Cincinnati is a GREAT restaurant town ... with A+ leaders

"If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one." - Mother Teresa

The restaurant business is marvelous. Thousands of people begin their careers at a young age and learn valuable life lessons. My parents co-owned and operated a small restaurant in Pennsylvania when I was growing up, and I remember their conversations. It was a daily and weekly drumbeat of running the business, hiring and training, updating the menu, managing the P&L and meeting payroll.

So many people enter the business world this way. In fact, 8 in 10 restaurant owners say their first job was in the restaurant industry. That means washing dishes, cleaning the dining room and the parking lot, and peeling potatoes.

The great news is thousands of entry-level workers go on to a career in foodservice and many even become restaurant owners. When they do, they become part of a dynamic industry. They become part of the fabric of their communities by working in restaurants and taking care of others who visit their businesses for a meal, sandwich, taco, pizza, salad, coffee, soft drink, dessert, etc.

As I meet restaurateurs across Ohio, I’m impressed with how much they care about customers and their communities. They know that part of their success offers them the opportunity to give back. So, what does that mean to give back? It can mean offering food and services at community events. It can be fundraising for charities. It can be publicizing good causes. It can be supporting a local team.

Last week I was in Cincinnati with our ORA team as we hosted a Town Hall at Sysco’s offices (thanks to board member Mike Haunert). The purpose of our event was to provide a detailed update about the Department of Labor’s impending Overtime Rule. We are working to schedule similar Thought Leadership events in Northeast Ohio and Central Ohio.

After the Town Hall, we spent some time with Evan Andrews of the Montgomery Inn.


Not only do Evan and his family operate one of the most iconic brands in Ohio, they are doing well with their leadership of the Cincy Favorites web delivery business.

We discussed a wide range of topics with Evan, including how we can continue to promote foodservice in Ohio and protect our industry from government over-reach. But Evan smiled the most when we discussed giving back.

His family, friends and Montgomery Inn supporters give back tremendously in both Cincinnati and Columbus with events that benefit children’s hospitals in each city. Check out their website at

Like I said, this is a marvelous business with superb people. Thanks, Evan and thanks to the Montgomery Inn.