A Heart for Growing and Developing People
Interview with Garrett Friemel
Director of Staff Development
Picoso’s Mexican Kitchen
Garrett Friemel, recipient of CHART’s Learning Legacy Fund (LLF) grant, is a hospitality industry lifer who fell in love with serving people. He believes the training world needs more people who value both solid and efficient systems, while thinking about the people who use and are affected by these systems and what their daily life is like.
We couldn’t wait to hear about his “golden rule” of training, perfect day at work, what he would tell his younger training self, and how he gets to teach his staff not only how to be more successful in their position at Picoso’s, but how to be more successful as people.
What are some interesting things about you?
I live in Lubbock, Texas and was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. I have only ever worked in restaurants and can’t see myself in any other industry. I play the bass guitar and was in a rock band for about five years. I’m no longer in a rock band but play bass guitar for a local church.
How did you get into the hospitality industry?
I got into the hospitality industry like most people do. I was 15 years old, needed a job, so I got a job at the first fast food restaurant that would hire me. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with serving people. The only greater feeling than giving a guest a great experience is being able to do it with people you care for. The camaraderie of the people in the hospitality industry is second to none. It’s incredible that a group of people from all walks of life can get together to work toward the same goal of giving great hospitality.
What is your favorite part about being a hospitality trainer?
My favorite part of being a trainer is the impact I get to make in the world. Not just in the lives of our team members, but in the lives of the people our team members will eventually teach, coach, live with, parent, and supervise. We aren’t just teaching people how to be great servers, cooks, or bussers, we are teaching them how to be leaders, problem solvers, parents, and much more.
“We aren’t just teaching people how to be great servers, cooks, or bussers, we are teaching them how to be leaders, problem solvers, parents, and much more.”
If you could tell your younger training self anything, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self not to be scared to think too big. Just because something isn’t the “normal” way to do something doesn’t mean it’s wrong or impossible. Don’t be scared to dream big and share your ideas with others.
What’s it like to be the Director of Staff Development for Picoso’s?
It is a privilege. I get to teach our staff not only how to be more successful in their position at our company, but how to be more successful as a person. I get to teach classes about emotions, finances, and leadership. I get to teach the staff lessons that their sibling, mother, father, or teacher never showed them. I get to help the staff create budgets that help them be good stewards of their money, how to grow closer to their faith, and how to achieve goals that THEY set for themselves. I can’t think of a job that I would rather be doing than getting to serve our teams.
What’s your perfect day at work?
My perfect day is when I get to make an impact on someone. Showing someone how to do something new, having a one-on-one with a team member, and teaching a class to a group of team members. A perfect day in the hospitality industry can’t be without something unexpected happening though. That’s part of the reason I love it, you never know what you’ll encounter some days.
What did you get out of your first CHART conference as a LLF recipient?
The biggest thing I got out of my first conference was realizing that no matter how different each hospitality organization is, we all deal with many of the same challenges. Getting to learn about the different ways some organizations deal with these challenges was incredible. Everyone had so much enthusiasm when sharing their solutions. I am still in contact with many of these people today. They are all always ready and willing to help share their wisdom about any issues that I or the organization I work for may be facing.
What is your “golden rule” of training?
My golden rule of training is to never assume anyone knows how to do anything. Regardless of how much experience or time someone has spent in the industry, we can’t assume they know how to mop the floor. Every person and every company does things a bit differently. Because of this, we have to make sure that every person we train knows how to do things our way.
What do you dream of achieving?
I dream of our company being able to reach people from all around the world. Teaching team members who maybe didn’t have a family member or friend there to teach them things. Being able to help team members who have battled big challenges in their life, and those who don’t think that they can amount to anything. People all around the world are hurting and need help. My dream is being able to provide not only a job, but a space where people from any age, demographic, or background can learn and grow to reach their God-given potential. People think they are just applying to be a cook, a server, or a dishwasher, but really they are applying to lead a different life. I think the people in the hospitality industry are often overlooked, and our company has a heart for growing and developing these people.
What does the training world need more of?
The training world needs more people who value both solid and efficient systems, while thinking about the people who use and are affected by these systems and what their daily life is like.
I came back to CHART to continue to learn about how different people and organizations tackle certain issues. I did not leave empty-handed. I got to meet many new faces and gathered even more perspectives on the problems we face in our own organizations.