Recently, I received a phone call from the Office of Admissions at the University of Missouri, which happens to be my alma mater. The new chancellor of the University was scheduled to be in my area and wanted to stop by my LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant in Belton, Missouri, for lunch and to thank us for a recent grant we gave to the community.
Bowen Loftin became chancellor of the University of Missouri earlier this year, serving as the University’s 22nd chief executive officer. Bowen manages the campus of more than 34,000 students and more than 13,000 faculty and staff. I was honored that I would have the opportunity to host such an esteemed leader of my former school.
Along with 10 other people, Bowen stopped by for lunch and thanked me for our team’s recent Restaurant Community Grant. We donated $1,000 to the Cass County 4-H here in our area. The Cass County 4-H is an extension of the University of Missouri, so the opportunity to provide them with the grant was especially meaningful to me. The Cass County 4-H program gives at-risk youth and their parents the opportunity to work on projects to help build life skills. Our grant was used to purchase supplies to allow participants to create a potted garden, located at the University of Missouri Extension Office. They maintain the garden, which contains fruits and vegetables, and learn teamwork, confidence-building skills and food security. Bowen mentioned that the garden helped turn around many lives. I was proud to know that our contribution went directly to such a great, tangible program here in our local community.
I started at LongHorn Steakhouse eight years ago as a server when I was still at the University of Missouri majoring in biology and health sciences. I ended up falling in love with the restaurant industry so decided to continue into management after graduating. I was promoted to Managing Partner last year, so this was the first Restaurant Community Grant that I got to give, which was a great feeling.
Bowen asked if I’d be interested in returning to my alma mater and speaking to students in their hospitality program about what it’s like in the industry, maintaining work/life balance and other topics students might find interesting. I’m excited for this opportunity to give back to my university and to share my love and passion for LongHorn and the restaurant industry.
By: Blake Limbaugh, Managing Partner, LongHorn Steakhouse