Learn From the Leaders


Some run very well known companies and others are well known themselves. But they are all successful and all have shared their wisdom and keys to success with us. And it is a thrill to meet them and interview them. Meeting Zane Tankel was especially fun. He is an owner of Apple-Metro, a New York restaurant franchisee group. I knew I was going to really enjoy the interview when he answered my question about his age. “I have three ages,” he said. “Physically, I’m about 30; mentally, I’m 18; and chronologically, I’m 67.” Throw in his tattoo and the fact that he was part of an expedition that climbed Mount Everest and we are not talking about the typical cover story subject.

As if that weren’t interesting enough, he then introduced me to the staff at one of his restaurants, including Jackie, who was in federal prison for 11 years. It turns out she isn’t the only one among Tankel’s 3,000 employees with a criminal record. When Apple-Metro opened an Applebee’s in Bed-Stuy, many of the workers they hired had done time. What kind of employees have these ex-convicts made? I can tell you that when I walked in, I was extremely impressed with the attentiveness and service provided by these staff members.

As you can see in the interview, Zane Tankel clearly believes that much of his success is due to his people. This is consistent with just about all of our cover story subjects. Never before have human resources been as important to the future of your company. Unemployment levels are very low throughout the tri-state area. Good people are hard to come by and hard to keep. 

Good people can help you grow your business. As we enter the last quarter of 2015 and start to plan for 2016, ask yourself where you want your business to go. Then ask yourself: Do I have the right people on board to get me there?