With three successful restaurants in Ottawa and several awards like the Top Independent Restaurateur in Ontario, Stephen Beckta, came to Algonquin on Jan. 24 to talk to students and faculty about the hospitality and tourism world.
Beckta is a 1997 grad of the college, with an honours certificate from the sommelier program, which helped him define his career path and ambitions.
“It certainly helped launch my career,” said Beckta.
During his lecture, he explained that “genuine and extraordinary” hospitality is the key to success when working in the field. Through stories, he taught that genuine hospitality doesn’t have to be something big to deliver exceptional service.
As long as your listening to the needs of the customer, and attempt to go above and beyond for them, it will make them feel special and will cause them to keep coming back to your establishment.
“It can be the small things,” said Beckta. “Hospitality is about creating a culture of yes.”
His stories were as charming as they were inspiring, as he explained that being nice and caring is the best way to connect with people. Food and wine are his tools to make people feel comfortable.
“Find new and interesting ways to care for people in our community,” said Beckta.
After graduating from Algonquin, Beckta went on to hone his skills in New York and upon returning to Ottawa he was able to open his first restaurant: Beckta Dining and Wine in 2003.
“I was successful when I opened my first restaurant,” said Beckta.
Melissa Marchand, acting events officer of the AC Hub, explained that master classes are held once a month to connect students with Algonquin grads who have become industry leaders. Because Beckta is a recent grad, Marchand hosted his class to showcase his success as an Algonquin alumnus.
“He has an amazing story to share and is a hospitality guru,” said Marchand.