In the first installment of Venga's Server Spotlight series, we recognize Mark from Fiola, one of Gruppo FT Restaurants. Mark stood out among guests and colleagues as a shining example of genuine hospitality.
Venga: How did you get started in hospitality?
I started working in hospitality by going to work at the local country club at the age of thirteen.
Worked there for twelve years as a caddy, golf shop assistant, busboy, server, bartender, and then Assistant Bar Manager. Was honored by club with opportunity to caddy at the Western Open twice.
Venga: What's your favorite part of working in the hospitality industry?
My favorite part of working in the hospitality business is meeting incredible people.... fellow employees - one of my past coworkers wrote the star wars novel for Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith - and guests. As a Captain, I have the unique opportunity to see people when they celebrate important events in their life. The great thing about people in DC is that they always have a story on how they got here or why they never left.
Venga: What would your perfect last meal be?
Celery soup with scallop and roe at Ristorante Antica Torretta in Verona. Finest soup I have ever had! Beef Wellington at Pelican Inn in Muir Beach, California My Grandma's traditional German Pfeffernusse cookies... they were hard as rocks, but the spice flavors were incredible!
Fiola's general manager, John, says: "When finding Captains to staff our dining room, we look for a natural proficiency in hospitality, and a refined level of comfort when speaking and interacting with our guests. Mark stands out as one of the best in this regard. Staying hours to guide a special Anniversary table through 6 courses, with their experience foremost in his thoughts, Mark goes above and beyond without asking.
He is an old soul hailing from Chicago, easily transporting his quests to a far gone era in dining, drawing upon his years of experience. When faced with a nervous guest, he more likely to startle them with a comfortable joke, than lecture on the ins and outs of menu items.
Mark consistently scores very high on our guest reviews, with his name showing up more than any other. We are proud to have him on our team and his familiar "No problem Boss" retort, makes him a go to for support in any situation."
Fiola's patrons say: "As I took the night off from studying for my GMAT to celebrate my 4th anniversary, Mark made the night as perfect as could be! We had sweet anniversary thanks to him!"
"The wines, as recommended by Mark, complemented the food splendidly. This was my first time to be served by Mark, who clearly knows how to "read" a table and provided truly excellent service; I certainly look forward to being served by him on future visits."