Meet the Metz
The Citizen's Voice
By: Denise Allabaugh
Date: June 25, 2017
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DALLAS — For John C. Metz Sr., his golden rule in business is treat people how you want to be treated.
“The more successful we make people, the more successful we’re going to be,” Metz said. “We have a really easy philosophy about how we treat people and it works. If you treat people right, they’ll work hard for you.”
Since Metz founded Metz Culinary Management Inc. 24 years ago, the family-driven food service management company based in Dallas has grown and now operates in 19 states from Maine to Florida with nearly 7,000 employees.
Does Metz have a secret to his success?
“There isn’t really a secret,” he said. “We just work hard.”
Metz spoke during an interview at his company’s corporate headquarters in Dallas.
“It’s a business of relationships,” he said. “You’ve got to have a good reputation and your reputation sells you.”
Metz said the company’s value is in it’s workers.
“When you’re a service organization, all your assets are your people,” he said. “You own some buildings, but that’s not where your assets really lie. Your assets are the people who run your business and take care of your business. We just work hard to protect those assets and help them grow and help them develop into bigger and better things in their lives. The more successful we make people, the more successful we’re going to be.”
Before Metz served as chairman of Metz Culinary Management, he began his career in the food service management industry by founding Custom Management Corp., where he served as president and chief executive officer from 1967 to 1987.
When he sold that company in 1987, he said it was the largest privately held food services company in the country.
“We were in 37 states and we had 12,000 employees,” he said.
Metz, a Harveys Lake resident, said he is blessed to have three “great kids” in the business.
His daughter Maureen is Metz Culinary Management’s executive vice president of merchandising.
His son, Jeff Metz, who serves as president and CEO, recently was honored in Chicago as a 2017 Silver Plate Award recipient by the International Facility Management Association.
Metz was the third member of his family to receive the prestigious honor.
His brother John Metz Jr., CEO, executive chef and co-founder of Marlow’s Tavern and Sterling Spoon Culinary Management based in Atlanta, won the Gold Plate Award in 2013 after being named the Silver Plate Award recipient.
He started Sterling Spoon Culinary Management in 2004 and it has grown into two states: Georgia and Florida. He operates 22 restaurants.
John Sr. received the Silver Plate Award in 1979 and it still hangs in his office in Dallas.
The Marriotts are the only other family with three Silver Plate Award recipients.
“It really was a recognition of all the work that all of our team members do every day,” Jeff Metz said. “I was very fortunate to go up and accept that on their behalf.”
Jeff Metz said he believes one of the company’s key ingredients is the “great people working for us and with us.”
“We treat them like they are part of the family and part of the team and we really feel that way,” he said.
Metz Culinary Management also was recently named the 14th best contract company in the nation by Food Management Magazine.
The company provides dining services for clients in a variety of settings, including schools such as Crestwood, Dallas, Nanticoke, Hanover Area, Holy Redeemer, Wyoming Seminary, Scranton Prep and soon Lake-Lehman; colleges and universities including Misericordia University, Commonwealth Medical College and Johnson College in Scranton; hospitals such as Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Tyler Memorial Hospital in Tunkhannock; corporate offices and manufacturing facilities.
Metz brought Chick-fil-A, Proudly Brewed By Starbucks and a Chopping Block salad bar to Misericordia University.
“We feel that food service can be good in institutions. We’ve always felt that way,” John C. Metz Sr. said. “The key is having good food and people want choices and they’re attracted to brands. We try to put well-known good quality brands in our operations and the students like it.”
Metz also owns 11 TGI Friday’s franchise locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including restaurants in Wilkes-Barre and Dickson City; Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Wolfgang Puck Express and Elixir Bar and Bistro in Mohegan Sun Pocono in Plains Twp., Lucky’s Sporthouse in Wilkes-Barre Twp., Lucky’s Craft Food & Drink and Dunkin’ Donuts in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport and two Krispy Kreme locations in western Pennsylvania.
In the future, John C. Metz Sr. said he believes the company will continue to grow.
“Last year, we had probably one of the best growth years we’ve had in a long time. We grew at a tremendous rate,” he said. “We grow fast enough to keep creating opportunities for people to grow. People have the opportunities to advance to higher positions.”