BIG NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT GROUP co-owner Ed Kane believes the way to create high-end hospitality at his company’s eight restaurants and nightclubs is by employing only the very best people. Big Night, whose properties include Boston’s Red Lantern and Empire, plans to open four new venues between 2017 and 2019. Kane has two strategies to attract and keep the very best: Pay workers well, and cultivate an environment in which every server and sous chef can be heard and contribute to the company’s success.
Thoughts from the top: “We give you a vehicle for growth: You can start as a busboy and end up a general manager,” Kane says. “Work ethic is probably the most important thing for us.”
A magic moment: When Jamie Pollock, director of operations for Massachusetts, attended his first Big Night management meeting, he decided to take a chance and throw out some ideas, even though he was the new guy. He knew he was someplace special when his proposal — a first-time diner program to help hook new customers — was welcomed warmly and quickly implemented. “They really listen to their employees and run with it,” he says.
Office space: In every restaurant the group opens, it strives for a sophisticated, luxury aesthetic; its newest venue, Scorpion Bar at Patriot Place, features custom art, wrought-iron chandeliers, and domed brick ceilings. The design goal is twofold: appeal to customers and stoke the pride of the workforce, Kane says. “They’re so proud to work in the space,” he says. “It’s really helped us get some terrific people.”
Balancing act: As long as Big Night’s corporate employees work the core hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., they have the freedom to structure their day to suit their needs. “I work hard and I work a lot,” says human resources director Christine Roane. “But I’ve never missed one of my daughter’s soccer games.”
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