Food & Drink International - Spring 2017 Volume 1 - 49
Prawnbroker Restaurant Group
Market just celebrated its 35-year anniversary and Matzaluna just marked its 22-year," Asen says. "If you added all of
our restaurants' history together, it's more than 200 years in
the industry combined.
"It's a one-in-a-million realization, as a lot of restaurants
don't stay open for a long time," he continues. "With us having all of these restaurants having 20- to 30-plus-year anniversaries, it's hard to believe that we have done it. But we got
through it one day at a time, with hard work."
Asen and his partners are still hands-on in all of the restaurants' day-to-day operations, keeping their "fingers on the
pulse" of the multi-concept seafood restaurant group, Asen
says. The work that goes into running the various restaurants is enough to keep them busy and focused.
"We are all in our 60s, so we are not looking for extreme
growth," he says. "It's more important to us right now to
manage the existing properties that we own and operate to
keep them making money, as opposed to investing big money in something that may not take off in the future."
we teach them about restaurants and they teach us social
media, as we are still learning. I received my degree in secondary social studies from State University of New York
(SUNY) at Cortland - way back when, I used to be a high
school history teacher - so I'm always trying to teach new
things and learn new things as well from others."
Ultimately, the goal for Prawnbroker Restaurant Group is
to train people to continue the business, and keep the brand
successful and relevant, Asen concludes.
"When it is time, we will teach whomever we pick to take
over the business all that we know," he says. "It's no secret
that it is hard work and being able to adapt to new things that
come up, like the new labor laws and insurance issues. It's
more about sustainable seafood, changing palates, adapting
to new menu items and keeping old favorites. So staying
consistent is the key.
"We have to keep the customers satisfied and make the customers feel at home," he continues. "That means when they
come in, they are recognized and know what they are going to
get with the food. And if there is a problem, we'll take care of
it; however, we need to ensure that the customer is happy."
Since opening its first restaurant in 1978, Asen notes,
Prawnbroker Restaurant Group has had good managers and
employees who have been with the Myers, Fla.-based company for many years.
"We treat our employees like our family, and if they're successful so are we," Asen explains. "When we find a good
group of people, we make sure that we keep them and we
do that by treating them properly. Courtesy and respect goes
a long way in this business. So if you show them you care,
they'll take care of you and your restaurant."
Many of the company's employees are millennials, so
communication was a barrier until Prawnbroker figured out
the best way to get through to them: hard work.
"We have found that the best thing is when employees see
that you know how to do what you're asking them to do," Asen
says. "I'm 64 years old and can do anything in the restaurant
that my employees can do.
"Half of my employees weren't even born when we started
these restaurants, so they see my partners and me working
alongside them and they know we know what we are doing
because we have been doing it for so long. This has helped us
earn respect with employees."
Prawnbroker also engages with its staff by using social
media to contact them for scheduling.
"We also asked them to use their social networks to promote the business with their Facebook and other social media," Asen adds. "It's been a good form of communication on
both ends, making it easier and more efficient. Ultimately,
food & drink international * spring 2017 volume 1 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com