Our New Managing Partner!
Lisa started here at the Roadhouse in 2004 as a server, worked her way up to Restaurant Manager in 2013, and now, as of August 18th, is our Managing Partner! She has a passion for providing excellent service (she’s played an integral role in creating our service culture) and a focus on helping her team be the best they can be every day. Lisa answered a few questions to help us all get to know her a little better:
What recent work here are you most proud of?
It might sound cliché, and I’m certainly not the only one to feel this way, but the pandemic was the most challenging thing I’ve ever dealt with. We had so many ups and downs: having to furlough 80% of our staff, shifting to pick-up only and completely revamping our to-go food area, manipulating our floor plans, and then building back up our capacity and staffing. I worked side-by-side with our crew to help strategize, implement, and train staff on all of our changes. While it was extremely challenging at times, I enjoyed training and supporting our team to help them provide top-notch service to each other and our guests. I’m proud that we made it through and are in a good place—and I’m hoping to help get us to an even better place!
What does good service mean to you?
Getting it right the first time, with any aspect of service. Consistency is one of the hardest things to achieve and I have spent much of my professional career teaching and training others on how to provide an accurate, friendly, and memorable experience every time someone steps foot inside the Roadhouse.
Why did you want to become a partner in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB)?
I have had an interest in becoming a partner for the last 6 or 7 years after gaining experience as a manager; I wanted to move toward ownership and financial investment in the restaurant and the ZCoB. I love what I am afforded to do every day in the ZCoB and I am grateful to work in an organization that values people and that strives to help improve staff not just while at work, but in their daily lives (outside of work) as well.
What’s been impactful about the Path to Partnership process?
Being reminded that even though you are leading your own business, you are also a representative of the entire organization. As a partner, I’m not just advocating for myself and the Roadhouse—all of the different ZCoB businesses are working together as a whole.
What is your first order of business as managing partner?
Continue what I’m doing right now and work on getting us fully staffed. The hospitality industry is known for having high turnover, luckily, we have lower than most, but staffing is still a definite challenge right now. (Interested in joining our team? Apply now!)
What are you most passionate about in our Roadhouse Vision?
All of it, honestly. I am excited to carry all of our successes into the future and to pick up meaningful improvements along the way. I’m honored to be able to lead in all different areas to get us to greatness. I am excited to do this with our team and make sure we continue to treat our employees well. I am excited to make and keep the Roadhouse a great place to dine and work while achieving financial viability and beyond for many years to come. I am dedicated and passionate about getting us there.
Tell us about the No Drama or Calm is Contagious work here at the Roadhouse.
The Calm is Contagious work started several years ago as somewhat of a joke. Restaurants can sometimes get a bad rap for being dramatic environments, so Ari asked if we should write a Bottom Line Change (BLC) on reducing drama in the restaurant. I laughed it off, not realizing that it would be an integral part of our culture years later.
Ari wrote that BLC and we incorporated the concepts into our Welcome to the Roadhouse class. We include things we ask staff to do (and not to do) and offer tools and resources for things like managing energy and staying grounded, all to help manage stress and conflict inside the restaurant. My experience with teaching the No Drama work and holding staff accountable is an important part of what makes our culture alluring, fun, and successful.
What are your current favorite items on the menu?
So many! Huevos Rancheros, the new Rice Bowl is phenomenal, the scallops, Smothered Grits, all of the heirloom tomato specials, the shrimp we get from North Carolina are out of this world, so I add shrimp to a lot of things, and I also tend to make a lot of stuff on the fly in the Roadshow!
What’s one of your favorite Roadhouse memories?
One of my favorite memories at the Roadhouse was moving from being a server to a front-of-house assistant manager. This was such a defining moment for me in gaining confidence and starting my leadership role at the Roadhouse.
I have lived in Ann Arbor all of my life and don’t plan on leaving! I love living in a diverse and educated town with so much to offer. I love having so many cuisines and tasty food options at my fingertips.
I love all that the many city and local parks have to offer being a runner and one who loves the outdoors!
I was actually a vegetarian when I started serving at the Roadhouse! That didn’t last long though, I felt really good about our sourcing—we work with smaller farms that utilize responsible and sustainable practices—and started eating meat again.