The culture all starts from the top, according to multiple employees at Anthony’s Chophouse. The upscale steakhouse in the heart of downtown Carmel was first opened in August of 2018. Owner Tony Lazzara credits his restaurant’s successes to his employees, and the value they bring to the table.
Executive General Manager Colin Atterson has been in the restaurant industry for the last two decades, and joined the Anthony’s Chophouse staff a few months after the opening. He says he believes the culture of Anthony’s Chophouse rises above other local establishments because of the ownership.
“I’ve stayed here for so long because this is a company that has an owner that has a like-minded philosophy of taking care of our guests,” he says. “We extend ourselves through engagement and focus on making a positive impact on our customers.”
Atterson says the employee culture starts at the top.
“We need to make sure the building environment is stimulating, and show respect and incorporate that reciprocity piece to ensure our employees feel they are a part of something bigger,” he says.
Before Friday and Saturday shifts, a team meeting led by Atterson is held to promote workflow practices, and encourage and motivate employees during their shift. He says it’s a time set aside to articulate how they can best improve and motivate staff, and not just talk down to them.
He also holds one-on-one conversations with his staff to ensure everyone’s voices are being heard.
“We want our employees to know they are appreciated, and they aren’t just here to work – it’s more than that,” he says. “We take pride in our work and treat everyone with respect, we are understanding, and want to be a resource for the community.”
Atterson says the camaraderie between employees allows guests to receive the best possible service.
“Oftentimes our staff are really busy, and working nights and holidays when they are not with family and loved ones,” he says. “They are with co-workers building that bond.”
Assistant General Manager Julianne Agtang has been with Anthony’s Chophouse since day one and has watched the business grow through the past four years.
“I had never worked for a locally owned company, so it’s nice to be able to be open and grow, put your ideas out there and try ideas out, and make the business better,” she says. “This is a company that lets us grow and have our opinions heard.”
She says what sets Anthony’s Chophouse apart from others is simply the willingness to try new culinary ideas.
“I like the fact that our menu keeps the same things, but we do a different twist on it nearly every week,” she says. “We offer specials on steak and seafood for weekends, so there are always different things coming into the restaurant.”
She says the atmosphere and staff teamwork also help to establish a well-rounded restaurant environment. This is what promotes the family-like atmosphere, according to Agtang.
“There are not a lot of steakhouses with full windows and that ambiance we have here,” Agtang says. “The staff has changed a decent amount over the years, but it’s really about being able to engage with employees and deal with the guests on a one-on-one basis, and make things better so we can keep moving forward.”
The employee morale is positive in the front of the house and in the kitchen. Just ask Executive Sous-Chef Scott Marmaduke, the restaurant’s longest-tenured employee.
“Anthony lets us have nice creative freedom that you don’t normally get from a chain restaurant, and it’s that commitment to excellence that sets us apart,” Marmaduke says. “We are all human and make mistakes, but we try not to make guests see those mistakes. It really boils down to a really good teamwork structure.”
He says you won’t be shocked to see Lazzara behind the bar, running food or even washing some dishes.
“Nobody is afraid to do anything, and that helps motivate the staff to do their best,” he says.
Anthony’s Chophouse is located at 201 W. Main St. Carmel, IN. For more information, call 317-740-0900 or visit them online at anthonyschophouse.com.
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