Navigating the unchartered territories that the hospitality industry has found itself in 2021 has brought about a new and even deeper appreciation for the teams who have been there in the trenches making things work. Here is a compilation of industry leaders who have shared with us what they are most thankful for this year.


"I'm endlessly proud of my team's grit, their courage to embrace all the changes that 2021 brought our way. People tend to be afraid of change or challenges, but when faced with adversity your team members can really shine. 2021 was a chance for the team to showcase their creativity, innovation, and willingness to be vulnerable and learn something new outside their comfort zone. Nothing is more satisfying for a leader than witnessing a colleague's growth, and there were many opportunities for growth in 2021 for those willing to be brave and reach for the next level." 

Eliza Poehlman (Director of Talent and Productivity)

“Reflecting on 2021, we saw many unprecedented challenges, even for the restaurant industry. Throughout it all, our team showed up whenever and however they could - even with the constant unknowns, our team never wavered on their passion, creativity, service excellence and discipline.”

Jada Robinson (Human Resources Manager) and Viviana Radenbaugh (Senior Director of Human Resources)
The Alinea Group

"Our key leaders, Operating Partners, Chef Partners, and managers all stayed with our company during the most difficult and darkest days. They helped each other, our employees, and locations that faced the most aggressive restrictions."

Dave Magrogan (Owner/CEO) 
Harvest Restaurant Holdings

"We were all so excited about 2020 and what we believed was going to be our best year to date. The pandemic hit all of us, it impacted us differently both as people and as leaders and as a team. The constant encouragement and reminder of Mr. Brennan to keep your team together and keep them close. We supported each other personally and professionally. When one of us would stumble the rest would rally and pick that person up.

This whole experience has reminded me to enjoy the little moments, to celebrate the wins more often and focus on continuing to move forward at all times."

Christian Pendleton (General Manager)

"I am really proud of how our team showed grit and determination during Covid. They adapted and made the necessary changes to weather a tough pandemic. We are still in the midst of recovering from the pandemic, but we are not dwelling on the past as a team. We are charging forward and continuing our mission to passionately pursue the perfect dining experience." 

Stephanie Castellucci (Owner and Director of Human Resources)

"Our team has been incredibly resilient this year; we have had challenges, just like so many of our peers. Throughout the year, we have asked them to learn new COVID protocols, adjust their style of service, assist in other restaurants, and take on new roles or positions; all while they were simultaneously facing unprecedented challenges outside of work. Our teams have risen to the occasion at every turn. We are incredibly proud to work side by side with them; our restaurants would not be the same without each one of them.”

Fabio Trabocchi (Chef and Owner)

"I am in awe of our team's resiliency, positivity and flexibility. This year tested our industry; we managed labor shortages on top of supply shortages while balancing changing policies, law and oh, all of this on top of a pandemic. Our team welcomed every moment with grace, professionalism and poise. It was a year of the unknown. We all leave this year stronger, more united and closer partners to one another."

Kimberly Galban (Senior Executive Service and Operations Director)