Industry Icons – Restaurant Stories from the Streets

I just had to share this story today…… it’s from a wonderful community member of ours, Wayne Alexander, the Director of Catering at Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noah’s Bagels and Manhattan Bagels.  Check them out and place a catering order for your next meeting!  Wayne would be grateful for the sales!

You see, Wayne just loves the idea of our documentary film, Back To Basics.  Check out this fantastic story!  Thanks for sharing Wayne.  For those of you reading this, please feel free to share your story, we’d love to post it…. so please send me a note if you are interested.

For now, enjoy Wayne’s story…….. he’s so passionate about everything he does.  One of our community’s great leaders!  Thanks again Wayne!  You have a wonderful story.

Wayne shares his personal story of his love for the restaurant industry.
Wayne shares his personal story of his love for the restaurant industry.

 Erle – I got my start in this business with this icon in the industry – Mr. Jim Hasslocher served as NRA president in the Late 80’s and was a true innovator in South Texas.

My first 20 years in the industry began with Jim and his executives as I started in this great industry as a dishwasher – worked my way up to prep cook and on to line cook. I transitioned to a costumed waiter, in character for three years at the fabled Magic Time Machine restaurant during the big disco days in the late 70’s. Then started my management career with Jim’s Coffee Shops in Houston as an assistant manager, working the graveyard shift, 11PM to 7AM!!! Jim came behind the line one day and observed me cooking and assembling a “flame kissed” burger we were known for and in his Texan drawl expressed the importance that when I salted the burger, it needed to come through in every bite, and restated the importance of every bite as I spread the mayonnaise, haphazardly on the bottom bun. The attention to detail passed on to me by this legend in this “lesson” is something that still lives with me and is applied to our focus on catering at ENRGI.

As my career developed, there was no time or money for formal education from hospitality schools or universities, butthe richest education came from mentors like Jim and others like, Phil Romano, Norman Brinker, Lane Cardwell, Robert Dedman (The King of Private Clubs) and many others who took the time to share formative lessons. Most importantly though, all these organizations encouraged and supported my participation in the educational opportunities afforded by the NRA and the TRA(Texas Restaurant Assn).

Through active participation in NRA sponsored seminars and workshops, a wide variety subject matter expertise developed as menu engineering, service delivery, wine service and tasting, marketing, and such led to the richest personal educational experience upon which a fulfilling career has been accomplished!

I share this with you in the spirit of first, thanking you for what you are doing, and second to pledge my contribution to the project – I will contribute personally, in hopes my small investment may be given back to the youth of today, who may be inspired and enabled by the NRA educational organization.

Thought you may enjoy the link to these vintage photos  – there is one in the group of Jim with Harlan Sanders!

Regards, Wayne