Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

A Loyal Brand Attracts Loyal People

Interview with Fresh & Co. CEO George Tenedios about the importance of mentorship, building a dedicated team, and how hospitality is a labor of love.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Takeaways from this episode:

Promote Within — The best way to build company culture is to promote within. By creating an ecosystem where upward mobility is attainable, every employee at fresh&co is encouraged to take pride in their work. Just the same, leadership can better relate to the rest of the team if they’ve already thrived in the same position. 

Have a Mentor — No one can do it on their own. Having a mentor – within your business or outside of it – provides the perspective and encouragement to overcome obstacles. Experience remains the best teacher, but the second best teacher is learning from the experience of someone close who’s already lived more life. 

Hospitality is a Labor of Love — Running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart. In order to thrive in the hospitality business, you have to love serving others. How much do you have to love serving others? To the point where you could be working 14-hour days. Do it only if you love it and hire people with the same passion.

*** 

Since starting in 2010, George Tenedios has taken Fresh & Co. to all corners of the East Coast.

With 12 locations in New York and spots in the likes of Connecticut and Florida, the lifestyle brand has made a name for itself by providing clean ingredients over a diverse menu that’s approachable to all.

“You can shop with us five or six days a week and have a different meal experience each time,” smiles George Tenedios on the Restaurant Influencers podcast with host Shawn P. Walchef of Cali BBQ Media. “Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, we have a diverse menu and we appeal to the masses.”

While George’s customers had become accustomed to clean ingredients and diverse options, no one was prepared for what March 2020 had coming: a global pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, George and his Fresh & Co. company are still recovering from the labor shortage that’s attacked the hospitality industry hard.

“It's been tough getting our workers and new staff members to show up and return back to work,” admits George. “So, we're back on our regrowth path. We're trying to really move forward.”

While the lingering effects of the pandemic have hurt staffing, George Tenedios has kept his Fresh & Co. business on the ascent by using restaurant technology like Toast POS.

By switching to the Toast point of sale system, Fresh & Co. has been able to quickly capture data and better serve a growing customer base.

“Toast checks all the boxes,” said George Tenedios while talking to fellow Toaster Shawn Walchef. “Being in New York City, speed is the number one priority, especially during a busy lunch rush. But the data part was very important for us. Just being able to extract that data to pass it on to our store managers, unit managers and our team members to grow on and to further improve our operations.”

The Importance of Mentorship: 

New age innovations like Toast keep Fresh & Co. running and excelling.

Conversely, old school advice is also a piece of the puzzle as George’s trusted mentor is actually his father.

“He's still involved,” shares George. “He's my location scout, my lease negotiator, but he's always been my mentor. He's been in the restaurant business for about 45 years now. He's my rock.” 

The family element of Fresh & Co. runs through the entire company.

Even employees that aren’t part of the Tenedios bloodline are treated as such, rewarded for their hard work through amazing access to upward mobility. 

“We're probably one of the more loyal brands in New York City,” George says. “I have team members that are district managers now that have started in our company as dishwashers. I have general managers that have started in the company as cashiers. I believe very much in growing within and spending the time, energy and our resources to train our own staff members. And as long as they want it and they're willing to learn and to grow, then we're willing to take the time and energy to get them there.”

So, after absorbing a pandemic in a New York based restaurant with employees that exist as family, how does George continue to push in 2022 and beyond?

“It's a tough business,” acknowledges George Tenedios. “You’ve really got to love the business. You've got to love what you do. You've got to love serving people. It really comes down to hospitality. If you love hospitality and you love what you do, then by all means go for it. Run with it, you know, take a chance. Roll the dice. But if you're not into working 10, 12, 14 hours a day and rolling up your sleeves, then you know it's not the business for you.”

***

EPISODE LINKS:

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.

SIGN UP & SUBSCRIBE

ABOUT RESTAURANT INFLUENCERS:

Are you SICK and TIRED of scrolling through your social media feeds and not seeing your business anywhere?

Welcome to the Restaurant Influencers podcast series, sponsored by Toast.

Latest

How a Throwaway Joke Became an Award-Winning Ad Campaign

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, Creative Director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners Tristan Graham and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss the birth of a very funny (and impactful) commercial.

How This Amazing Campaign Succeeded in Changing a Brand's Perception and People's Lives at the Same Time

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Group Creative Director Tony Jones gives the heartwarming story of how Operation Santa finally took off.

How this Tech Entrepreneur, Biohacker, and Author is Helping Women with Their Periods

The founder and CEO of Flo Living on the future of biohacking and hormonal healthcare.

Duce Raymond of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ on Using Social Media Like a Boss

Interview with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Catering Culinary Director Duce Raymond about his fresh approach to social media content marketing and huge results with short video for the already world-famous brand.

The Key to Effectively Communicating Important Messages Is All About Simplicity

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, award-winning Group Creative Director Giancarlo Rodas and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss distilling complex ideas down to a simple message.

How to Deliver a Serious Message Through Humor

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Creative Director David Stevanov explains how humor can be a storyteller's most effective tool.

This Successful Shark Tank Entrepreneur Shares His Latest Innovation

The Founder of Ooonimals, Club 44, and the OOO Studio Lab talks about his current projects and what you need to know about the risks and rewards that exist in the NFT space.

Brendan Sweeney of Popmenu on How Ego is the Root of All Evil

Interview with Popmenu CEO Brendan Sweeney about building a positive user experience, the state of restaurant technology, and the importance of providing answers.

Recession-Proof Your Mindset with Neuroscience

With top economists fearing a recession, award-winning author Ben Angel teaches how to recession-proof your mindset with neuroscience to manage stress levels.

How to Find Your "Oxygen Points" to Sustain and Grow Your Business, According to an Investment CEO

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with the CEO of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, Dr. Adil Alzarooni.

How to Get Investment Funding for Your Business

Entrepreneur magazine's Editor-in-Chief Jason Feifer and Narya Partner Falon Donohue have a lively and informative conversation about securing the funding you need to launch your dream.

Keith Koo Explains How Angel Investors Prioritize Startup Funding Decisions

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with the Managing Partner of Guardian Insight Group and Angel Investor, Keith Koo.

Why this Popular Web3 Esports Game Was Designed with a Play-to-Earn Model

The Chief Product Officer of MonkeyLeague discusses his company, why monkeys are all the rage for NFTs and gaming, and his advice for developers.

Want to Get Customers' Attention? Tell Them a Great Story.

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, award-winning creative director Josh DiMarcantonio and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief discuss the power of storytelling.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.