For the Love of Food - How Cooking Shaped a Journey

A lot of us in the restaurant industry and at Restaurant Magic are cooks at heart. We sat down with our Director of Sales Michael Beck to hear him talk about how interconnected food and family are in his life.

 How has cooking influenced your life? Cooking is in my blood! My parents owned a restaurant called the Beck’s Sail Inn. We lived above the restaurant, and my dad was the cook. We’re also German, and everything that happens in a German family happens in the kitchen. Restaurants, family and food were inseparable from my earliest memories.

 What was it like with your family owning a restaurant? My parents’ restaurant did well for a while, but we were too passionate about cooking and we lost track of food costs. The Beck’s Sail Inn went out of business when I was 10. It’s a common restaurant story that I painfully experienced as a child. I think if we had something like Data Central to help us, it could have gone differently. I can’t bring back Beck’s Sail Inn, but through our work with Data Central I believe that we can insulate other restaurants from these challenges. I hope that my work can help some other entrepreneurial families avoid that experience.

 What role did cooking play in your early career? Cooking was a passion long before it became a career. Growing up, our family was constantly in the kitchen, and our family life revolved around cooking. After high school, I joined the Army, and I didn’t really cook for four years. At the time, the absence of cooking didn’t bother me. I grew up and struck out on my own as an adult, and cooking was just an aspect of my fortunate amazing childhood. When I got out of the Army, I had no choice but to start cooking for myself, which grew into cooking for friends. That reignited my passion, and I decided to go to culinary school, so I attended the Le Cordon Bleu culinary program at Western Culinary Institute in Portland, OR, and earned my Chef’s Certification.

 How did you use your culinary degree? Funny you should ask! Life took me on another detour, and after culinary school I became the general manager of some LA Fitness locations. For the time, cooking remained a passion, not a profession. One day, I couldn’t handle the bad food at the gym’s executive restaurant, so I asked to make my own food. The restaurant’s owner of course said no, at which point I explained my culinary background. He asked me to name the 4 mother sauces. That was a trick question, because there are 5 mother sauces, which I rattled off. He responded with “make me a béchamel.” I must have made a good béchamel, because he became my business partner on our next venture, a catering business.

 What was the catering company like? It was a lot of fun. One of our largest clients was the Creative Arts Association, so every celebrity from that time probably ate my food! I learned a lot from running my own business, building on what I saw at my parents’ restaurant. A few years in, I moved cities for a girl and opened a new catering company there.

 How did you find yourself at Restaurant Magic? When that relationship ended, I needed a total reboot, so I changed towns, industries, everything. A restaurant software company offered me a sales position in a different city. I’m a techie and gamer, so combining technology and food seemed like a great idea. After a few years at other firms, I was lucky enough to be offered a sales position at Restaurant Magic, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 What is your favorite food to cook? Bouillabaisse! I always have a bottle of Pernod on the shelf, because you can’t make good bouillabaisse without Pernod. That goes back to my family growing up, because my mother and I made bouillabaisse all the time. We loved French cuisine and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking was a staple in the house growing up. In fact, I hope my mom’s not reading this, because planning a trip to France for us. She hasn’t been to France since she was a kid. On Airbnb, you can now rent the house where Julia Child authored her cookbook! How cool is that?

Michael Beck is the Director of Sales at Restaurant Magic Software with over 20 years in hospitality operations and sales & leadership experience. He is excited to extend the reach of Data Central’s capabilities to improve data management in the fast-paced restaurant industry. He is passionate about giving restaurants the tools they need to succeed in a challenging industry. To learn more about Restaurant Magic Software and its products, call us at 1-813-579-1506 or visit the website at RestaurantMagic.com.