(DESTIN, Fla.) — NEWS: In 2020, readers of “Nation’s Restaurant News” had a chance to weigh in on who they considered leaders in the restaurant industry. The people have spoken and Florida’s own Alan Laird, owner of AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, ranked number 37 out of 500 submissions in the category for “Most Influential Restaurant Executives in the Country” on its “Power List 2020.”
“Nation’s Restaurant News” released its selections for its annual “Power List Reader Picks” in February 2021 and Laird was thrilled and honored to be recognized and to join some of the top players in the restaurant industry. This year’s list focused on leadership and nominees ranged from restaurant CEOs and chefs to store managers who are making an impact through innovation.
So, what’s Laird’s secret to success? It’s a pretty simple formula. Laird believes that it all hinges on good communication between staff and being polite to customers and each other.
“When customers come in, say ‘hello.’ Thank them for coming in when they’re on their way out and ask if they enjoyed everything. Invite them to come back in,” he says.
Laird has remained true to this basic philosophy since opening his doors in 1984 and apparently, it’s paid off.
“I wouldn’t be here today without this great team behind me,” he says. “I appreciate that they have helped me to continue to stand out among restaurant executives across the country.”
Laird, a Florida native, was born and raised in the state’s panhandle, and has worked in restaurants all his life. In 1984, he opened the first AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar. It started out as a small burger and oyster joint that sold beer. Today, he has four restaurant locations and a 55-acre farm where he raises Black Angus, Waygu cattle and seasonal produce that he uses in these restaurants. The latest addition is a public market in Destin, AJ’s Specialty Meats and Gourmet Market, that sells locally-sourced meats and produce.
Laird has also broken out into beverage branding over the past few years and is excited about AJ’s branded vodka and two different beers brewed exclusively for AJ’s by Props Craft Beer. These products are available at all AJ’s locations, as well as local restaurants and stores in the panhandle.
About AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar serves the freshest seafood and mixed drinks along the beautiful Emerald Coast. It has live entertainment seven days a week and has been recognized on many local lists that include “Best of the Emerald Coast,” and “Best of South Walton.” It’s also received national recognition from “Nightclub and Bar Magazine” as one of “America’s Top 100 Nightclubs in the United States.”
For more information about “Nation’s Restaurant News” Power List 2020: https://www.nrn.com/people/most-influential-restaurant-executives-country-chosen-nation-s-restaurant-news-readers
For more information about AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar: https://ajsdestin.com/
Rachael Green, Public Relations Director
of AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
Related link: https://ajsdestin.com/
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