Gordon Food Service is proud to celebrate and support the success of women in the foodservice industry. In honor of Women’s History Month (March), we asked our sales teams to nominate women chefs, owners, operators and Foodservice Directors with unique growth stories, and they delivered! Enjoy the stories below. You can also find them on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and google+),—all part of our month-long #WomenInFoodservice campaign. We think you’ll be inspired!
Michele K. Tompkins
“In May we bought the business. In August, my partner died, and then in October my grandmother died. My family…just wanting to make them proud kept me going. My passion goes hand and hand with my motivation. Living my dream is the best gift ever. I am sincerely grateful to get up everyday and represent the urban foodie feed store brand, College Park and the Atlanta area.” – Michele K. Tompkins, urban foodie feed store
Terri Lynn Doyle
“I’ve worked in foodservice most of my life. My first job was in an ice cream shop. I was a waitress for my second job. After I graduated college, I helped open a catering company, but I decided I didn’t want to work 24/7. I went into sales, and while I was great at it, it didn’t fullfill my passion for food, recipes and feeding people. I took the leap and opened my own catering business and we’ve grown steadily for 18 years.” – Terri Lynn Doyle, Terri Lynn’s Catering
“The recession hit and it devastated me. Our area was also hit drastically. Plants closed down and moved out of our area … it was difficult. Even on my worst days, I knew I had to keep on trying. That’s how I’m built. People asked, ‘Why don’t you file bankruptcy and be done?’ I just had to keep on going … I hadn’t given it my all yet. I had a handful of great people in my corner that wouldn’t even let me consider closing and I didn’t want to let them down. I had to honor Bird’s legacy.” – Linda Strange, Bird’s Smokehouse Barbecue
“If you love to cook, don’t start a restaurant. From my perspective, running a restaurant is more about working with people, not cooking. The relationship part of my business is really important to me. My goal is to serve my customers as best as possible. I learned a long time ago that if you focus on customer service, the bottom line takes care of itself.” – Maribeth Jameson, celebrating 29 years at Leono’s
Mary Todd Ashbrook
“I was a waitress at Biancke’s, it was my first job. They asked me if I wanted to purchase it and I laughed in their face. They knew I wanted to buy it—eventually. I was in college and a waitress. I was broke, I couldn’t afford to buy a restaurant. But my family made it possible. They provided the financing, taking out loans against their houses. If I wasn’t successful they’d all be homeless. Of course, every day you have to work to thrive and be better, but in a way, I feel like I’ve made it. I’m living out my dream every day.” – Mary Todd Ashbrook, Bianke’s
“I used to sneak into the kitchen when my mom was asleep or away. I was probably 9 or 10 and would imitate what I had seen my mom and my grandmother do. I would make things. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I would put stuff together that I thought went together. I would watch them and eventually told them I knew how to cook. They didn’t believe me until I cooked dinner for them and they loved it! That’s when I first recognized my love for cooking and eventually decided to make it my career.” – Chef Aeisha Davis, Turnhouse Grille
“I’ve talked to others in the industry about feeding memory care residents and some say ‘does it really matter what you feed them? ’ Are you kidding me? What if that was your mother? What if that was you – wouldn’t you want someone looking out for their best interest? That’s why I’m passionate about food and education… if I change one patient’s thought process on how they eat, I consider that a success.” – Lori Martin, NuVista at Wellington Green
“How we [women] juggle home and career: Build a successful support team — both personally and in business. It takes a village to raise a child, so be ready to have substitutes for you and help your family understand that you can’t attend every game and every show, but you will be there for all the grand performances of life. Make wise choices as to how you spend the most valuable resource you have: Your time. Everyone wants to hear that we manage, we give a little and we’re successful in everything we do. But, you know what, [in this business] you’re going to miss a heck of a lot. You’re going to drop the ball. You have to forgive yourself – you can’t do it all.” – Toula Amanna, Flashback Diner
“When I was 17 and just starting out, I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. It looked so glamorous on TV. But you don’t see the sweat, the heat on the grill, the 15-hour Saturdays when your friends are going out partying or missing family events. Back then, I never dreamed I’d run the department … 21 years later, I’m really proud of where I am.” – Jessica Glenn, Mardi Gras Casino and Resort
“At our head start, we deal with an extremely small budget since we’re federally funded and allergen-free products can be amazingly expensive. A lot of kids here are ‘no eggs, no milk’ and we’ve found a way to make our own breads, muffins and biscuits from scratch. One day, a little girl came to me, she was probably 3, and said, ‘Have you had these biscuits? You have GOT to try these biscuits!’” – Jeanna MacArthur, Spring Hill Head Start
Your Success is Our Success
At Gordon Food Service, we take your food service operation seriously. Whether your business is a small restaurant, healthcare institution, school food service operation, or a complex regional chain- we are here to help your business suceed. Want to talk more about your needs? We are here to listen.