BrooksLooks@ Synergy

all was right with the world today
i was where i wanted to be
at times it comes together like this
along life’s trajectory
i know it will change again one day
when this sweet tide goes out
for now, i treasure each moment
until that turnabout
such moments i know
will come and go
lives are lived
through high and low

though, all was right with the world today
i was where i wanted to be
i thank the Universe for days like this
and the gifts it gives to me

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks

BrooksLooks@ Hamburger Heaven

Jimmy Buffet wrote a song about a cheeseburger in paradise, but he never tasted the flavor of the beef from cows raised in an unincorporated ranching community in northwest Colorado, at least that anyone here knows of.

Sand Mountain Cattle Company is raising a growing herd of Red Angus cattle on 7,000 acres including the rich Elk River Valley bottom land. Owners Doug and Adele Carlson and their two sons Danny and Kelly and their families produce a range of beef products for Steamboat Springs area restaurants, including the centerpiece of the sought-after Sand Mountain Cattle hamburger.

Their premium cattle are lovingly raised the all-natural way in vast pastoral fields along County Road 129 here in Clark. They are “grass fed and finished” on native Colorado grasses and forages without any chemicals or animal by-products, the way it should be.

All of their cattle are ‘age and source verified’ (i.e., well bred) and Danny, Kelly and Doug take turns getting up every 4 hours during calving season to head out to the barn to make sure “everything is in order”. They are expecting almost 300 calves to arrive this spring which tells you something about the virility of their stock.

Clark, Colorado itself is worthy of mention as a proud outpost town, midway between Steamboat Springs and the Wyoming line. This alpine community thrives along the western slope of the continental divide way up in the Rockies at an elevation of 7,000 feet. These conditions provide a heavenly destination for tourists, and a home for SMCC’s well-loved, grass-fed cows.

The town’s only store, aptly the Clark Store, is an old-fashioned general store that serves as the nerve center and the community’s cultural heart. Here is one place where Sand Mountain Cattle’s heavenly hamburgers are served in a true paradise, from the grill at the back of the store. The ‘American Burger’ is only one of the options on the menu, but it is clearly the best one.

Incidentally, the Clark Store makes world class buns, baked from scratch with special flour. Really! Heck, the cows are raised right outside the window, and that’s picturesque Sand Mountain in the distance behind them, usually snow-covered into July.

Get the picture? Sort of an ideal farm-to-table deal with tables at the edge of the farm. The future beef cows themselves are part of the view from the Clark Store making them easy to inspect while you wait for your hamburger to be prepared by Jim the chef / manager of the store or his sidekick, Diego.

The Clark Store is also where locals come for mail, alcoholic beverages, coffee, news and gossip. If the store doesn’t carry it, it’s a 20-mile drive one way into town. People from out of town think it’s quaint. Norman Rockwell would surely see the potential here.

Until you taste a Sand Mountain Cattle Company / Clark Store hamburger, you just haven’t lived. With all of this fresh Colorado air and wholesomeness cooked right in, there isn’t a better one anywhere. Sure, you can take a motorboat to Cabbage Key in Florida (supposed home of ‘cheeseburger in paradise’) or get off I-95 in New Haven, Connecticut to dine at Louis’ Lunch for their vertically cooked hamburgers—but I can tell you from personal experience that none of these burgers compare in taste to what Sand Mountain Cattle Company produces.

To enjoy one of their hamburgers at The Clark Store is reason enough to make the trip to Clark, Colorado out on the road less traveled. There is also some dramatic scenery, a Relais & Chateaux affiliated guest ranch, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, awesome skiing in wintertime–and some fascinating characters who all call Clark their home. Bon Apetit!

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks

BrooksLooks@ Hospitality Recruiters

As a young hospitality manager, you may have begun receiving calls from recruiters without knowing they could one day be instrumental in shaping your career. Perhaps you are very happy where you are and generally ignore their calls. I suggest that you appreciate every call as it is possible that you will one day count on them.

The following are points of wisdom, now shared with you that are the result of personal experiences. This is to emphasize how important Hospitality Recruiters can be in helping you to transition out of situations–such as when an owner dies, your property is sold, or the economy tanks–and into a new and satisfactory position. You and your family will really appreciate your network of recruiter relationships when that day arrives.

  1. Why do I need to communicate with a recruiter when they contact me?

Unless you have a lifetime contract or you are independently wealthy I recommend you thank every recruiter who calls you and begin to establish a relationship with them.

If you are a young hospitality manager, I recommend staying in touch with those recruiters who show an interest in you. Make sure they have your most up-to-date information at all times and if asked, be sure to recommend other colleagues in your network that you feel may be interested and qualified. It works both ways.

  1. What if more than one recruiter is contacting me?

Then you are indeed a lucky person! Each recruiter can present new opportunities. My advice is to get to know each one, and nurture each relationship. Make sure they know exactly what you are looking for. You never know when it will be critically important. Build relationships!

  1. Do I have to tell each recruiter that I am working with other recruiters?

You will need to maintain a very high standard of discretion in working with recruiters, especially when you are working with multiple recruiters. You’ll need to make a judgement call in the event of a conflict and be the professional. Let the other recruiter know as soon as possible that you are considering other solid offers. You play games with recruiters at your own peril.

  1. What if I receive multiple offers, from different recruiters–how do I handle this?

The professional recruiter is well qualified and eager to help you negotiate the best compensation package possible. In the event of multiple offers at the same time, be up front about this and follow your heart to the opportunity that is the best match for you. You may need to pursue each offer nearly to its conclusion until you are able to make the best decision for you and your family. These can be real moments of soul searching.

Give feedback to the recruiter, and speak up if something doesn’t feel right. In the end. it’s your deal. Remember that the sooner you can give regrets to the other recruiter, the better and kinder it is. Who knows when you’ll need to reach out to that same recruiter in the future? You will be amazed at what a small community of hospitality professionals this can be.

  1. How do I know if a recruiter can help me, and if they are trustworthy, honest and professional?

Word of mouth from your colleagues is important in getting to know the right hospitality recruiters. The Recruiter’s job is one of complete discretion, and they wouldn’t last long if they divulged information that jeopardized a candidate’s current position or future opportunities. Remember that they are generally on your side, are only paid when you are hired, and usually only when you are employed for a minimum period of time. In the event you don’t work out, they may be required to perform another search without additional compensation.

  1. What does a recruiter most need from me?

Honesty and integrity. A full disclosure of your skills and talents. Updated résumés and updated professional references. Referrals to strong candidates.

  1. Should I keep in touch with recruiters, or am I just bothering them?

If you are personally in a search mode, regular contact shows that you are enthusiastically interested in working with them. The recruiter will let you know if you are overdoing it. Remember that your full time job is marketing yourself.

  1. How do I negotiate offers through the recruiter?

I have found that top recruiters are expert at this. They will help you assemble your minimum requirements for the job well in advance. Often, the recruiter will back away and let you handle the negotiation. Use the recruiter as a consultant and take your time. They know the market, and perhaps the history of the property. Much more goes into salary negotiations than just a few numbers.

  1. What if I feel the recruiter isn’t presenting me accurately?

Sometimes it doesn’t seem like the recruiter has a clear picture of your experience. You need to speak up, defend yourself, or better present yourself to him or her. The recruiter is only trying to present you and your skills to their client in the best possible way. The ball is in your court. You should also have a complete understanding of the process the recruiter will go through in representing you to their clients.

Don’t let a recruiter entice you with pie in the sky job opportunities or the fact that he/she will be blanketing your resume all over in order to gain greater visibility for you. This indicates the recruiter’s level of professionalism and how they go about their work.

  1. What if a recruiter doesn’t call me back?

Move on. Life is short. Be tenacious in introducing yourself to other recruiters that might be a better fit for you. You’ll find plenty of recruiters (and people) who aren’t interested in getting to know you, or who will make you feel like you don’t amount to much anyway. They simply need to weed you out from the pack as quickly as possible. Don’t take it personally. They have a job to do too. Be tenacious and move on.

Good luck!

© Copyright 2017 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks