Gil’s Supper Club knows a little something about what it takes for a family business to survive and thrive. Gil’s has been in the Smith family’s hands since 1986. The Smith family has some advice and a few tips for those interested in starting a family business of their own.
Gil’s Supper Club founder, Gil Morton, began the restaurant in 1962. Mike and Cindy Smith purchased Gil’s in 1986. After Mike passed away a little over 8 years ago, Cindy carried on the family business. Today, she and her sons run Gil’s, as well as its sister business and neighbor, The Warehouse. Between them, they employ over 45 people.
So, what’s the recipe for success?
Family businesses make up as much as 80% of businesses in the United States, and employ roughly 60% of American workers. They are a popular choice for business enterprise, but they require tact and a clear head. Anytime family and business mix, emotions can get in the way. To avoid hard feelings, as well as maximize your human and business capital:
- Put the right people in the right positions. Don’t be tempted to put a family member in the wrong position just because of the familial relationship. Set your business and your employees up for success by maximizing each person’s existing personal strengths. Cindy has longtime employees in the right jobs who have contributed to Gil’s success. For example, her kitchen manager, whom she calls “the master,” has been with her for over two decades.
- Have fun and love what you do. Cindy says she loves restaurant work because she gets to meet new people as well as use her good organizational skills. Start a business you believe in and that brings you together as a family in a positive way. Just don’t forget to have fun with the family outside of work, too!
- Develop a signature specialty. Whether it’s a dish, like Gil’s famous fried chicken, a house cocktail, a perfume blend, or a special service, develop your family’s brand not just through name or logo, but a specialty that customers and clients can get only from your business.
To read more about the history of Gil’s Supper Club, click here!
Gil’s Supper Club in Hanna City, Illinois, has been in business since 1962. Come in and try our legendary fried chicken, made from the same famous recipe we have used for the past 50 years. Call (309) 565-7889 to make a reservation, and visit our Facebook page to see our menu, photos, and our rave reviews!