Janicka Green is so intuitive and confident that she doesn’t use recipes or measure ingredients when she prepares a meal. “I cook the way I feel in the moment, and my family and I think I’m pretty good at it,” she said.
So it makes sense that the senior vice president of operations for LongHorn Steakhouse trusted her instincts when she joined the brand 13 years ago. “I knew from the start that I could do well at LongHorn, and it felt right,” she said. “The brand believes and acts upon its core values and mission statement in the way it treats guests and each other, which drives guest counts and sales. LongHorn was then and still is growing at a wonderful rate.”
Janicka had worked as a server at another restaurant company while in college. “I decided that my heart was in the restaurant business. It was the energy, the teamwork, the atmosphere and the hospitality that I was able to give and receive from other people.”
When her company began to close restaurants, she moved to LongHorn in 2005 as a restaurant manager in Columbia, MD. “When you join a new restaurant company, you expect to have to wait for a new opportunity, but LongHorn seeks out and leans in to find the next managing partner or director of operations,” she said. “It’s not just about tenure, it’s about your willingness and capacity to do the job. So I was able to move up and become a managing partner at LongHorn with the help of champions who mentored and supported me.”
A string of promotions followed: to director of operations in 2011, director of operations excellence in 2016 and her current role in Feb. 2018.
She is happy to advise team members who want to follow in her footsteps. “Be bold and confident and state your intentions. Take ownership of your development, seek out mentors to support you, and focus on developing clear communication skills. As a restaurant manager, you have to get things done through others. The only way to do that is to not only tell them what needs to be done, but why it needs to be done.”
A foodservice career offers other benefits, too. “You will learn foundational skills and leadership techniques that you can take with you throughout your entire life whether it’s at home with your family or in another career.”
The work also offers variety. Each day in the restaurant is as different as the meals Janicka prepares for her family. “Maybe I will cook something savory or maybe it will be spicy, but it won’t taste the same way twice. And that’s the way I like it.”