We had the good fortune of connecting with Kerry Pauly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kerry, what do you attribute your success to?
Our secret to the restaurant business is simple… “sell good food and be nice to people”. It seems simple, but we get a lot further in this process. Selling good food means having the courage to tell guests when we are not serving items due to shortages in the industry, calls on quality and really making all items from scratch. We fight the battle every day on pushing our team to not take short cuts that are “industry standards”. It a battle that our team, we have built, is in line with the vision of serving good food with quality ingredients.
Being nice to people, although seems easy, is not always. This is a thankless business and we must find ways to engage our team to be nice. Not just to our customers, but to our communities as well. Our internal communities (our teams) and our external communities (where we work). This means, finding ways to give back to our teams, such as paying a good wage for good work, turkeys during the holidays, family meals or celebrating occasions that are special. For our external community, such examples are our community night every Wednesday where we pick a different school or charity to donate a percentage of our sales back too or Tuesday where we celebrate how hard it is to raise a family by offering “kids eat free”.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was born in the restaurant business. As a young man, I remember tagging along with my father Fred Pauly, who owned Blue Ribbon Meat Packing, and calling on local restaurants. I worked for such restaurants as Black Eye Pea, Houston’s and Benjys…each different in their own right but learning and growing along the way. I was lucky to learn from both of my parents and strong work ethic and great people skills. Was it easy? Nothing worth doing is easy, but attitude and work ethic make the difference. I tried to alway be kind to people and appreciate their role in this industry. I think this has served me well as I am now surrounded by a great team who truly cares about the guest experience from point a to z.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston is so complex that this is such a difficult question being which way to go and how to really show them our city. One…I think everyone should experience the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and really what it does for our city. I think a fun weekend would be taking them to the show, view exhibitors and watching how small businesses are supported by hundreds of thousands of people during a special time of the year.
Also, one of my favorite areas in China Town. I would drive down Bellaire on the weekend. Start at Tiger Den and get some good ramen, go upstairs (it in this cool center with neon and has a feel of when I was in Bangkok) and get a message and ten for across the street for dessert. I call this the “Man Date”.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to Benjy Levit, who alway gives back, without the wanting or receiving any credit.