Anthony Rudolf

Anthony Rudolf

Anthony Rudolf, Partner of Union Square Play in New York, NY, shares his career timeline for up-and-coming professionals.

Early in my career, I decided to focus my energy on taking care of the people that I worked with. I believe that as a team, if we are cared for, learning, performing and inspired, the guest will feel that, and in turn, be happy. That decision I made, almost 12 years ago, started as a dream, evolved into a career and has now become a mission - to ensure that restaurant professionals like you and me are cared for, learning, performing and inspired."

“Good artists borrow, great artists steal” - Pablo Picasso. Everything is connected and every original idea is a result of a spark of inspiration from a hero, mentor or idol. Everything comes from somewhere else and just takes on a different form. The lesson then is to be authentic and own it. Good artists borrow and duplicate other artists’ work or ideas, while great artists "steal" and absorb them until the work or idea evolves into their own unique expression.
If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t give any advice but simply offer encouragement that everything is going to be fine no matter what happens. Since my flux capacitor still isn’t working, I try to share this with the people that surround me now.
You can’t script the perfect career or path because things change as you build layers of experience and understanding. So, follow your heart - literally. Following my heart in pursuit of an ex-girlfriend brought me to New York to work at Jean-Georges in 2002. In fact, I commuted for 3 months from Philadelphia to work there. Would I have done that and stuck with it for the job alone? I can’t say. Love is a powerful thing. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t follow my heart. That one act of heart following opened up new opportunities, a new home, and ultimately my wife, Tina, whom I met a year into working in New York City.
Dream of being a General one day? Start building your army now with those that surround you.
Crack this formula for self improvement: Step 1: (aw + ac) * re = ha Step 2: (ha + rf) * (ti + ex) = rx Can’t figure it out and/or want the story on how I developed it? Ask me, I'm happy to share.
Learning from peers has always been the most impactful means of skill sharing for me. It is why I am building Journee. (click into the Journee link above to learn more)
Know who your guests are. Meaning, when you are a line level employee, the paying guests are your guests, but as soon as you step into a management role, your guests change. They are now your direct reports because to be effective, you need to work through them to get to the paying guests. Therefore, how you want the guests to be treated is how you should treat your direct reports. It all flows through.
Want to be happier? Embrace change. Make it your ally. Change is inevitable, therefore so is your reaction to it.
I believe that inspiration, creativity and motivation are things that we are born with- just try to keep a toddler still. However, over the years, we create barriers and blockages within ourselves that diminish those things. One aspect of being a manager is to peel away as many of those barriers within your staff to unlock what they already have inside. It is much more efficient to tap into what is already there then to try to build something new. People are also much less resistant. Best way to peel away layers - listen. Let them purge.
Be mindful of the sacrifice and remember that it isn’t yours; it is your loved ones making it. You may be working holidays, but you are doing something that you love. That makes it a choice. It is your friends and family that never see you while you are doing something that fulfills you.
My wife, Tina, keeps me motivated during tough times related to work. Much like a career, relationships take a ton of work up front, building a solid foundation so that you can do very meaningful things down the road. I learned this lesson in my relationship the hard way by taking her for granted. Thankfully, she stuck it out and gave me the time to learn and us the time to build together. We have one of the strongest foundations I have ever seen in a relationship.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

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