Traditions Family Restaurant is a hotspot in the Oshawa region, where many locals come to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials. Valuing customer satisfaction, the individuals at Traditions Family Restaurant work hard to provide top-quality service. Thrive Global recently sat down with the current manager, who has over fifteen years of experience in the hospitality industry. In addition to managing a staff of over thirty people, she also assists with supply logistics, payroll/ accounting, and menu development.

Why did you decide to work at Traditions?

Traditions is a family-owned business with true community values. We care about our employees, our customers and the greater good.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

I enjoy seeing our regular customers. You start to form friendships and it will often brighten my day to chat with some of our regulars

What does a typical day consist of for you? In the restaurant industry, every day is different.

A typical day would involve planning ahead to ensure we have all the supplies/produce we need for our daily specials and homemade baking. This is in addition to scheduling staff and arranging shifts.  

What keeps you motivated?

I have always been a “people person” and I stay motivated by working as a team and sharing in our successes.

How do you motivate others?

All of our staff our treated like family and we aim to ensure they are happy with their work and feel empowered in their various roles. 

How has your company grown from its early days to now?

We have been in business for over thirty years now and the restaurant continues to evolve. With the Ontario Tech University opening up down the street and significant housing developments in North Oshawa, we have seen our business expand and grow.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I enjoy listening to podcasts of other Restauranteurs and family-run businesses.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

The family who own and run the restaurant have values which align with my own and they continue to inspire me as they support my leadership development.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

Being proactive is key – With two children I have learned the skilling of planning. If you plan ahead and use your time wisely, you can better manage both work and personal life.  

What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?

 Leading by example and having an “open door policy” are important when managing a small business

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

Do not give up! It takes a lot of energy and time at the beginning to start your own restaurant. However, hard work and dedication eventually pay off.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

Like many other restaurants in Oshawa, we were forced to shut-down for several months in 2020. We were uncertain about how to handle the employment of our staff while keeping everyone safe.  

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

Prioritize and listen to your customers. In our industry, it is important to ensure you are giving each and every customer what they want and expect. 

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Managing a restaurant through COVID has been my biggest accomplishment. We had to evolve quickly and innovate our establishment and offerings. For a period of time, we had to convert to “take-out only” and then we had to rearrange our dining room to be socially-distant compliant.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?

For those in the restaurant industry, it is important to provide good service every time to every customer. We always need to remember this is our priority.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

The importance of building a team with people who share similar values and goals as you. At Traditions, most of our staff are long-term employees who have been working here for over five years and we share a similar vision for the restaurant.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

 I enjoy volunteering within my community and I have taught my children to do the same.

What trends in your industry excite you?

Food delivery – There are more and more apps and websites supporting businesses with take-out options.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

Being the #1 destination for a family dinner in North Oshawa!   

Explain the proudest day of your professional life.

 When we re-opened after the first lockdown in the Durham Region. It took a significant amount of time and effort to re-do our take-out area and ensure proper social distancing. It was a great feeling when we re-opened.