Enthusiasm! If you love your job it will show — people comment all the time to me that my energy is contagious, people can feel the love we have for the restaurant. I am grateful for that every day.
As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jenny Oz LeRoy.
CEO. Equestrian. Event Planner. Entrepreneur. Visionary. There are many titles for Jennifer Oz LeRoy, but mere dreamer isn’t one of them. Instead, she’s living the dream with eyes wide open. Jennifer is the founder of the Wellington,FL hot spot Maxwell’s Plum. Yes, the iconic 60’s NYC restaurant has been reimagined under her reign with a fresh take and high-powered A-List patrons like Bruce Springsteen, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Georgina Chapman. LeRoy is also known for her wondrous catering and event planning with a client list that includes a who’s who of celebrities and elite global brands.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Glamour and storytelling are literally in my blood. My great-grandfather was Warner Brothers’ Harry Warner, and my grandfather was the acclaimed Hollywood producer and director Mervyn LeRoy of “Wizard of Oz” fame. My father, Warner LeRoy, owned Tavern on the Green and the legendary Manhattan nightspot Maxwell’s Plum, as well as the Great Adventure Theme Parks. I grew up working at my family’s restaurant Tavern on the Green and Russian Tea Room. When I was 22 I became CEO of both Tavern on the Green and the Russian Tea Room and everything took off from there.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? There have been so many incredible moments throughout my career. Creating unforgettable experiences is at the heart of my craft. Throwing Usher’s 21st birthday party was definitely a memorable moment! He was at the height of his career, a heart throb and global superstar. I pulled out all the stops, 21 is such a big milestone. We did it right.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Once I dropped an entire tray of martinis at the VMA after party at the Russian Tea Room! I was 19 and dropping a tray full of glassware is a major faux pas. But I learned spills happen and it’s about handling unexpected things with grace and urgency that matters- which is obviously an analogy for life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Without a doubt my mother Kay LeRoy. She raised me to understand treating your team members with respect is the most important thing — you are only as strong as your team. They are my family!
Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about your contribution to the hospitality industry?
For me hospitality is all about creating amazing experiences for our guests. Unforgettable moments. Bringing someone’s specific vision to life Personal touches that turn a dinner or party into a core memory. Bringing their wildest imagination to life in the form of an unforgettable event.
Which “pain point” are you trying to address and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?
As my family laid the groundwork, our family’s restaurants are a bit of a spectacle for all the senses. This can be a ‘pain point’ for some in the industry, but we never do anything halfway and we always take care of our people! Creating an elevated experience while constantly evolving is how we are challenging the status quo.
As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?
Because our company does so many events, we have learned to pivot with the times while still creating a safe and comfortable environment for all. Our job is to make people feel comfortable while entertaining their senses and we will continue to do that no matter how the world changes!
You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?
Ever since I helped recreate Gurney’s in Montauk I have loved the beach and the sound of the ocean. I have so little downtime that all I need to escape is a beautiful beach and delicious food. I always say whenever someone is bringing ME food and drinks I am happy!
Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience for yourself, for your guests? We’d love to hear about it.
Absolutely, wellness is more important than ever. Personally, because I work most weekends while friends and family are together, I make it a point to stay connected with friends. It is easy to drift away from that in the hospitality world! It makes me appreciate our guests’ experience so much more. I’m grateful they choose to spend their precious family and friends time with us and we make sure it’s special. We want them to feel refreshed and invigorated when they leave our space.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Be Attentive. It’s the little things, watch their cues. Make sure you’re anticipating their needs.
- Excellent service. It’s all about going above and beyond for a client, remembering where they sat, what their favorite wine was, etc.
- Attention to detail. For example, you should sit in every seat to see what the client will see, to experience it from their eyes.
- Attentiveness. Making the client feel like they are the only client!
- Enthusiasm! If you love your job it will show — people comment all the time to me that my energy is contagious, people can feel the love we have for the restaurant. I am grateful for that every day.
Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I offer my event planning skills and catering to several charities a year and it feels great to give back.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think it would certainly be food related — what we put in our bodies is SO important!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!