Building the Future of Experiential Dining & Managing Partner at AMP Up1 Hospitality Management Group
A native of the South Shore of Boston, Brendan’s journey into the hospitality industry began in 2010 when the position of busboy was offered to the hospitality industry newcomer at a large, busy upscale entertainment venue. Much like most of the challenges and opportunities he had been given, Brendan looked at the opportunity to learn, grow and evolve as he was drawn to the industry where you are recognized mainly for hard work and teamwork. His journey had begun.
Over the course of two years, Brendan graduated from busser and food runner to barback. Brendan’s affable, personable nature made him a natural front-of-house team member and after several months of barbacking, he began moving into more guest-facing roles as he began hosting and working periodic shifts as a member of the security team. Brendan's leaders continued to admire his adaptability and versatility and willingness to explore the different roles within the business. Instead focusing on carrots and sticks, he saw the intrinsic benefits of becoming more well rounded by learning more about every facet of the business. While Brendan describes himself as passionate and hardworking, he is quick to attribute much of his success to the support and trust of those around him.
“Part of why I kept getting promoted was that I really bought into what I was doing, I really trusted the process,” Brendan says of his steady climb. “I was always given opportunities and put in a position to succeed, never put in a position to fail.” Even when he occasionally struggled to learn the diverse roles he was exposed to, Brendan always had a reflective personality that would allow him to see the struggles as growth.
After several years and organically learning and mastering nearly every role in the business, there was only one role left to step into, which was a leadership role. This was celebrated by the entire team as most had watched and supported Brendan's growth through the venue and admired how well he balanced and respected the responsibilities parallel to each other and, in the spirit of teamwork, would instinctively support each role no matter where he was positioned. Brendan perfectly illustrated that doors are always opening for you, but the decision is yours if you are going to walk through them.
“It all starts at the top and trickles down,” Brendan answers when asked to describe the culture of what helped him to grow into leadership. “Don and Josh showed me it could be more than just a job, it could be a career. They’re the ones that taught me that this industry is all about taking chances on people and helping them grow.” Brendan refers to the culture of "seed planting" which is deeply rooted in the DNA of the leaders he continues to work with today. The obvious choices are not always sustainable ones. Leaders like Brendan who have "grit" and tenacity are the ones who not only appreciate the hard work that needs to be done but tend to recognize those who see the same thing.
In less than 8 years, Brendan went from a bus Boy to the General manager of one of the companies' busiest locations. He was promoted several times and when he left the company to join AMP Up1 Hospitality
, Brendan was an Executive Director of Operations responsible for the largest locations in the company. His location was running so well, his store was crowned the honor of becoming the brand's sole training store. He perfectly balanced the operations, sales building, guest service, and profitability in his location, but most importantly had a culture that was so strong, that training people in this environment set them up for success. In addition to training the new managers in the company, Brendan would also travel to remote locations helping with new location openings and supporting locations in other markets. Brendan's teams have always had the utmost respect for him as a leader whether he was in the building or not. The results were obvious as he continued to grow the sales and business through creating a culture so strong, the team looked forward to coming to work every day and were proud to be working under such an impactful leader.
Aside from operations, Brendan has passionately helped to create marketing processes and other valuable operational enhancements that helped to improve the company operations. He has always been drafted into teams due to his incredible ability to listen attentively and contribute by asking the most insightful questions. Once a project was underway, Brendan is known for his "action muscle" as he sees rollouts through to fruition and beyond. One would be hard pressed to find a leader more dedicated and passionate and this passion rubs off on his team who rallies behind whatever he is selling.
For Brendan, the power of his personal journey isn’t lost on him, yet he sees it as something that speaks to the culture of promoting from within that has very much become part of his DNA. This, in turn, has impacted the way he interacts with the team he oversees and takes under his wing. He always stays humble to where he began, but balances this with where you can be if you apply yourself. Brendan is a rare breed that genuinely believes no matter what you are doing- be it bussing tables or managing a multi-million dollar project- be your best and "do your job". He gives his 100% to whatever he does and you run your fastest mile with a fast runner.
“I started as a busser many years ago and people invested a lot of time into me to let me grow,” he says. “When I travel to new locations and talk to newer team members, I always talk about my story and ask them about the way they want to grow.” Brendan says that lately, he has realized the power of his story as a tool to motivate other people and drive them to take their career to the next level - while giving them every opportunity he himself was given on his own journey. “When I hire someone, I think ‘How can I get you from being a busser to a server in a year?’” Brendan says. “I want to give someone an opportunity and see how they run with it. It’s not who the person is today that is important, but what they can be if you believe in them.”
Today, Brendan is working with the Amp Up1 Hospitality Management Group to help build the "Ke'Nekt" brand and support other industry projects. Brendan's passion, integrity, work ethic and belief in his team and supporting them and growing them will never end. His journey so far proves it doesn’t matter where you start - all that matters is where you’re going. Talent is all around you and comes in many different shapes and sizes. This mantra is deeply ingrained in the DNA of Amp Up1 and will never get lost as the company is made up of leaders who started much like Brendan and have traveled to the many roles that now make up the Senior Leadership Team.