Food Fight's Directors
These women represent more than half the executive team at Food Fight and their combined experience in the service industry totals over 126 years, with almost 60 years of combined time working to make Food Fight be an inclusive workplace right here in Madison. We asked them, considering all those years of experience, for one piece of advice they would pass on to women who are just starting their careers.
Chief Operating Officer
Having relationships with many people in your company is important to your growth within an organization, and as an individual (plus, it makes work fun!) Your ability to move up in your field or within your company will be based on the judgment of others – about whether or not you're ready, whether or not you'll be successful, about whether the team will follow you or not. Your relationships influence these judgment calls, so get to know people and put yourself out there!
Caitlin’s time at Food Fight:
Caitlin began her career with Food Fight in 2001 as a server at the newly opened Johnny Delmonico's. A junior at the University of Wisconsin, Caitlin's "only previous restaurant experience was at the Nitty Gritty serving burgers and beers. I could rattle off 25 beers on tap, but I didn't have a clue about expensive steaks and $200 bottles of cabernet. I loved the Nitty Gritty (and still do-my husband owns it now!), but Delmonico's struck a chord with me: I loved the buzz of working at the fancy new restaurant in town, the service techniques, and the clientele."
At the end of the day, it’s always about people - no matter what industry your in. Whether it’s your customers, your employees, or vendors that you work with, you can’t do it alone. So always invest first in those people and the rest will happen naturally. And make sure you surround yourself with people who you trust to get the job done right and build those relationships. You’ll never be the best at everything but you can always choose the best people to help you.
CC’s time at Food Fight:
When CC joined the Food Fight design team in 2007, she was already a fan of the company's innovative approach to branding. "I loved the look of the marketing materials for all of the restaurants and made it a goal to join the organization I found so inspiring." After holding positions as an intern, designer, and senior designer, she was promoted to Art Director and has since expanded the creative and marketing function to include social media and web development to meet the increasing needs of the business. "In the time that I have been with Food Fight, it has been gratifying to watch it go from a set of nine restaurants that shared the same office, to a family of restaurants that all are working together and pulling for one another to succeed."
Ask and listen and then keep asking, from the start of your career to the end.
Lisa’s time at Food Fight:
Lisa started with Food Fight as a host at Johnny Delmonico's and was later promoted to Front of House Manager. She left to pursue event planning, and after gaining a few years in that field, she returned to take on the event manager position at Steenbock's on Orchard when they opened in 2010.
Believe in yourself and the gifts you offer those around you. There is never only one way to get something done. Allow for other ways that aren’t yours, learn from those who do things differently and trust your own path too. Be a courageous leader every single day.
Elizabeth’s time at Food Fight:
Elizabeth joined Food Fight in 2008 as the Co-General Manager of the Riverview Terrace Café (a seasonal restaurant within the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center in Spring Green, Wisconsin) and moved into her position as Director of Hospitality in early 2014. During her time with Food Fight, she has seen the organization "celebrate its successes, recognize its disappointments, and develop a new generation of leaders. Food Fight cultivates the strengths of its employees and the most notable changes have resulted from that growth from within."
Find a career that you are really passionate about. Have a goal and make that goal known to your boss and your peers. Be honest and transparent as much as you can.
Amanda’s time at Food Fight:
Amanda started working at Food Fight Restaurant Group as the Senior Accountant in July 2014, the same week that Cento opened its doors. Since then, she has been part of the opening of five Food Fight Restaurants. She's proud to watch and play a part in the opening and ongoing efforts of these restaurants as they become a successful and integral part of the Food Fight Restaurant Group. She also values the camaraderie and teamwork within Food Fight. "From the office staff to the restaurants, we are all working together to be successful and succeed. We have a wide variety of talents within Food Fight and I love that are able to utilize and share those talents across our teams.”
Sarita MannigelHuman Resource Director
Do not forget the human element. Make sure to promote emotional connections with your day to day interactions. If you take care of your people, they will take care of your business.
Sarita’s time at Food Fight:
Sarita’s vision for Food Fight is to continue expanding employee benefits, improve employee development and the recruiting process, and set standards for performance management process. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with an outstanding executive team that truly cares about their business, employees, and customers. Also, the impact that we have on the local Madison community is truly an amazing and fulfilling experience.”