Rob was a funny person; energetic, smart; an extrovert with amazing charm. Having met briefly in college, we became good friends in 1969 when Rob came to work at my first restaurant in Northern California. We decided to go to Europe the next summer for 3 months. Neither Rob nor I had much money in those days. Rob didn't even have a car. We were young (23 and 25) and we had a ball touring Europe. We talked the entire 3 months on our adventure about what to do next in life; traveling more, going to graduate school, being beach guys, you name it.
First, we decided we loved restaurants. We liked the people, the upbeat tempo, and the variety of the business skills required to succeed. We wanted to be in the restaurant business.
Second, we would be partners.
The friendship and partnership lasted over 28 years. Why? We were opposites; we were self-centered, opinionated, young and picky. In the end it lasted because both Rob and I were committed to never letting each other down. We were always there for each other as a friend.
The success of this company stands on the foundation of friendship. Our managers are our friends and partners. Our employees are respected friends. And our guests, each one of them, are possible new friends.
Throughout the years, our company has grown on this foundation of friendship and respect for every individual. We now have thirteen restaurants, all in beautiful places where we ourselves would choose to live. And even with our greater size, we still consider ourselves just a small group of close friends.
A good story about Rob Thibaut involves our company mission statement. Years ago, when mission statements became popular, we asked Rob, a great talker and writer, to write our mission statement.
A few days later, he gave me his work; three full typed pages of it. I read them over and said, "Great, but Rob, this is suppose to be like a paragraph." He rolled his eyes. (Rob never liked to do anything small.) The next day he came back with four paragraphs. Again, "Rob, it's got to be shorter." The next day he came back and said, "You want small, how about six words?"
It was perfect. And it gets better with time. So here is TBO's T S Mission Statement:
Have Fun? Have a positive attitude. It is best to smile. Laughing is great too. Smiles and laughs cheer up your fellow workers as well as our guests.
Make Money? Learn your skills well. Be responsible. Become a better person. Be clear headed, healthy and fit. Give us your best effort, give us 100%.
With Aloha? Uplift your friends and family. Treat fellow workers as friends. Get in to hospitality. Make T S Restaurants the friendliest restaurants in America.
And this is what we really are all about. The key to our success is in our people. More specifically, the key to our success is in our people with the spirit of Aloha.