Our firm is designed to be a trusted advisor on enhancing destinational magnetism and organizational excellence. And, while we are the ones being asked for advice, I often come away from assignments with informational nuggets that inspire me to think differently about the world around me.
With no disrespect to hoteliers, I often find the most holistic thought comes from the restaurateurs with whom I have the opportunity to interview. Maybe it's because they are married to the community while many hotel GMs are constantly moving. Maybe it's because they often have more direct contact with with consumer. Maybe it's because they don't have a flag to rest upon.
Whatever the reason, when a restauranteur speaks, I listen.
I always listen to Michael Klauber of Sarasota's Michael's on East, who opened my eyes a few years to a concept that I have shared with clients ever since...and as recently as last week in Overland Park. People often confuse the pursuit of the Creative Class with the pursuit of Millennials. Michael winked when he shared that there are a lot of people in the Creative Class in their 40s and 50s...and they have the means to invest in our communities, where Millennials often do not.
This post was inspired by another restauranteur, the founder of The Toasted Frog restaurants in Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck. Jonathan Holth was recently invited to speak to the Downtown Crookston Development Task Force and penned a great follow-up op-ed piece for that city's newspaper.
Let's consider that for a moment; the DCDTF asked an independent restaurateur to help them envision their future. Not an accomplished city planner. Not a Mayor of an aspirational community. A guy who runs a restaurant.
His advice is as bang on as it gets. And, as real.
Because he lives it every day.
Listen to your restauranteurs. They have the heartbeat of the city.