Hi everybody –
So many of you told me you enjoyed Todd’s introduction last month, I thought I’d hand over the keyboard to my brother, Stephen Zilli, Director of Operations and Partner. Stephen started working in this business in the first grade washing dishes for $.05/hour and has been recognized nationally at trade shows and conferences for his expertise in many behind-the-scenes elements of our business, from sanitation to cost savings. I know you’ll enjoy his perspective.
I grew up working in this business, so much that I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I am very passionate about what we do and I truly enjoy it: I like making people happy and sincerely want to please clients.
I am very proud to be part of this company. What makes us successful is we have talented family involved throughout, and we all help each other ensure things are done well. We all take it personally. We are all very connected and involved with the work, and we care about the clients. We laugh together and when things go wrong we don’t take it lightly.
This business is a complex one with a lot of moving parts, but we have a lot of checks and balances in place. If I miss something, my mother, brothers, nieces and nephews will pick up on it. As a group we are completely hands-on both operationally and at a corporate level.
It can be challenging and rewarding to work with our family. We have such personal high standards, people who don’t measure up are quickly transitioned out of the organization. Others who flourish in our culture succeed and many have been with us for multiple decades.
Our different personalities balance each other in the workplace. My brother, Robert Zilli, and my mother are great liaisons with the community, having spent many years interacting with our restaurant clients. They naturally listen to the customer well and really care. Jim focuses more on the big picture – focusing his time on elements such as business development, developing our brand, and fostering solid business partnerships. We both work on developing and find-tuning our corporate culture. Personally, I love training and orientation and enjoy teaching our culture to new employees. Part of delivering “The Zilli Touch” is ensuring that clients get a higher level of service whether it’s on the phone or in person. During orientations, I tell our associates how important our clients are. We work very hard to take care of all of you every day. You are why we’re here – so thank you for your loyalty!
I also work hard to ensure we have impeccable sanitation and overall best practices. Our track record in that regard speaks for itself.
I also focus on event execution, and what’s going on in the back of the house. It’s a bit of “Hell’s kitchen” sometimes with the action, but we call it organized chaos. When I work plate-up lines, I tell the staff “no talking during plate-up.” You might remember the I Love Lucy episode when Lucy worked at the candy factory and she couldn’t keep up with the speed of the line and the chocolates started backing up all over the place. My rule is intended to prevent us from being distracted and having the same thing happen!
We spend non-work time with each other too. We love and care for one another and going to the many family birthday and graduation parties is extremely important. We take vacations together. The net result works. That’s why I think we’re great at what we do.