Embrace a mindset of constant learning. Being curious, open-minded, and respectful can open reveal new opportunities. This focus on continued learning helped me to bring our brands virtual and create ghost kitchens. It took a lot of learning to make this happen and it has been incredibly impactful.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Moreno.
Ryan Moreno is the CEO and Co-Founder of Joseph Richard Group, a Canadian-based collection of unique hospitality ventures featuring more than 25 establishments. Ryan has taken his business one step further by bringing his hospitality group virtual, establishing a series of virtual ghost kitchens. Now boasting more than 100 ghost kitchen restaurants, Ryan continues to overcome challenges and remain a leader in his industry.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
My story starts back in elementary school, where I met my best friend and business partner; André Bourque. Starting as bartenders in our late teens, we both grew up in the culture of restaurants, hospitality, and nightclubs. In 2009, we opened our first restaurant together and have been growing ever since. More than 10 years later, we run a collection of bars & restaurants, a catering company, an estate winery, a boutique hotel, and proprietary beer and wine labels. Most recently we have been working on taking our restaurants virtual with a new ghost-kitchen, virtual food court known as Canteen. Every year brings a new challenge and opportunity for our business, but every year we come out stronger!
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
While I don’t regret the experience of opening my first restaurant in my early 20’s, I certainly would not wish it on my worst enemy. Those were some of the most challenging days of my career, but I’m grateful for the lessons it taught me in business and the value and importance it showed me of every single person that makes up an organization.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The Joseph Richard Group restaurants and ventures stand out because they bring something unique to the current market. We go beyond the quality of service and have aimed to meet our customers where they’re most comfortable — their homes! Launching the Meal Ticket concept allowed us to implement 100 new virtual restaurants in a single day, something that had never been done before. Meal Ticket Branding ensures JRG can continuously curate menu items, and stay on top of the ever-changing trends within the industry, keeping customers happy and their menu diverse. In addition to these restaurants, we also launched two mobile apps, JRG Rewards and LIQR. By always staying ahead of the curve, JRG sets itself apart and becomes available for new opportunities. By consistently reinventing ourselves, we are able to serve our customers a new level of service.
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?
My parents, without question. As a kid who was always pushing the envelope in more ways than one, my parents were always in my corner and supported the many ambitions that I had. While we never went without, we certainly didn’t come from a background of business or wealth. As the oldest of 5 kids, I got to see first-hand what resiliency looked like and how they always put family above all, doing whatever they needed to do to provide. At around 10 years old, like most kids, I knew I wanted a BMX bike. I also knew we probably couldn’t afford one, but I wanted one, nonetheless. At the same time, I remember seeing my mom and dad leaving early in the morning, starting to deliver newspapers. I was too young to understand what they were doing but old enough to realize that it wasn’t the best thing in the world, leaving the house in the early, dark hours of the morning in the dark, cold, BC weather. Later that year, for either my birthday or Christmas, I came downstairs and saw a Diamondback BMX bike. It was at that moment that I realized why they had started to deliver those early morning papers. And while I was overly excited, I equally felt guilty at the notion that they had to wake up early on so many mornings just to get me that bike. They were of course over the moon to give me the bike, but it has since become my first introduction and earliest memory of resilience.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
I define resilience as courage, self-confidence and leadership. I believe these are the traits you find in resilient people. However, resilience and leadership do not always go together. True leadership also involves listening to your team and learning from them while being decisive and firm in your vision.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage is similar to resilience in that a resilient person must possess the ability to put fear aside and push through challenging times. They are different because a courageous person, while strong and confident in their beliefs, can lack the passion and endurance to push forward with the same dedication.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
In addition to my parents and family, many of the leaders within the JRG team come to mind. Through one of the most challenging times for our industry, they have continuously amazed me. With their passion to keep moving forward and their commitment to the craft, I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to work with such a resilient team.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
This question brings two things to mind. The first is that we were told never to mix family and friends when it comes to business. And while that may be true in some situations, the remarkable family and friends that we do have throughout the organization, truly make the company what it is today. I’m convinced we would not have been able to achieve everything we have without these people at our side. The second piece of advice we refused was that we should only support a single cause, rather than multiple charities or community groups. This was never something that we were comfortable doing. Despite this advice, we have made it our goal to help others in any way and as many of the valuable community groups, charities, schools and initiatives as possible. This has yielded some of the most valuable community partnerships and inspirational relationships that have shaped the company.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Cultivating resilience is something that every person, entrepreneur, and business leader should learn and refine daily. If you embrace a mindset of constant learning, as you grow in knowledge for what you do, passion for what you love and leadership from shared experiences and feedback from your team, the confidence and courage towards resilience should manifest.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Embrace a mindset of constant learning. Being curious, open-minded, and respectful can open reveal new opportunities. This focus on continued learning helped me to bring our brands virtual and create ghost kitchens. It took a lot of learning to make this happen and it has been incredibly impactful.
2. Practice thought leadership through feedback, open communication and trust. Having this communication with my team has improved my skills as a leader and helped me to improve both myself and the business.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals, friends, family, whoever shares your passions. My inner circle very much resembles myself. Having other motivated passionate people is important in encouraging growth.
4. Seek out your passions and set clear goals, but allow yourself the ability to be fluid. Being rigid in our ways can only inhibit our potential. While JRG is a product of my passion, the company has been largely adaptable to changing environments. This has allowed us to survive the largest of challenges.
5. Enjoy every moment — savour the journey. Time really does fly and we often forget to savour the sweet moments while we are experiencing them. take the time to enjoy the process.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂
A recent movement that is near and dear to my heart would be the One Night Out movement. One night out started as a way to support vulnerable youth in our communities and bring awareness to the growing issue. Now in our 5th year of this fundraiser, we’re proud to have six charitable partners and raise more money than ever before. One Night Out asks people to sleep outside for 24 hours to raise awareness as to what homeless youths experience daily. I was deeply impacted by this experience, which is why it has become something we annually practice. In 2018 it was announced that more than 700 young people were sleeping on the streets. It is my vision to have the same amount of people sleep out for a night, coming together to raise money and help these young people.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I was fortunate enough to recently meet Canadian business owners, Andrew Westlund and Ron Madsen. These leaders have built remarkable companies, as well as managed to incorporate families and friends involved in the business. This union of business and personal is something that has always meant a lot to me. Bigger picture for Jeff Bezos, it’s easy to be impressed with the success and magnitude of Amazon, but I’m equally impressed with some of the culture and philosophies that he built within his company. The resilience that he has shown in creating a business that is essentially involved in almost everything.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!