Bubbler Executive of the Week

Edward Carrella, Corporate Director of Restaurants, Marcus Hotels and Resorts
Company address: 100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202
Website: www.marcushotels.com
Industry: Hospitality
Number of employees: 5,000
Family: Wife (Megan), Son (Luciano), Daughter (Sophia)

What drew you to the restaurant industry?
“I literally grew up in the business. The year I was born was the year my family opened our first pizzeria on the south side of Chicago. I developed my passion for food and the restaurant business from my mother and father. They loved to cook and take care of people. In our family, how you expressed your love was by cooking and taking care of guests.”

What will be your priorities as you settle into your role as corporate director of restaurants for Marcus Hotels & Resorts?
“The biggest priorities will be standardizing brands and working with all the restaurants to increase revenue and drive profits.”

What challenges will Marcus Hotels & Resorts and its restaurants face throughout the year?
“Keeping up with the pace of the industry is always a challenge. It seems that whenever you turn a corner, someone is opening a new restaurant or trying something different that sets them apart. The restaurant industry itself is so dynamic and tough that you always need to stay one step ahead.”

How do you think Milwaukee’s restaurant market differs from that of other cities?
“It’s a smaller market but a powerful one. I think because of the smaller market you can build loyalty very quickly. In bigger markets, it’s hard to build that because there is so much to choose from. It can hurt you as well being in a small market because if you are not a good restaurant, your guests will let you know.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“Real food for real people.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“I have always looked up to great restaurateurs like Rich Melman, David Overton and Danny Meyer. They are the best in the business and know how to run a successful business.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“Don’t be afraid to take risks and challenge yourself. You will never move a business forward if you don’t take risks.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“When I was working for a restaurant in Chicago, there was a time I had to go help the bartender behind the bar. There were a bunch of people sitting at the bar, and they started ordering shots. So I started mixing the drinks, and I thought it would be cool if I tried doing some flair with the bottles and mixing tin. And oh, by the way, I did not know how to flair. Well needless to say, I starting spinning the mixing tin and all the alcohol shot out the container and all over me. The whole bar starting laughing and one guy shouted, ‘Looks like the drinks are on you!’”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“Spend time with my family, watch sports and play golf.”

What makes a restaurant a good one? What’s your favorite restaurant?
“I think that restaurants that focus on consistent practices in food and service are the most successful. The biggest struggle that restaurants face is guests who receive great service or food one visit and not so great the next time. My favorite restaurants are the ones that are consistent in their execution. A few that come to mind are Francesca’s Restaurant Group out of Chicago and family- owned restaurants that when dine there you feel like family.”

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