The Transformational Power of Hospitality

with Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group

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Need a little Monday motivation?

I can think of few people better qualified to get you fired up about the power of hospitality than our guest today, Steve Palmer, founder of the iconic Indigo Road Hospitality Group. Steve has overcome a lot (see our episode yesterday if you missed it), and today is laser-focused on creating a thriving business through what he calls the “transformational power of hospitality.”


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The Transformational Power of Hospitality

Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group

Steve Palmer is the founder and chief vision officer of The Indigo Road Hospitality Group, and today joins us to share what he’s learned about the transformational power of hospitality. You can listen to us here on the podcast, and I’ve summarized a few of my top takeaways below.

How an early experience with hospitality shaped him

An early mentor, Chris Goss, told Steve something when he was 22 that has stayed with him since.

He said, ‘Steve, people don't go out to eat to eat. They go out to feel something. They want to have an experience. They want to have a first-date experience. They want to have a reconnecting experience, a 10-year anniversary. And we have the honor and the privilege of being in the front row of that experience and the ways that we can help shape and create it.’

I was a pretty lost kid at that point in my life, pretty directionless. That was my first light bulb moment for what the true meaning of hospitality is, which is how we make people feel. And that's something very different than service. That was the first moment that I understood that creating memories and experiences that we were doing something that was honorable and that we were doing more than just serving food.

“To serve is to love”

One of the things that stands out to me when I pull up The Indigo Road Hospitality Group’s website is what I see in big letters across the homepage: “To serve is to love.”

I asked Steve what this meant to him, and he told me about the story of Harry Cipriani - reading a passage that made a big impression on him:

“We call upon men and women to bring them to life. we call upon men and women to show us the flawless measures of their minds because, frankly, the quality of their service shows the measure of their soul because to serve is first to love.”

Vision for The Indigo Road Hospitality Group

For Steve, growth comes naturally out of creativity.

“Our growth has been organic. I am creative by nature.

“I've had some friends who came up with a concept, and they did 20 of those and got bought out, and they've always said to me, your problem is you still want to be creative. I see that as our greatest strength.

“I love boutique hotels. I love the experience of hotels. We were already operating restaurants within hotels and I was watching other management companies operate. And I thought we can do it at least as good as they are, if not better. I love architecture, creation, and design. So I think the company is going to continue to grow in a way that feels good. There's no grow and exit strategy.”

Human nature will provide job security in hospitality

Steve believes the transformational power of hospitality means that working in this business will always provide job security.

“I think people will always crave the human experience of being served in a meaningful, authentic way. That’s why we have job security. People are going to want to crave that experience, that social experience of being in a restaurant, checking into a hotel, being at the lobby bar. They're going to crave seeing that person who's excited about making a cocktail they've never had, serving them a dish that they've never had. I think hospitality will stand the test of time no matter what.”

More for you today…

Steve’s point of job security reminded me of my conversation with Michael Hraba on this that you may appreciate:

This is something we should talk about more when recruiting! For more help on recruiting top talent, I encourage you to check out this sponsored masterclass I hosted recently with Adam Robinson at Hireology:

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Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you here tomorrow.


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