Title: Director of Food & Beverage
Company: Galaxy Theatres, LLC is a fully integrated movie theatre company, formed in 1998, and now boasting 15 locations throughout California, Nevada, Washington, Texas, and Arizona. Galaxy is privately owned, ranked in the top 10 percent of the industry by NATO, and proud to be, “more than just a theatre,” operating with a philosophy of active community service.
As the Director of F&B, my daily routine keeps me involved in all of the expected areas – purchasing, inventory management, negotiations, cost control, menu development, and so on. But, being part of a relatively small and intimate company, my role also allows me to regularly cross over into other departments, often putting me knee-deep in marketing programs, social-media campaigns, new construction design, retail programming, and budget development. There is certainly never a dull moment!
Number of years in the concessions industry?: I joined the theatre industry six years ago, as a General Manager with Galaxy. Prior to that, I had spent 20 years in restaurant/bar and hospitality operations, with a short stint in distribution and sales.
NAC member since?: May, 2019
What does being an NAC member mean to you?: I love the connections I see between the members and getting to be a part of that. At my first event in Scottsdale, I didn’t know a single person, but I recognized immediately how genuinely happy everyone was to be reconnecting with friends and colleagues. And of course, in that spirit, it wasn’t long until other members were taking me under their wings, introducing me to everyone else, and making me feel like I’d found a new group of best friends!
Most interesting or valuable thing that I’ve gained from NAC?: I have been continually amazed and excited by how open everyone has been. This is a group that is truly focused on collaboration, development, and supporting one-another. I can’t think of one time where I have reached out to someone with a question and didn’t immediately have their best effort and support in getting an answer.
Favorite NAC memory?: Just one?? If I have to choose, I would say it was a late night sitting around a table in the President’s Suite in Chicago this year. I was talking with three long-time and very involved members of NAC about how to continue to grow the organization, develop new leaders, and create mentorship opportunities. It was clear how much passion and drive they each had and how dedicated they were to helping others (in the organization or otherwise). It was a very inspiring moment.
What keeps you in the industry?: When I started working in the theatre business, I quickly realized that it had everything I’d ever loved about the hospitality industry – guest service and engagement, getting to be part of people’s special occasions and memories, the opportunity to develop and grow my team. Then I also realized that the one thing I’d come to really dislike about that industry – the lack of personalism – wasn’t something I was seeing in the theatre world. After that, I was hooked.
Biggest change in the industry?: By the time I got into this business, upgraded food and beverage options had already begun to take hold. Over the last six years, I have seen this trend continue at an ever-increasing rate. It’s not just about chef-inspired dine-in options or sommelier-approved wines ; people are looking to us to improve the quality of everything we serve, and even HOW we serve. I think it makes for an increasingly competitive environment that only serves to better benefit the overall guest experience.
Favorite part of my job?: As corny as it might sound, I do feel like I get to make a difference and see some wonderful human moments. With our guests, I’ve gotten to be a part of some very special occasions with them – holiday traditions, marriage proposals, birthday parties, baby showers – all of these beautiful experiences that they chose to share with us. With my team, I’ve gotten to see so many people grow and mature before my eyes. I was just talking the other day about one of our AGMs and how proud I was of the growth I’ve seen in him over the past few years and how fortunate I felt to get to be some small part of that.
Most challenging thing about my job?: Now that I work remotely, it is definitely learning to balance my work life and home life in a whole new way. I am 100% a certified work-a-holic, so I have to force myself sometimes to leave my Bat Cave for 5 minutes just to grab a cup of coffee or to eat something!
The skill I’m most proud of?: I’m not sure it even qualifies as a “skill,” but a member of my team recently told me during a development seminar that she always felt like I genuinely focused on taking care of my managers. She told me that whether it was an issue with a vendor, guiding her in using data reports, or just listening to her frustrations on a tough day, she knew I would be there to really hear her and to jump in and help.
Favorite concession item & how often do you eat it?: This is a little shocking, but I really don’t go to movies very often! When I do, though – or when I am at a game – I am a sucker for a really messy chili cheese dog with extra onions and an ice cold beer.
Funniest thing that has happened in your concession career?: A few years ago, several of my managers got together and decided to decorate my office for my birthday. I walked in for a 5am inventory, still half-asleep, to find the office filled with standees. Needless to say, I didn’t realize BEFORE letting out a blood-curdling scream that they were just cardboard cutouts. That particular security video got a lot of play time at our meetings for a while . . .
How do you motivate yourself on a tough day?: I am a firm believer that being happy is a choice and that we need to consciously stay appreciative of our world. It sounds a little cliché, I know, but I simply don’t LET myself have a bad day very often. When I do find it happening, I stop whatever I am doing and go find something simple that I know will bring me a little instant dose of joy – a hug from one of my boys, petting my dogs, sitting on my back porch enjoying the sun.
Relaxation/Hobbies?: When they aren’t too busy or too cool for it, I love spending time with my 3
three sons. When I’m actually in town, I try to sneak in a date night with my husband for a little sushi or an occasional show. I also enjoy reading when I can find the time (and a quiet corner), travelling to new places, working out, wine-tasting, belting out sappy karaoke songs, and anything related to Disney or sports – particularly Dallas Cowboys football, Mets baseball, Golden Knights hockey, anything Ohio State, and live MMA events.
Volunteer Activities?: I was recently asked to join the NAC Outreach Committee, and everyone in NAC has been so welcoming to me that I’m excited to get to try to repay a little of that. I am also a member Women of the Vine and Spirits and just this week got involved with Women in the Industry (WITI). Both groups work to foster mentorship opportunities and professional support for women in leadership roles in traditionally male-dominated industries.