Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Fritz.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My first job at age 15 was in a restaurant. I was fortunate to work for a talented operator, and I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a restaurateur. I worked in restaurants all through school, and graduated from Arizona State University. Immediately after graduation I immersed myself in all things hospitality, food, and beverage. In the fall of 2010 my business partner, Chef Bernie Kantak, and I opened our first restaurant, Citizen Public House in downtown Scottsdale. The restaurant opened with critical acclaim. In 2013, we opened our second restaurant, The Gladly, located in Phoenix, AZ. In 2014 the Arizona Republic named me to the list of “35 Entrepreneurs Under 35”. Over the past years I’ve worked diligently with my incredible staff to create a company culture based on personalized hospitality, and we’ve made great customer service a bedrock of our organization.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Opening our first restaurant, Citizen Public House, was both easy and hard. Easy because we were hungry and ready for risk. Hard because we were learning on-the-fly. I thought the second restaurant opening would be smooth (and to a certain extent, an instant success). Boy was I wrong. It’s now apparent to me that number two is twice the footprint, twice the cost, twice the amount of employees, and needs twice the attention. And those factors were added before we even had the opportunity to produce revenue.
We’ve again learned on-the-fly: we’ve experimented with menu offerings, worked diligently to become part of the local community, and distilled our approach to customer service. The Gladly is now running on all cylinders as we’ve dug in our heels and explored the best facets of the brand.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Gladly – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Most guests who come to The Gladly remark about the ice balls. It’s such a cool experience to watch the ice being formed table side into a crystal clear sphere. But, that is just one unique offering here. We also take immense pride in our daily raw bar, our modern-American menu made by Chef Bernie, our craft cocktails, and our extensive whiskey list.
All of this is encompassed by an overall hospitality experience. At the end of the day our goal is to create memorable and personalized dining experiences for our guests. It just so happens that we use food & beverage as our tool to make those connections.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We have a couple concepts in the hopper, and we’re currently scouting locations. But, while we want to open up new restaurants, we also want to be smart about it. I believe we have a responsibility to our staff to provide them with upward mobility in this industry. I want to grow at a sustainable pace to ensure continued growth and development for our team.
- Address: 2201 E Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016