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Jennifer Allen of Levy Restaurants on a Commitment to Company Culture Interview with Levy Restaurants VP of Restaurants Operations Jennifer Allen about running successful businesses, being a "restaurant girl", and her company's strong values.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Takeaways from this episode:

A Family CultureLevy Restaurants leads with a family culture. Jennifer Allen attributes a piece of Levy's success to the employees genuinely enjoying each other's company.

Meeting Specific Market Needs — The best food from the best chefs is the basis for what Jennifer Allen says sets Levy Restaurants apart from the competition. However, favorites vary from region to region, and Levy adjusts to meet those needs by using data.

Remember... It's Fun — Jennifer Allen knows the pressures that come with planning large events. With those pressures, Allen says it is important for companies to remember they are in the business of providing and having fun.


It takes great people to run great companies. Levy Restaurants became great by priding itself on a commitment to culture.

Jennifer Allen is Vice President of Restaurant Operations at Levy Restaurants and a self-proclaimed "restaurant girl" who takes pride in the family-focused environment at Levy.

One of the first things Jennifer noticed about the company was how many strong females there were in important, decision-making roles.

"I think one of the things that was really interesting to me about Levy in the time that I joined was that there were a significant amount of female leaders in this company that was mostly sports and entertainment venues," says Jennifer Allen on the Restaurant Influencers podcast hosted by Shawn Walchef of CaliBBQ Media.

That realization was an early indicator of the family atmosphere and growth potential at Levy Restaurants.

Levy Restaurants operates nearly 200 sports and entertainment venues all over the United States and Canada. From striving to hire (and retain) the best people and make the best food, the Chicago-based company has been able to grow significantly since its founding in 1978.

Jennifer Allen is responsible for Levy's Chicago, Orlando, Saint Paul, Milwaukee restaurant properties, as well as American Girl's flagship Chicago and New York stores. Her expansive influence and rapid growth in the company embodies the core culture that has been created within Levy.

Levy Restaurants Values:

  1. Be Nice
  2. Be Passionate
  3. Be Innovative
  4. Be Inclusive

Boasting both sports entertainment and restaurant venues in a multitude of locations, Levy Restaurants makes it a point to not only serve, but ensure they are serving the best food they can by following the data. Instead of trying to follow the latest trends, Levy Restaurants sets themselves apart by using research and demographics to provide a unique customer experience at their locations.

With all of the moving parts that go into the sports and entertainment restaurant industries, Jennifer Allen is able to power through each day due to one idea that she says is important to keep at the top of mind:

"Really be excited about it… Remember, we're here because it's fun."


NOMINATE A RESTAURANT INFLUENCER — Do you know someone who is killing it on social media? Let us know by emailing influencers@calibbq.media or sending the @calibbqmedia team a DM on social media.


Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Popmenu is also a sponsor of the Restaurant Influencers podcast. We wanted to share with our audience this powerful opportunity to help your restaurant reclaim the power of your phone now. Learn more about Popmenu Answering.

Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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