Landy Labadie | Crain's Portland

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Landy Labadie

Background:  

Landy Labadie is the senior vice president of restaurants, bars and events for Two Roads Hospitality, a Denver-based lifestyle company featuring hotels, resorts and vacation residences. Two Roads works with 95 different properties and 200 restaurants, bars and lounges across eight countries. Labadie oversees strategic vision and operating performance of the restaurants, bars and nightlife division. During his 15 years in the hospitality business, Labadie has worked for Compass Group, Crafted Hospitality and St. Thomas Restaurant Group in the Virgin Islands, among others. 

The Mistake:

I wish I had known [at the beginning of my career] that yes, the guest is important, but your team is more important.

I’ve noticed times employees are put in a position where they’re afraid of making a decision on the fly. Do they comp something to make the guest happy? What can they do in their power without having to check with a manager and being put in an awkward position?

When you see a staff that is passionate and empowered, the guest knows that. People know when you’re genuine, versus getting an automated, robotic response.

If a guest’s not having a great time, I want to hear about it while that person is still on the property so we can fix [the problem]. One thing I wanted to bring to Two Roads was empowering our team to make the best decisions and to ensure the guests are having a fantastic experience. 

I now put my team first and ensure that all employees realize they’re a crucial part of our success.

The Lesson:

I now put my team first and ensure that all employees realize they’re a crucial part of our success.

There’s room for growth in our company, and knowing that goes a long way with our staff. We invest in our teammates with career-trajectory and growth-path development and training and [give them] the tools they need to flourish in their positions.

Saying, “Let’s run an incentive for a week or a month” — that’s motivation, that’s temporary. But if you inspire your teams, you’ll get a lot more out of them in the long run. 

If you take care of your staff, they’ll take care of your guests, and if you take care of your staff and your guests, you’ll be able to take care of your community by buying from and supporting your local purveyors. And if you do all those things right, you’ll take care of your owners, investors and shareholders.

We have great guests from all over the world who send us feedback and call out our employees when they do good things. It makes an impact, and that culture of empowering our employees resonates when you step into one of our hotels and feel that vibe and that culture.

Landy Labadie is on Twitter: @landy30.

Photo courtesy of Two Roads Hospitality  

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