What drives the nation’s top foodservice operators? To celebrate IFMA's 66th annual Gold & Silver Plate Awards, we asked the 2020 Silver Plate Class to share some perspectives and words of wisdom with the industry. Find out what they have to say about their passion for foodservice, career accomplishments and what it means to be part of a legendary group of operators.
Meet Phil Hickey, Chairman of Miller’s Ale House Restaurants. Phil received the 2020 Silver Plate Award in the Chain Full Service category, and was nominated by The Coca-Cola Company.
How did you get your start in the foodservice industry?
I started out washing dishes at age 14 in a Big Boy restaurant in Detroit, Michigan.
What do you enjoy most about your career in foodservice?
What I enjoy most is the ability to make such a positive impact on the lives of so many people, including team members, guests, company leaders, and members of our community.
Tell us about your biggest career accomplishment.
Leading the elevation of RARE Hospitality (LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille concepts) would probably be my biggest career accomplishment. I worked with Gene Lee and other talented partners to take a struggling, underachieving company in 1997 to a high performing company ten years later that has given birth to a number of restaurant industry leaders.
What advice do you have for someone new to the foodservice industry?
We have UNLIMITED opportunity in every area of our industry; whatever your passion, we have a place for you. If you are willing to dedicate yourself, you can enjoy unimaginable rewards of every variety.
What does being an IFMA Silver Plate recipient mean to you?
I’m deeply honored to be awarded the IFMA Silver Plate. The list of past winners reads like a list of industry all-stars, and I cherish being mentioned in the same breath with them.
What is your favorite meal?
Lunch on a hillside in Tuscany, Italy prepared by locals, with fresh-baked bread and freshly crushed olive oil, bountiful fresh-grilled vegetables, handmade pasta with pesto and crushed local tomatoes, a great glass of local Brunello, finished with handmade gelato and a perfect espresso. All sitting across from my wife Reedy!
Celebrate Phil and the rest of the Silver Plate Class on Monday, Nov 2 in Scottsdale at the 66th Annual Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration. This year’s program has been added to IFMA’s Presidents Conference and tickets are now available.