Tahoe Chamber’s new restaurant group focused on South Shore eateries
When Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce launched a restaurant industry group last February, they did it with the aim of improving collaboration within the local food scene.
“We have seen a lot of coordination and collaboration between restaurants here on the South Shore for a long time. There’s no restaurant association in the region that’s active,” group facilitator and former chamber CEO Betty “B” Gorman said. “We thought it would be a good idea to get [restaurant owners] together, and we’ve been using professional facilitation to work with them.”
Approximately 50 names are on the member list, but only 20 are actively participating, according to Gorman. Some establishments that consistently attend the monthly meetings are Riva Grill, Coldwater Brewery, Mirabelle and Off the Hook Sushi.
At the meetings, restaurant owners and managers discuss common industry challenges and help each other develop solutions, as well as highlight areas that should have importance within each business. These topics range from improving customer service to enhancing the dining experience and even assisting with development of Lake Tahoe Community College’s culinary programs.
“I would certainly like to see the level of great customer service rise in this town, and to see the level of qualified staff cooks, bartenders, managers and servers come up,” said Riva Grill general manager Scott Craig, who has participated in the restaurant industry group since it first began.
“I think there’s a need for the restaurant community in this town to have a united voice in participating in what’s going on in town socially [and] politically — and having everyone be on the same page is a good idea,” he added.
The group is open to any current restaurant owner or manager in the Tahoe area, and those involved are excited for it to grow.
“A year from now if there’s an increase in participation, if there’s more restaurants throughout South Lake Tahoe that are participating, they think it’s a good idea and we all start going in the same direction, I think it’d be pretty great,” Craig said.
The main focus of the group is working together to improve Tahoe’s restaurant industry, so participation is encouraged for all food-industry leaders in the area.
“[Restaurant owners and managers] really drive the agenda — finding common opportunities to work collaboratively together,” Gorman said.
In addition to improving the South Shore dining experience, group members are working alongside LTCC to strengthen the current culinary program curriculum.
According to Craig, the group is serving as a consultant to the college, offering information on tangible skills students need after graduation so they are better equipped to begin a career.
“I think this is absolutely groundbreaking for our restaurants. It’s the first time where everybody has collectively come to the table to raise the culinary experience here in South Lake Tahoe,” Tahoe Chamber membership services director Justin Sinner said. “That is the ultimate goal. We have to compete with Reno, and we have to compete with Sacramento.”
The group meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month.
For more information, visit http://www.tahoechamber.org.
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