Chris Simms, the CEO and founder of Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar is Jane Wells' guest this week on CEOs You Should Know.
Simms, a "fourth-generation restaurateur," describes Lazy Dog as the "next generation of casual dining," where a people-focused, innovative restaurant can provide all-scratch cooking for guests who are welcome to come as they are.
With 36 restaurants and roughly 5,000 employees, the chain has seen enormous success with over $2 million in sales this year.
After attending Cornell University's prestigous Hospitality Program, Simms says he didn't want to work for his father and decided to strike out on his own. At one point, Simms recalls a great lesson taught to him by Paul Fleming (the P.F. in PF Changs) when he was working as a manager at their location in La Jolla.
"[Fleming] walks in one night, and I'm managing in La Jolla and it's about 10 o'clock and the place looks like a bomb went off," Simms says with a chuckle. "And he walks me around the restaurant and it was a great lesson."
Simms says after Fleming pointed everything that was wrong, he told Simms that "A person who comes in at 10 o'clock is paying the exact same amount of money as someone coming in at 7 o'clock, why would they deserve an experience that is so messed up and dirty?"
Learn more about Simms' experience as the CEO of Lazy Dog in the latest episode of CEOs You Should Know.