Lessons From the Restaurant Industry

See a problem; solve a problem.


After working in restaurants for more than 20 years, Graham Cobb, now president and CEO of the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, shares two lessons he learned through his experience in the foodservice industry:

1. Every role is integral to supporting the customer. 
2. If you see a problem, take the initiative to work to solve it. 

Hear Graham share more about these two lessons in the video above.

- Every role is integral to the success of a company.
- Take on problems before bringing them to someone else.
- Be willing to serve at any level of your organization.

So I believe that everyone should work in a restaurant for some period of time in their lives. I have a Ph.D. in pizza, as my dad likes to say. I grew up working in restaurants. What that culture taught me was the kid placing pepperonis on a slice of pizza is no less important than the person at the front of the house welcoming visitors. There's a supply chain there, just like the largest companies in the world. There's a supply chain that is every piece is integral to serving the customer.

Beyond that, it taught me that if you see a problem before you tell me about it, you better be walking toward that problem to do something about it. It starts with service, it starts with being willing to wipe down a table, it starts with being willing to refill a glass or sweep the floor. And I believe that to be true in the pizza world as much as it is in the chamber world or in a Fortune 500.

Graham Cobb

Graham Cobb stank at sports so he played in punk rock bands to learn teamwork. He spent 20-plus years earning a Ph.D. in pizza before heading to Arkansas Business to learn how to engage an audience with content in order to find custom...

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