Interview with Tom Kaplan, CEO of Hugo’s Restaurant (Part 3)
The Secret of Hugo’s Restaurant Success
(Hint: passion, teamwork and creativity are hallmarks of success)
Editor: I’d be amiss if I didn’t ask you: what’s the secret of success?
Tom Kaplan: Teamwork! Rich and Leslie, my wife and myself have been working together since 1990. We had a coffeehouse together in Hollywood. It worked so well, we decided to become partners in Hugo’s after my father retired. Shortly after that we decided that if we were to expand we needed a CFO and Bill (Kohne) is a genius. We are all very different business people; each of us brings different talents to the table. Each flourishes in their own area. We all listen to and support each other.
Editor: How did you manage to assemble such a harmonious team?
Tom Kaplan: It was a happy accident. We are kindred spirits. We all work well together. We believe in servant leadership. The owners are here to support the general managers and the chefs, the chefs are here to support the people who work for them, and so on, it starts from the top.
Editor: So all the teams work together like an orchestra.
Tom Kaplan: Yes, they do. My dad’s philosophy is that love is the true power. He also insisted on constant innovation.
Editor: Well, it’s not easy to remain innovative and relevant for so many years and yet, you succeeded. Clearly, his philosophy works!
It seems that you inherited many of your father’s best qualities. What a trip from “Eastern White Veal” to feeding people with varying dietary needs, sorghum and water conservation…
The world changed and Hugo’s Restaurant not only kept up, but pioneered many changes in the culinary arts and the restaurant industry. I still remember Hugo’s coffee (you HAVE TO try it: it tastes great and it works, if you know what I mean!). I never said thank you for the coffee. So, thanks for the coffee and thank you for caring. Hugo’s Restaurant has earned its good reputation by caring about our health, about their staff and yes, the environment. The legacy of Terry Kaplan, the founder of Hugo’s Restaurant, not only continues but has grown over time. Its core values of Love Of People, Food and Environment are timeless. Hugo’s Restaurant continues to be a magnet for local foodies’ and is still the leader in innovative and wholesome restaurant meals, a staying power well-earned, indeed!
Interview with Tom Kaplan, CEO of Hugo’s Restaurant
by Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor / Eve Elrich
Hugo’s Restaurant: Unique Approach To Food And Commitment To Sustainability
(A MUST-READ for people with food allergies and vegans)
How to find Hugo’s Restaurant near you:
8401 Santa Monica Blvd.
12851 Riverside Dr.
(at Whizin Market Square)
5046 Cornell Road
You may also enjoy Hugo’s Tacos which offers South of the Border whole food meals on a much smaller scale:
4749 Coldwater Canyon
Studio City, CA 91604