did. Here’s what they said:

Play the numbers game

“In this business, it’s all about results,” says Lesli Putman, operating partner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Madison, Wis. “The effort you put in is also important, but don’t confuse the two. If you’re not honest with yourself about how you’re doing, you may find yourself getting passed over for promotions and wonder why. Make sure you take a good, hard look at [your performance].”

Deploying best practices will help ensure you run a great operation, says Kelly Beyer, operating partner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Brookville, Wis., and Putman’s mentor. “I try to keep it simple: run great controls, have a clean work environment and develop and treat our team with respect.”

“This is a performance-based career,” says Kim DiGilarmo, Gulf Coast joint venture partner for Carrabba’s Italian Grill. “This is a business. It’s our job to throw that party every night and make sure the guests enjoy themselves, but also execute business in a professional way.”

Be organized and knowledgeable

“If you’re not organized, you’ll find yourself under a mountain of work,” Putman says. “The ability to look at every shift and situation and plan for them is huge. It allows me to look forward and know what my people need.”

Says Beyer: “Above all else, be organized and don’t be shy about anything. If you want a seat at the table, be vocal and lead a great team.”

Adds DiGilarmo: “It’s critical that I know my business from top to bottom. Whether it’s the recipes or the technology or the metrics, no one should or could know more than I do about my position or working with my team.”

Lead by example

Have daily conversations with everyone on your staff, Beyer says. “They may not be willing to bring up a specific situation on their own, so you have to be willing to talk to them.”

Be able to set the tone for everyone and everything so it will trickle down to your managers and associates, Putman says. “Always remember your team needs a role model. If you’re not on top of your game, they can’t be either.”

Be a talent nurturer, DiGilarmo says. “I want to create a team that’s so excited to work for me they’ll come to our restaurants every day to be a part of something great. If they see me helping them reach their goals, they’ll know what to do to succeed. When they’re successful, I’m successful.”

For more about women in the restaurant industry and Women’s History Month, visit America Works Here

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