Marc Glosserman, CEO & Founder of Hill Country Hospitality, stopped by ICE this week to speak with students as part of our Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs series. The series is a chance for ICE’s Culinary Management students to learn about operating a culinary business from the people behind incredibly successful businesses.

Glosserman lived in Texas at a young age and though he later moved just outside of DC, he made many trips back to the south to visit the meat markets. His favorite was Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX and he was always nostalgic for their food and family atmosphere. Hill Country was born out of his lifelong passion for BBQ, family, belt buckles and cowboy boots.

Glosserman shared four important tools for opening a restaurant:

Give your business a hook.
Glosserman always remembers the meat knowledge at Morton’s when ordering a steak, the unique pizza offerings at California Pizza Kitchen and the legendary spinach and artichoke dip at Houston’s (now Hillstone). Offer something unique and memorable that sets you apart from your competitors.

Focus on the experience you are giving guests.
Glosserman forgets the specific of some meals but will remember the experience if it was a good one. Everything matters when it comes to hosting guests. Whether it is a polite greeter, an inviting atmosphere or small hints that tie back to your brand such as Blue Bell ice cream on the dessert menu — it all counts.

Build a great team.
The night Hill Country opened Glosserman left the restaurant at 4:30 p.m. to welcome his first child two weeks early. Luckily, his Hill Country family had it all under control and the opening went off without a hitch and without him. He spent time before launch ensuring his team was smarter and better at the things he wasn’t great at to create good balance. We know he got it right with Executive Chef Elizabeth Karmel, former Chef Instructor at ICE!

Do something you are passionate about.
Some of the best advice he was given when figuring out his path as an entrepreneur was “if it makes money, they will love it. If you love it, it will make money.”

The students in the audience asked lots of questions so they could soak up as much as possible from Glosserman. By sharing his first-hand experience he was able to help these ICE students on their own path towards owning and operating a business one day.

For info on the next Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs lectures, including the Mast brothers, David Burke and Mindy Segal, check out our culinary career development class listings.

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