Opinion: Invaluable lessons I learned in the service industry — and why I never left

Oct 25 2019, 1:18 pm

Written for Daily Hive by Ryan Moreno, CEO and co-founder of The Joesph Richard Group, a collection of unique hospitality ventures, real estate and retail portfolios.


We all remember our first job. Mine was delivering newspapers in my local neighbourhood. At a young age, I knew the value of hard work as I watched my parents work tirelessly to provide for our family. My second job? Bussing tables at the local Red Robin.

For many youths, the service industry is the perfect gateway to independence, and for me, it was no different. What began as a means to buy the latest doohickeys and thingamabobs, quickly became the building blocks of my future: a future as co-founder and CEO of one of BC’s fastest-growing companies.

service industry

Waiter taking order/Shutterstock

Lesson One: Always be Curious

Becoming CEO was definitely not on my radar when I began busing tables. However, one character trait seemed to become one of my first learning lessons: Curiosity. Constantly curious, I asked questions, shadowed my superiors, and tried to spot efficiencies wherever possible. I quickly learned the day-to-day operations of a restaurant, from front-end customer service to back-of-house training and culinary roles, and my constant curiosity opened my eyes to more than just a paycheque, but rather a glimpse into my future. 

Lesson two: Failure is a gift

As I progressed through school and began my first entrepreneurial venture, I knew I was keen to dive back into the service industry. My first venture was a failure, as I had yet to understand the value of strategic business decisions that could be either beneficial or detrimental to the company’s future. Armed with the gift of failure, I knew what it took to sustain and maintain a business in such a volatile industry.

With minimal margins and high overhead, our strategy was simple: our people. Focusing on each interaction, employees were carefully trained to have an immense amount of involvement in the corporate operations so that their investment in the service we provided was delivered exceptionally in all areas. From the service at the door to the maintenance of the establishments, each employee had a personal investment in the company. They were technicians for the future growth of the company and they were valued immensely. 

Lesson three: Keep your family close

It’s a funny thing when an individual begins to experience some measures of success. You question the intentions of others as you progress through your career. But an anchor can prevent you from drifting away. My anchor has always been my family and friends.

The service industry can be a beacon for chaos as you navigate through the late hours and fast-paced environment. It is not a sustainable career for many, but my family and friends’ involvement in the entire experience has made it more than just a career. Placing people first, we have created an unbreakable culture that fosters growth, encourages creativity, and empowers every employee to pursue their dreams. 

For many young people, the service industry is a gateway to employment and independence. I encourage them to look further, foster relationships and seek advice from mentors. Your future in the industry can blossom into incredible opportunities and a career beyond your wildest dreams.