• Home
    Home We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • Foundation
    Foundation Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • Show
    Show May 18-21, 2019 As the international foodservice marketplace, the National Restaurant Association Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.

National Restaurant Association - Ingredients for success: courage, clear thinking

Skip to navigation Skip to content

News & Research

Email Print
News RSS

Ingredients for success: courage, clear thinking

Christianne Ricchi, chef-owner of Ristorante I Ricchi in Washington, D.C., explains how to achieve success and stay relevant in business.

Where does your love of restaurants and food come from?

It started when I was in college. I went to Italy to study painting and was introduced to the Italian culture, wine and food. The people and light and color of Tuscany enthralled me. I started learning about food and culture when I was there, but went back to the states to get my degree. Two weeks after graduation, I was back. I met an Italian man whose family owned a little trattoria outside of Florence. During the day I’d paint in the countryside and in the evening I’d help in the kitchen. I learned to love the restaurant industry. It instilled in me a desire to take care of and feed people.

What are some important lessons learned?

To be a success in any industry, you have to understand fully what it is you want and where you want to go. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to rely on creativity. You have to stop and think about who you are, what you want, what the market wants and go from there. Be pensive in the beginning to really understand where you want to go. Then have the courage to take some calculated risks. You also have to have a visionary zeal that keeps you going. I’m continually saying to myself, especially after a bad day, failure is not an option.

What advice would you give to young women in the industry?

Embrace who you are as a female. We have attributes that are very powerful. Women who’ve learned to use them have been very successful. Look at yourself, and determine where the gaps in your skill sets are. Once you identify them, ask questions to either learn or make sure you surround yourself with people who can make up for those gaps. Empathy is important. One last thing: be very good at multitasking. It can really help you succeed.

Who are some of your mentors?

Ella Brennan, one of the first women I met in the industry, created an empire in New Orleans. Another who is particularly inspirational is Ruth Fertel, owner and creator of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Her story was unusual, and I took it to heart. She was a single mother and wasn’t in the restaurant industry. She had to support her two children, so she took everything she owned and invested it in this restaurant called Chris’ Steakhouse. The rest is history.

What makes a good leader?

You need to be kind, open, understanding and tenacious. Running a restaurant is always about balancing. It’s about what’s happening in your neighborhood or in the market or with your staff, your purveyors or your customers. At the same time, understand you have to make changes, but also maintain your standards and values.

Conserve RSS Healthcare RSS Conserve RSS

▲ Back to Top

New report

Spot Ad right

We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2017 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156