Introducing “Crushing It” – a series of conversations with leaders that Platinum Rule Advisors admires for their ability to treat people the way they need to be treated. We hope you find these stories as inspiring as we do!
Our inaugural “Crushing It” features Victoria Rothberg, co-owner of Nashville restaurant answer. A graduate of NYU Stern Business School, Victoria earned her restaurant management chops rising through the ranks of the Be Our Guest and Hillstone restaurant groups. Along the way, she encountered terrible bosses and wonderful ones, including, in the “wonderful” category the CFO of Be Our Guest. Most importantly, she met her now “work husband” and answer co-owner Chris Raucci, with whom she opened five Ted’s Montana Grill restaurants while at Hillstone.
Raucci and Rorthberg decided in 2015 to realize their dream of creating a neighborhood restaurant. They visited many cities, and chose Nashville for its unique energy and feel. Answer’s doors opened in 2017 and Rothberg’s passion for people and Raucci’s creative culinary skills came to life.
1. Why did you open answer?
I liked the idea of opening a neighborhood restaurant and being a big fish in a small pond. A menu featuring approachable yet unique food was important.
2. I notice that the same staff is always here – you seem to have very low turnover, which is known to be one of the biggest issues restaurants face. How do you do it?
Many reasons – first, people are excited to work for a new restaurant. We actually found our first servers through a Craigslist ad! Once we hire them, we keep them because they love and believe in the food. They also love their work environment. We attract great guests who form relationships with our staff. And very importantly, the staff members love each other. We often stay after hours on a busy night simply to enjoy one other’s company.
3. What are some of your core principles in hiring?
My goal is to have a positive team with minimal drama, so work ethic and fit are key. I seek hard-working people who mesh with our tight-knit family atmosphere. And I always ask what restaurants they frequent as an indicator of their standards for quality service.
4. What are some of your core principles in managing?
Different people need different management styles. You cannot treat everyone the same way and expect the same results- you have to treat people differently, but equally.
Victoria’s philosophy exemplifies the Platinum Rule – treating her team as they need to be treated – and the results speak for themselves. Thank you for taking time to speak with us, Victoria!