Personality and passion are the twin hallmarks of Mark’s hospitality style. The details of attentive and individualized service are key, he says, to successful interaction with every guest. And as for passion, there is no substitute for an employee’s true attitude of ownership and responsibility. Mark exhorts his staff to assume a top-to-bottom approach to guest service so as to make a lasting impression each and every time.
These dual principles of personality and passion were imbedded early in Mark’s career. A succession of ‘name brand’ learning experiences molded his professional development. Mark got his first taste of the epicurean world at Cardoos International Foods, a gourmet food shop in Boston (MA). Selling exotic foods, spices and coffees from around the world was a superb training ground for later employment with such established businesses as Legal Sea Foods, Sheraton Hotels, Skipjack’s, and Caffe Lampara. The 1980s were spent working in both Florida and Massachusetts, and the heady experience of opening new locations added to his broad knowledge and management skills. The depth and breadth of his background moved Mistral to hire Mark in 1996, and he quickly advanced from Assistant General Manager to General Manager, then in 2006 to Director of Operations for not only Mistral but all of the properties in the Columbus Hospitality Group [Teatro, Sorellina, Mooo, L’Andana and Ostra].
Mark believes in building strong and long-term relationships with guests. He enjoys meeting people, and has a knack for remembering each guest and putting him or her at ease. He strives to instill this trait in all 175 front-of-house employees under his supervision. Among the training highlights, Mark stresses consistency of execution, continual growth, and boundless commitment to guest service. He bookends each guest experience with a strong opening – “a real sincere welcome right at the door” – and a memorable finish – “that appreciative acknowledgement and farewell is crucial to guest retention.”
Those basic tenets of a good time at the dinner table were introduced at Mark’s own family gatherings in his childhood. His Irish-Italian upbringing in Dedham (MA) offered ample opportunity to enjoy good cooking, celebratory feasts, and shared laughter. Today, he brings those early lessons of warm hospitality to a new level of sophistication. Whether it’s having a regular guest’s habitual cocktail ready and waiting, or calling a customer at home to reveal that Mistral’s famous truffle macaroni is back on the menu, he makes every guest feel special and singled out for personal attention. That is the essence of true hospitality.