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R365's Jason Hollis on the Keys to Operational Excellence

Shane Houston
Shane Houston
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Throughout his 20-plus years restaurants, Jason Hollis saw all shapes and sizes of businesses. From humble beginnings as a dishwasher to demanding operator roles, he learned what it took to be successful. Now, as Restaurant365’s Manager of Customer Success, Jason is dedicated to working with customers to help them get the most out of Restaurant365’s solutions. But what did his two decades in the field teach him about the secret to operational excellence? Hint: He weaves it into every customer interaction to this day!

We sat down with Jason to learn about how he honed his experience to provide top-notch service to restaurant operators each and every day. Read on to hear how he got started in the industry, his unexpected pivot that led to a commitment to hospitality, and the risks he took along the way.

Getting Acquainted

What’s your favorite food?

It’s a toss-up between pizza and Texas BBQ!

 

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas.

 

How long have you been with Restaurant365?

I have been here for six years total. I originally started with Compeat in 2016 and continued my career with Restaurant365, following the acquisition.

A Passion for Restaurants

Tell us about your time working in restaurants.

I spent over 20 years in the restaurant industry prior to joining Restaurant365. When I started my college career, I thought I wanted to be an English or history teacher. After getting into the business, initially as a server and dishwasher, I worked my way into management and ended up falling in love with the industry. It wasn’t long before I switched my major to Hospitality Administration and Management, and never looked back.
 
After graduating, I started as a store-level manager for Bennigan’s and later moved to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen as a general manager. I was fortunate enough to move my way through mid-level management to become a multi-unit managing partner and area director of operations for a few other concepts as well. During that time, I learned how to run efficient and profitable restaurant businesses and how to build and lead rockstar teams.
 
I’m most proud of leading the operations and culinary teams for two start-up concepts along the way: a pizza concept called Stateside American Tavern and a popular burger joint in the Dallas Fort-Worth area called Flips Patio Grill that is still thriving. Creating and engineering exciting new menus, crafting craveable foods, and offering amazing guest experiences further cemented my passion for the industry.

 

How did your career path lead you to Restaurant365?

I was looking for a change that would allow me to spend more time with my kids, yet still allow me to pursue new challenges in an industry I had devoted so much of my life to. A close friend and former colleague joined Compeat a few months prior and spoke highly of the company. I saw an opportunity to be part of a company where my knowledge and experience in the industry could be used to help restaurants across the country, so I jumped at the chance. I’ve been here ever since!

 

What do you like most about working for Restaurant365?

I really enjoy working with our customers to solve problems together. I’m an operations specialist, so I love identifying anomalies or inaccuracies. It’s exciting to watch how it helps our customers better understand how to use our software and analyze reports to improve their business as well as increase their profitability. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a customer succeed in part because you’ve helped them along the way. It is also fulfilling to work with a team of people I respect and admire every day. The culture and people at Restaurant365 are what keep me looking forward to work each day.

Operating Excellently

How does your daily work impact our business and the industry?

As part of the Customer Success team at Restauarant365, we seek to understand the goals and growth initiatives of our customers.

 

What impact can restaurant technology have on the operation of a successful restaurant?

In order to achieve true operational excellence, restaurant businesses must embrace technology. Access to real-time data to assist in managing prime costs is critical to survival in the hyper-competitive restaurant industry.

Operators must be given tools to help them run efficient and profitable restaurants. Access to data in real-time and in the palm of their hands enables them to spend more time coaching and teaching their teams to deliver a consistent, world-class experience to their guests.

 

What advice do you have for current restaurant industry workers looking to grow their careers?

I would encourage others to take risks, just as I did throughout my career. I was never afraid to seek out new opportunities and put myself into challenging situations to expand my knowledge of the industry. You never know who is out there looking for someone just like you to take their business to the next level! It’s important to maintain confidence in your abilities and be relentless when pursuing your career goals.