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National Restaurant Association - Tisch kicks off inaugural Restaurant Finance Summit

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Tisch kicks off inaugural Restaurant Finance Summit

Loews Hotels Chairman Jonathan Tisch told attendees at the National Restaurant Association’s first Restaurant Finance Summit that partnerships are essential for the restaurant industry to continue to grow and prosper. But his definition of “partnerships” went beyond business transactions.

“Partnerships start with your customers,” Tisch said. “They extend to the neighborhoods we operate in and to the communities we serve. Competitors can be partners. The fact that you’re here at an NRA meeting shows the importance of dealing with issues that relate to the success of the entire industry.”

The Restaurant Finance Summit was held as part of NRA Show 2014.

Tisch covered a range of topics during his May 19 keynote address, from his positive outlook for the hotel, lodging and restaurant industries to his experience working a series of entry-level, labor-intensive jobs on the TLC show “Now Who’s Boss?” Tisch shared a video clip from the program that showed him cleaning rooms, working in the kitchen, answering phones, and working in other positions at the Loews Miami Beach. The experience, Tisch said, made him realize how important it is for owners and executives to maintain a connection with their employees.

“I feel like I’m preaching to the choir, because you in the restaurant business have done this …You understand how important it is to be side-by-side with the people who make our business work on a daily basis. If we’re going to continue to grow in our industry, we need to respect our co-workers so they appreciate what we’re asking of them, and we appreciate what they offer to us.”

Partners within government are also a critical component in the future growth of the restaurant and lodging industry, Tisch said. Advocacy efforts by the hospitality industry have helped secure changes that greatly reduced the wait for travel visas for tourists from China and Brazil, two significant sources of tourism to the United States, he said.

“Given the political climate in Washington, even smart investments are hard to achieve,” Tisch said. “But working together, we can support policies that aren’t just good for our industry, but good for our economy, our national competitiveness, and the ability to put Americans to work.”

Tisch shared a few pieces of advice, what he calls “Tisch’s Tips,” that he has picked up over a lifetime in the hotel and lodging industry:

  • Make sure you listen. “Everyone has something to say, but take an interest in the other person. You can learn from them.”
  • Follow up on promises made. “The hotel and restaurant industries have grown because we deliver on our promises,” Tisch said.
  • Work to strengthen your industry. “As members of the National Restaurant Association, you have an opportunity to raise the level of understanding of what we do. We can gain new respect for our accomplishments, and we can convince leaders in Washington to adopt policies that benefit us all.”


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