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This is Chris Redgrave for Zions Bank Speaking on Business.
As a single mom with two young sons working to support her family, Ruth Fertel discovered she wouldn't be able to send her boys to college without help. She saw a notice for a restaurant for sale. Against the advice of trusted business friends and family, she mortgaged her house, bought the restaurant for $22,000 and created Ruth's Chris SteakHouse in New Orleans.
Today, the restaurant she started is now the largest fine-dining chain in the world, and this year Ruth's Chris SteakHouse is turning 50 years old. Mark Robbins started into the restaurant industry while in college and loved it so much he stuck with it. Later, Mark had an opportunity to purchase a franchise with this well-known company, so he took it, resulting in Ruth's Chris SteakHouse in Salt Lake City and Boise.
Mark says the signature dish at Ruth's Chris SteakHouse is their USDA Prime Beef. Only 2 percent of beef processed in the U.S. classifies as Prime, so the distinction is important. Their meats are broiled in a patented 1800-degree broiler which sears and caramelizes the outside, while leaving the meat moist and tender inside. It's then served on a plate, heated to 500 degrees, topped with a tablespoon of butter and served sizzling. With this dish, the presentation is meant to be as impressive as the meal itself. This is what brings customers back again, along with a selection of side dishes, appetizers and homemade desserts.
An important key to his success, Mark says, is to instill in his staff, which includes 75 employees in Utah, that they are in the people business. His philosophy is for customers to leave happy. He gives his managers and staff authority to "do the right thing" for a guest, which has created more than one unforgettable dining experience.
Working in the restaurant industry in Utah is smart since restaurants are projected to net just under $4 billion in sales this year. And they account for around 8 percent of total employment. Mark also feels Ruth's Chris SteakHouse represents a classic in American dining.
For Zions Bank, I'm Chris Redgrave, speaking on business.
Ruth's Chris SteakHouse With locations in Salt Lake City and Boise www.ruthschrisprime.com