Bordinos General Manager shares her five favorite media sites.
If there is such a thing as a “service gene” then it must run in Reese Robert’s family. Her mother is general manager of a restaurant in Little Rock, her father once served as operations director of an outdoor mall, and her grandmother owns a bed & breakfast. “I think my family likes taking care of people.”
Reese is the general manager of Bordinos Restaurant & Wine Bar on Fayetteville’s Dickson Street. Bordinos has been a fine dining and drinking choice since 1996, making it the street’s oldest restaurant. Their large and varied wine list is the envy of any oenophile and has earned them an Annual Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator every year since opening.
Reese was 19 and attending class at the University of Arkansas on a full scholarship when she started working at Bordinos’ host stand. Six months later she was made maître d, and later worked as a server and in the kitchen while continuing to attend classes. She eventually earned 120 college credit hours in architecture, English and early childhood development, but her first love was still the hospitality business.
She was made general manager three years ago at the age of 25. Today she supervises a staff of 65 full and part-time workers and oversees the financials, building maintenance and improving the Bordinos’ experience. “I keep my eye on everything. If I don’t take care of it, I delegate.”
Her passion is the “Bordinos’ experience,” that magical mix of service, food and ambiance that makes restaurants relevant for generations. (Ninety percent of independent restaurants close the first year after opening.) Some of the experience is attributed to developing people and managing them up.
“Part of my love of working here is that it gives me a platform to help others. The nature of this business is that most people move on after two years. Our goal in managing people is to give them opportunities and the best experience so when they move on they’ll be better prepared for life. That’s the part of my job I probably love the most.”
Described yourself: I really like science and math. I have chickens. I really enjoy gardening.
Give me five of your favorite media sites:
TED Ideas worth spreading. Probably my favorite. I like self-help leadership books, and that’s what this is, just a different format. You’ll find everything from emotional development to working with people to business ideas and technology. Some of the most innovative ideas start there.
Fayetteville Flyer. They’re the best source for community events and probably the best place to get local restaurant news such as who’s opening, who’s closing, and who’s changing locations.
Instagram. Follow a lot of local restaurants to see what they’re doing. Also follow some of our vendors such as Onyx and Saddlebock and Ozark Beer to see what’s going on behind the scenes. And it’s a fun format for food and wine because people like to post pictures of their specials so I can see what everybody else is up to.
Twitter. It’s really good for restaurant news. I follow restaurant folks who share articles that are applicable to what I’m doing. And it’s a good way to get feedback from people who’ve dined here.
National Restaurant News. They’re awesome in that they follow trends and offer tips on human resources and people advice, like articles on handling turnover and avoiding burnout and all kinds of employee situation. It’s really applicable to what we do here.