How to Open a Restaurant in 8 Steps
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In this series, we’re showcasing SevenRooms’ special ingredient: our employees! Read on to learn more about our team both as they navigate life, both professionally and personally.
Meet Maria Pelles, Sr. Manager Customer Success based in Israel, who shares a little bit about her daily life and her time so far at SevenRooms.
Why did you initially decide to go into hospitality? What was your first job?
Rewinding to when I was 16 years old… I started working in hospitality at a private members only golf club. It was an amazing first job since it paid really well and it gave me the unique chance to engage and interact with so many different types of people. It was incredibly valuable and insightful to hear their stories over a shared love of food. I actually ended up working there for three years!
Why did you join SevenRooms? Why do you continue to stay so many years later?
When I first heard about SevenRooms I was truly inspired by the vision of our CEO and Director of Customer Success. I knew they were on a mission to change the hospitality game! I’ve stuck with SevenRooms ever since because of our people, our customers and my desire to change the game for our industry. As a Customer Success Manager, you really see the impact of the SevenRooms platform first hand. Not only are we helping customers build personal relationships with their clients in order to grow their business but we’re equipping the industry with new ways of thinking about hospitality technology and operations.
Why do you think SevenRooms customer support is so world class and why is that such a benefit to clients?
First and foremost, we all care really deeply about our customer’s success. We’re a team of problem solvers dedicated to thinking outside the box to get our customers unique solutions based on their operational needs. We have a global network of teammates that will jump in to help if they have additional knowledge and insight in a particular area. Can you imagine writing into a product support desk and getting a near immediate response? That’s our goal!
After recently relocating to Tel Aviv, Israel, what does your daily routine look like?
My husband and I relocated to Tel Aviv in March the week that a major wave of COVID-19 hit Israel. Our initial plan was to relocate to London together shortly after spending time in Tel Aviv, but we’ve had to adjust to a remote work environment due to international travel restrictions.
We are residing in Tel Aviv for the foreseeable future which has been a blessing in disguise because we’ve been able to spend a lot of time exploring. Over the past few months, I’ve gotten to see many parts of Tel Aviv that I’ve never visited before (and maybe never would have without the pandemic).
My weekdays typically kick off with a Zoom workout class led by friends and then my day is full of calls with our UK customers. My husband is a chef so our days end in the kitchen making dinner together. Throughout quarantine, I’ve loved being able to spend more time cooking together!
Can you share one of the most empowering client stories from your time traveling the globe helping restaurants?
It’s so empowering to hear about new and unique use cases for our technology. When I was in Dubai earlier this year, I met with the training team for one of the hotels I work with. They shared some insight into how they’re using our Reputation Management tools to incentivize and train their staff.
Their training team sets goals for feedback ratings across the categories of food, service, and ambience. Using SevenRooms feedback dashboard, they analyze trends across the restaurants in the hotel. If a restaurant is not meeting their targets, the training team comes up with a tailored training program in the relevant category to address any weaknesses. As a result, the front of house staff continues to deliver better experiences for their guests and drive more repeat visits. The back of house staff tweaks their menu and changes processes to ensure food quality. Through a combination of SevenRooms’ technology, in depth training, and incentives they were able to significantly improve their feedback rating average across all categories!
Maria exploring the United Arab Emirates!
How are you balancing your relationships with international clients during a time like this where every region is operating under different safety protocols?
Historically, a large part of my customer base consisted of Enterprise hotel groups from London to Dubai to Hong Kong. I stay in touch with all of my customers around the world but have recently been very focused on customers in the UK. I’m very up-to-date with all things related to the UK market. Throughout the last few months, it’s been beneficial for me to focus on one market as they navigate new regulations, closures and reopenings. It’s interesting to see my customers around the world find different solutions within SevenRooms to solve the same issue. Even though every region is operating under different safety protocols at different times, I’ve been able to share learnings from across the globe related to how other venues have been using SevenRooms as some markets have opened before others. Hospitality operators like to learn from one another, and it’s been great to help facilitate that learning across markets.
How do you ensure you stay connected with SevenRooms’ NYC-based HQ in an international WFH environment?
The key to staying connected with our NYC-based HQ is spending time with our Customer Success team on internal Zoom meetings! Setting up both work oriented and personal meetings with my teammates strengthens our relationships and connections, even from far away. Each week, I plan meetings to run through status items or just to catch up and see how things are going. I definitely make it a priority to reach out to my colleagues, who have become some of my closest friends, to check in and see how they’re doing both from a work and life standpoint.
What has been the most rewarding silver lining you’ve encountered during COVID? Personally? Professionally?
Personally, COVID has really made me slow down and nurture the relationships in my life. I definitely find myself talking to and connecting with the people who I love and care about much more frequently. In the past, it was so easy to grab post-work drinks with friends but there is beauty in having a meaningful chat with someone you love, without the wine!
Professionally, re-aligning my team’s priorities and growing our UK team has been really rewarding and awesome to witness. We recently expanded our customer success team even further in the UK with some new hires, and I’m really looking forward to building out a larger team on the ground there.
Restaurant (anywhere in the world) you can’t wait to dine at again?
Easily I Sodi in New York City. When you walk in, you can’t help but feel this beautiful energy and vibe! It’s an escape from the busy city. The food is incredibly simple but is always outstanding. It’s so worth a visit.