Quote Unquote: Jennifer Bartolotta


Jennifer Bartolotta, director of Bartolotta Restaurant Group’s philanthropic arm Care-a-lotta, was the keynote speaker at MMAC’s Future 50 Awards luncheon. She discussed the leadership philosophies of her late husband and Bartolotta Restaurants’ co-founder Joe Bartolotta and how they have driven the company’s success.

“Originally, I was one of those doubters and naysayers who questioned Joe’s upside-down pyramid, with his people at the top and his money at the bottom. I quickly began to see that Joe’s way was the right way.”

“The way we see it, no one comes out of the womb knowing how to julienne carrots, open a bottle of wine or set a table. Those are all learned skills. We can teach you those things. But we can’t teach you how to inherently, reflexively and without thinking care about humanity.”

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“Restaurants are dangerous environments. We have plenty of sharp knives, fire, boiling water, heavy pots and pans, 50-pound boxes of produce, the possibility that food-borne illness enters our back door, the possibility of cross-contamination if we’re not careful and the possibility that, due to an allergy that you may have, we could literally kill you. All things we take very seriously and the management of all of this begins with how we select and treat our employees.”

“(Joe’s) five tenets of operation in order: our employees, our guests, our partners and mentors, our community and, last, the bottom line. These were the rules, and the priority of them drove every single decision he made.” 

“Joe knew with every fabric of his being that if you always do the right things – no matter how hard, how long and how expensive – that if you treat your employees, your guests, your partners, your vendors and your community with kindness, love, and respect, enough money would come. And for the entrepreneurs in the room, the operative word is ‘enough.’”

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