People are usually surprised when I tell them that running the family business wasn’t something I really considered. My father, who founded Wienerschnitzel in 1961, let me discover my own interests, hobbies and career pursuits instead of charting the path for me. As I got older and had the capacity to truly understand the gravity of his accomplishments, I realized how special it was and knew I wanted in. From that point on, I made it not only my goal, but my responsibility, to work in as many different departments and facets of our business as possible so that one day I would be a well-rounded, dynamic leader that my father would be proud of.
While Wienerschnitzel is a family business, we don’t mean that only by last name or lineage. To us, being a family business signifies our unwavering commitment to our extended family – our franchise partners—to provide them with tools to thrive and succeed. It’s also a commitment to our guests, to serve them as though they’re family and consistently deliver the food they’ve loved for the last six decades. Just as our business has evolved throughout two generations of Galardi leaders, it has grown and innovated through nearly three generations of valued guests. It’s important for us to maintain nostalgia for the countless legacy guests who have supported us since day one, while also evolving our menu and brand for their children, grandchildren, and new generations to come.
As for what’s next, I’m honored to continue my father’s legacy while also bringing Galardi Group’s brands into the future. We have significant plans to grow Wienerschnitzel domestically and abroad this year, while also embracing our industry’s newest innovations like virtual kitchens, product licensing and other nontraditional methods of serving food to guests. Who knows. Maybe one day you’ll even be able to enjoy our chili cheese dogs in the Metaverse!
What was your first job?
I had my first job when I was 7 years old. I sold newspapers. Every day after school my mom would drive me to the newspaper printing warehouse and I would fill up my satchel with as many papers as I could. She would drop me off in town where I would walk around and sell them for 25 cents apiece. One day I figured out that if I walked into bars, people were much looser with their money and would give me $1 for a paper and tell me to keep the change. I think they were shocked to see a little kid hustling in a bar!
What’s your favorite cuisine outside of Wienerschnitzel?
Italian food would have to take the top spot. Sushi is a close second, though.
Who inspires you as a leader?
Jocko Willink is somebody I look up to as a leader. He took his combat leadership experience from his years as a Navy SEAL and applied those principals to business. He seems as solid as they come when it comes to leadership.
What’s the best piece of advice that other restaurant executives should hear?
We are all competing for “share of stomach,” so find what makes your restaurant unique and do it better than anyone else.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
I love adventure sports. My wife and I have a lot of activities we love to do, but the one thing they all have in common is they are based in the outdoors.