Peter Herrero

Never yell, never use profanity and never put an employee down—that’s Peter Herrero Jr.’s mantra for being a boss. “It’s important to connect with the staffers,” says Herrero, founder/GM of the White Plains-based NY Hospitality Group. “But don’t accept excuses. Being a boss is a balance between being human and being a drill sergeant.”  

According to Herrero, a boss must set his team up for success, which means establishing clear lines of communication, clearing obstacles that prevent staffers from doing their job, and providing tools they need to be their best. “I’m constantly asking my staffers, ‘What do you need in order to do your job most effectively?’”

Herrero has “a deep understanding of what it takes to run a successful operation,” says Executive Chef Joe Sasso. “The staff feels appreciated and valued, and, therefore, vested in that success.”

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Herrero’s industry knowledge comes from 36 years of experience—working his way from dishwasher to manager while working at several different restaurants and catering halls. He ultimately bought Sam’s Saloon in 1986, renaming it Sam’s of Gedney Way. The 16-person operation started growing, as he added the Great American BBQ Co. and Caperberry Events divisions in 1995 and 1996, respectively. 

The best thing about leading a staff that now comprises 42 fulltime employees (plus 38 part-timers) is “seeing people grow and fulfill their dreams,” he says. For instance, the young man from India who had no restaurant experience that Herrero hired as a busboy, who, within nine months, was promoted to waiter. He’s now married with three kids and owns a co-op in White Plains. 

Over the years, Herrero’s management style has changed. “I’m less hands-on than when I first became a boss. I’ve learned it’s more about managing a smart system than people.” Instead, he’s found it better to lead by example.

“He hands coffee and Gatorade to us,” says Sasso, “rather than the other way around.”       

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