IT TAKES A VILLAGE… (a Super Bowl Village)
As a restaurant owner, I feel like everything we
represent and embody, is mirrored in what our great city showcased
on a worldwide Super Bowl stage… preparation, excellence,
service & hospitality and exceeding expectations. I often
say as a restaurant owner, we are a business made of humans that
are prone to make mistakes (try serving Thanksgiving Dinner to your
friends and family 365 days a year and never burn the
stuffing). But, for 10 days, this city and my restaurant hit
a proverbial grand slam in all areas, and I am more proud to be a
Hoosier today than I ever have been.
I love traveling all over the country and talking to
people. It is always funny to me, after talking with someone
for awhile, when the question of "where are you from" comes
up. In my most Yorktownian twang, I utter, "Indiana."
The person I'm talking to inevitably has an expression that I have
read a thousand times over - the circuits in their brain are
saying, "what the Hell, I thought they all wore overalls and said
'ya'll' in that state." Now, granted, most people from each
coast rarely knows where our state is located (but, to be truthful,
I can never find Rhode Island or New Mexico on a map either),
usually is just "flying over" our state and mostly knows us for a
2.5 mile race track, cornfields and Reggie Miller giving Spike Lee
a "choke sign." I don't really care if that remains to be the
common misperception - because what we just did AS A CITY was
EXCEED EXPECTATIONS and left people saying, "wow, those are nice
people that really know how to throw a party and make a concerted
effort to make other people smile and happy…" that's Indiana
Hoosier Hospitality at its core.
Some of the interviews I had over the week, I was
questioned with, "Is this weather hurting your business?"
My truthful answer was always an astounding, "It is
55 degrees and sunny in early February in Indianapolis. We
have 200,000 visitors from all over the world getting to experience
3 years of hard work and detailed preparation with outside events
and activities. The Super Bowl is 10 days. My business
lease in downtown Indianapolis is for 10 YEARS. So, when you
ask me, 'is this weather hurting my business,' how could I complain
about doing 3 weeks' worth of sales all in 1 week and be greedy
enough to say, 'but, I expected and wanted more.' Couldn't we
all agree that the long term payoff of potential convention,
visitors and future event business will amplify for years to come
in our great city?"
I think this small opinion piece from the
Indianapolis Star said it very well: Click here to read
They often say in sports, the quarterback of a team
usually gets more praise than he deserves when things go well and takes more of the blame
when things go wrong… even though it is a team sport, the
leader accepts these responsibilities. Sometimes I feel that
same way, mostly from the praise side of things. And, I can't
say it enough, that the "game" of restaurant is like the sport of
football… we succeed together as a team, because of each
other, not just because of one person whose name is on a lit up
neon sign on the building.
We planned 10 days of events, activities, 1,000
scheduled employee shifts, tent and outdoor liquor permitting,
marketing and so much more over an 8 month period to prepare for
the Super Bowl week. The important word in that sentence was
"WE." From my Managing Partner, Dave Hornak whom was at the
restaurant for over 100 hours, to my VP of Operations, Tyler
Thompson, whom was integral in working with all facets of
scheduling and planning, almost every person on my Executive Team
from COO to Director of Digital Media to Director of Kitchen
Operations and Catering putting together a $5,000 order for the
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon crew on Super Bowl Sunday…
almost every person in my company had a hand in activities going on
in every city, in every department, in every way.
Thank you to my employees that drove from other
cities and locations to help us.
Thank you Super Bowl Planning Committee and City of
Indianapolis Police Department and officials for taking care of all
the details that often go unnoticed and just expected.
Thank you Pepsi & Budweiser (Zink Distributing)
for your partnerships, support and incredible tickets to the
THANK YOU GUESTS AND THE LOYAL PATRONS OF SCOTTY'S
BREWHOUSE, for none of which the rest of this story
is possible or important without you.
Thank you Today Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,
Esquire Magazine, Indianapolis Star, Fox 59, CBS, NBC, ABC and all
other media sources that shined the light on, not only our city;
but, my restaurant. We have many years to become an
institution like St. Elmo's in this city and I have nothing but
love and respect for Craig Huse - just to start to get recognition
in the same breath as a restaurant like this is humbling. I
told Chef Neal Brown at Libertine during the week of activities,
"sometimes I feel guilty for all our exposure when there are chefs
like you and Greg Hardesty and Black Market and all the others that
are the culinary geniuses in this city making a real educational
and creative impact on our communities."
"It takes a village to raise a child," they
say. I have felt this way from my childhood, through college,
my early days of running my restaurant by myself and, more than
ever, now. It has taken swim coaches, neighborhood parents,
local banks, incredible parents, great friends, co-workers that
believed in this dream and a state that lifts me up and supports
what we do.
I posted this comment on our Facebook page and I must
say it again: You know what I enjoy the most about all the
media attention we received over the past few weeks? Making
all of you and my state proud of me and this company. It
takes a village to raise a small town country boy from Yorktown,
Indiana and 2 fantastic parents...
I think it just took a Super Bowl Village to raise
our entire state and city of Indianapolis to a new level of
greatness and Hoosier Hospitality.
Thank you Indianapolis!