Interview With Mountain Sun’s Paul Nashak

On October 28th, we wrote a review of the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, focusing on the great service the establishment has. Since then, we were able to catch up with Paul Nashak, Managing Restaurant, to ask him a few questions.

We felt as if the service actually got better in the last year or less, with the staff even more responsive as we walk in. Did anything change from previous years or are we imagining this?
You did not imagine this!  While our approach to service over the past 18 years has hopefully set us apart in this industry, we decided a few years back to see how memorable we could make the service we provided our guests. To accomplish this, we experienced service in restaurants we loved, we learned from restaurant consultants like Bill Marvin, but most of all we learned from successful restauranteurs who were providing memorable service, namely Danny Meyer from NYC and Dave Query from the Big Red F Group in Boulder.  At the end of our research, we revamped how we hired employees, which candidates we hired, how we trained them, and how we followed up with them during their career with us.

Where did you get the idea that every staffer should be able to help people with everything, from pouring water to seating to getting the bill?
When Kevin Daly opened the Mountain Sun in 1993, it was his goal that no customer would ever hear the word “no” in his pub.  From a bus boy who couldn’t pour a beer, to a host who couldn’t get a table a total on their check, from a cook who didn’t know how to pour a beer, he thought great service meant that every employee should be able to accomplish every task related to a guest’s experience.  We learned over the years that this approach gave your employees a sense of ownership of the pub that couldn’t be duplicated.  Kevin first experienced this kind of service at the McMenamins group in Oregon while attending Law School.

Did the lawsuit from Russell Braun settle? Did the suit affect the way you have to do business?
The law suit, which challenged our team system, is settled.  We were able to maintain our team approach to service.

Anything else you want to add about your service?
While there are so many ways we work to ensure great service at our pubs, we have learned that the fundamental way to achieve great service is to hire great people.

Thanks, Paul, for your time in answering these questions!