||Schwartz Brothers Restaurants
325 118th Avenue,
S.E. Bellvue, WA 98005
Schwartz Brothers Restaurants was founded in 1970 in Bellevue, Washington with the opening of The Butcher Restaurant. Since then, Bill and John Schwartz have expanded their family of restaurants in the greater Seattle area, as well as operating catering services and two bakeries. They uphold a high culinary standard, and have been acknowledged with a number of prestigious awards. Here Michael Carr, Senior VP of Administration, discusses how the company has continued to grow and prosper while maintaining a high standard of quality.
Antoinette Bruno: The Pacific
Northwest is often the hardest hit in an economic
turndown. How has Schwartz Brothers not only survived,
Michael Carr: It’s important
to diversify. For example, we do all the pastries
for Starbucks. During one particular year, this production
factor was what was holding up our company. Schwartz
Brothers also has a reputation for quality, and we
try to price conservatively.
AB: What incentives do you offer
that your employees have been receptive to over the
MC: There is a team member of the
month for each business location, along with a reward.
Their name then goes into a hat for team member of
the year. At the end of the year, there is a banquet
dinner at Symphony Hall for all the team members.
Various awards and recognitions are handed out that
Employees also get discounts at all of our restaurants,
and an employee meal (free or discounted) while on
shift. We offer free membership to a 24-hour gym,
medical, dental and life insurance, vacation time
and a 401(k) the company also contributes to. We also
offer recruiting referral bonuses for as much as $500.
AB: Schwartz Brothers has been
in business for quite some time. What lessons have
been the toughest to learn?
MC: You need to have a balance in
terms of understanding what is changing and then to
make your changes methodically so there is no knee-jerk
AB: Not to sound negative, but
every business usually has a weak point. How do you
overcome this and plan an effective recruiting strategy?
MC: Turnover is inherent in the
restaurant business. It is higher than most industries.
The key is making sure you have the right managers
to hire the right team members who can do a better
job than those they are replacing. Training is also
key to good quality employees.