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Q&A: The Makings of a Restaurateur

Q&A: The Makings of a Restaurateur

"The most rewarding thing is turning an upset guest into a regular guest."

George Majdalani | Chef's Blade

This is the first in a weekly series of Q&A’s with George Majdalani.

Chef’s Blade: How long have you been in the restaurant industry and what brought you to it?

George Majdalani: I started working 1986 as a Room Service server at The Crescent Court Hotel (Dallas, Tex.). I was in college and looking for a part time job.

CB: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What are your favorite dishes, wines, cuisines?

GM: I am from Beirut, Lebanon. I came to the USA IN 1981. I enjoy a variety of cuisines that emphasizes the authenticity of the dishes. I enjoy all varietals of red wines, single malt scotches. Lebanese and Indian cuisines are my favorites and my neighbors will testify about my pulling out the grill out late at night to cook some steaks.

CB: You manage Stephan Pyles restaurant, a 5-star establishment in Dallas. What’s the real difference between a 5-star restaurant and one with 3 or 4? What sets you apart?

GM: The difference is $20 more per person… Just kidding! A 5-star rated restaurant is one that provides an excellent food quality with a flawless service and an experience beyond the guest expectations. A 4-star is providing a very good overall experience.

CB: What’s your regular schedule like? Daily? Weekly? When do you relax and how do you achieve work-life balance?

GM: My day starts at about 9 a.m. by going to the gym for about an hour. I am in the restaurant at about 11 a.m. I make sure to say hello to every employee working and I meet with all of my management team to go over their responsibilities for the day and the week. I also spend a lot of my time [during serving hours] in the restaurant to make sure that we are executing at all levels. My day usually ends at about 10 p.m. and I enjoy having dinner with my wife then. We like to eat late.

CB: What is the worst part of your job? The best? The most rewarding? The most challenging?

GM: The worst part of my job is firing a staff member. The best is when we promote from within the ranks an hourly employee to the management team. The most rewarding thing is turning an upset guest into a regular guest. The most challenging is keeping the guest perception and the restaurant financial both positive.

CB: Have you ever considered a different career?

GM: I considered advancing my education to becoming a CPA but the thought only lasted one overnight ’til I woke up the next day and went to work.

CB: If you had to give one piece of advice to an up-and-coming or aspiring restaurant manager what would it be?

GM: Make sure that every day you learned something you did not know when your day started.

CB: What’s the worst job advice you’ve ever received? The best?

GM: The worst: Leave the restaurant business. The best: Have fun at everything you do.

Questions for George? E-mail them to