Zachary Poole is vice president of Pig ’N Pancake and co-owner; and owner of 3P Development, LLC. A lifelong Seasider and member of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association’s board of directors, we caught up with him between sessions at the Tuesday, Sept. 17, gathering of the organization at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center.
Q: What do you see as the major challenges facing the restaurant and lodging business today?
Poole: I think that overall, labor and food are our largest costs. And it’s a tight labor market. That’s definitely a concern.
Q: How do you deal with it at Pig ’N Pancake?
Poole: We manage it all the time. We constantly have to watch all of our costs, and we’ve got to provide value to your customers as well.
Q: What did you think of some of the future of digital apps, automation and other high-tech methods panelists proposed for the industry?
Poole: Technology’s always evolving. Every year technology makes everybody’s lives to some degree more efficient. I think it takes a good culture within your organization and team members and management that really cares to manage a lot of those things effectively.
Q: You’re talking about corporate culture?
Poole: Yes. At Pig ’N Pancake, we’re very customer-centric, and we want to provide a great guest experience. At the end of the day that’s what we strive for and we’ve got team members engaged all the time, working on that and we’re really proud of all those people.
Q: Did you have a role in bringing this event to Seaside?
Poole: For a number of years it was in Central Oregon. About three years there was a push to move it around to different regions in the state, when that idea came up, I definitely provided some input and the exciting thing was that this model just completed, it’s a beautiful facility, it’s something that’s pretty unique on the Coast. It was a logical fit. It wasn’t my decision — it was ORLA’s decision to bring it here.
Q: As a lifetime resident, what does it mean to have ORLA here in Seaside?
Poole: It’s a real honor. They’re walking around and taking everything in. I don’t know how many of them have been here, but it’s a great experience and a great time of year to be here.
Q: What was your No. 1 takeaway today?
Poole: My No. 1 takeaway was, you’re only as good as the last meal you provided. I really do believe that the culture you set in your businesses, and how you take care of your customers and add value is the key to any business.