We do it all. Impeccably.
“Yes, we can!” Elizabeth Newman
You’ve been with RCR Hospitality Group for over 25 years and helped it grow into a Halifax institution. That’s incredible for such a volatile industry that is so dependent on a good economy.
“That’s true, but it’s how we’ve grown since 1974 that is so important. We are a restaurant and catering company that offers diverse venues in Halifax, aimed at the needs of every taste and market. Originally, before we got into catering and venues, we were just a restaurant company. In 1994 we had our first catering venue, Pier 22. Then, as the seaport district developed, we created the Cunard Centre, and we’re the exclusive caterers to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites. One big factor is we don’t just open any restaurant. We stand back and look at where the opportunities lie. Other strategies we use are to empower our staff and to keep business diversified: to cater to a wide market range, meetings and trade shows, fund raising dinners and social events” Elizabeth Newman
All that success aside, 25 years is a lifetime in hospitality, which tends to attract temporary workers. What’s your key to longevity?
“For me, it’s really about helping others. We’re very fortunate to be in a university town because we hire so many students. What’s happened is that they become quite loyal, they grow up and become our clients! And, as a company, one of our strongest points is most of our senior managers have been with us more than 15 years. That’s unbelievable for an industry that normally has a very high turnover.” Elizabeth Newman
With all the experience behind you, what lesson do you have to share with other women in the industry?
“I would say that the person you’re talking to or serving is the most important person in that conversation – not you. Ask questions, be kind and listen. And have fun! On a business level, I try to ensure that every client becomes a friend. “Client” is a cold word – I prefer to say I have business relationships. It’s so much easier to build repeat business when you have a relationship, it’s the way I’ve always operated. As a result, anything that people are thinking of doing, I come to mind as the person to call.” Elizabeth Newman
How has your work impacted your life? How has it become an extension of who you are?
“I see myself more as a mentor, because age is a wonderful thing. It gives you credibility. Or at least you look like you could be credible! (laughs) But honestly, it’s about being happy and having fun at work, because if you’re not having fun, it’s just a job. I’m fortunate to love what I do. In the last five years, I’ve received awards by my peers in the work I’ve done and that’s huge. Being recognized is overwhelming; for example, I was given the Courage to Give Back Award at a local fundraiser. I’m involved with a number of charities, and that award is given to business leaders who’ve made a career of really giving back. For me, giving back is sincere caring and compassion, seeing a situation and knowing you can make a difference. It’s giving my time and energy and most of all my honest opinion. An act of kindness can make a difference to someone else. Selfishly, when you give back, it feels good.” Elizabeth Newman
Photographer: Michelle Doucette
Come Back Soon To Watch Elizabeth’s Distinctive Women Interview
Coming Soon – Elizabeth’s Webinar