When YEScarolina board member Melody Shemtov invited YEScarolina teachers from North Charleston High School and West Ashley High School to bring their entrepreneurship students, along with students studying the culinary arts and web design, for a field trip to her restaurant, we knew it was going to be special. Along with her husband, Michael, Melody owns and runs Butcher & Bee, one of the hottest spots in town. Thirty seven students gathered yesterday on a field trip to learn about how the restaurant got to where it is today, and had the opportunity to speak with guest entrepreneurs about their experiences in starting and running a successful business.
9:30am – Welcome to Butcher & Bee
The day began with Melody introducing students to Butcher & Bee’s story. A quick tour through the dining room and kitchen gave them an exclusive behind the scenes look to all the aspects that make the business run.
9:45am – Bakery Tour
One thing Butcher & Bee is known for is their bakery. Not only do they sell fresh baked goods on their premises daily, but they also sell their pastries and breads to other restaurants around town as well. The students watched as the bakery team prepped croissants and burger buns without missing a beat, despite having been there since 4am that morning! They got to meet Henry, a Charleston transplant from culinary school in Vermont, who shared his story of how he came to work for Michael & Melody. Henry passionately described his work, how much he loves working for the Shemtovs and wowed the students when he told them he expected they’d make 1,000 baked goods that day. As for the most popular baked good at Butcher & Bee? He suspects the croissants, and if you’ve ever had them, it’s not hard to see why!
As the founder of Obviouslee Marketing, an agency with 50 clients nationwide and 17 employees, Lee Deas knows a thing or two about starting a business. But as a self-proclaimed, “100% accidental entrepreneur”, Lee told the students that wasn’t always the case. “I knew nothing, just winging it”, she told them, “but I had a thirst for knowledge”. When asked for advice from someone wanting to pursue a business degree, Lee told them to learn as much as they can by getting as many internships and practical experience as they can, and ask questions to those whom they admire. Having taught herself many of the skills and services her agency now offers, she exemplifies the notion that hard work, experience and an ability to recognize a “problem and want to make it better” can lead to success. In listening to her story, the students took away valuable insights to never stop learning. We do believe they were inspired!
10:30am – Michael Shemtov Joins Chipotle Franchisee Gino and B&B Culinary Director & Head Chef Chelsey Conrad To Discuss the Restaurant Business
Though Michael, Gino and Chef Conrad have three very different roles within the restaurant business, students learned that each of their successes in running a restaurant well comes from a shared mindset that can be applied to any business – a commitment to the concept, what it stands for, and what the elevator pitch is. Michael shared that he’s “very comfortable with risk”, something entrepreneurs are familiar with, because he believes in these three principles.
From this discussion, students also gained insight to the importance of service. He described how guests expect great service in the traditional sense, but he also pointed to something his father used to say, “don’t worry about how many people show up to your party, just make sure the people that do show up have a great time”. He used this quote to illustrate that being a good entrepreneur and business owner also means making customers happy beyond what they are selling. The speakers closed the discussion echoing this sentiment in regards to employees, as well. “My biggest success,” said Michael, “is watching people develop”, illustrating to the students that part of a being a business owner is providing opportunity to employees, and how rewarding it is to watch others succeed within their companies.
The students ended their insightful trip to Butcher & Bee with a delicious lunch served outside on the patio. They had an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about topics that struck a chord with them.
Thank you to Melody and Michael Shemtov for hosting YEScarolina teachers and students.
We had a great time and learned valuable lessons from this inspiring experience!