After 24 years, Crain’s Chicago Business revisited and interviewed Marc Schulman, the President of Eli’s Cheesecake. In 1989, Crain’s named Marc one of the 40 under 40, which is a list of now nearly 1,000 up-and-coming Chicagoans. Check out the interview for yourself, read it online: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130410/SPOTLIGHT/130409920/ or watch it the interview by clicking the picture above.
Posts Tagged Marc Schulman
Eli’s Cheesecake & President Marc Schulman Profiled in the March 2013 issue of Today’s Chicago Woman
The Eli’s Cheesecake legacy thrives.
Marc Schulman is the ultimate Chicago food industry veteran. He’s perhaps the largest cream cheese buyer this side of the Mississippi (a must if you’re going to churn out 15,000 cheesecakes a day). And having a knack for mass production with a heart as big as the giant slice of cheesecake I couldn’t help but indulge in during our interview, Mr. Schulman is one of my all-time favorite foodies.
How did Eli’s Cheesecake begin?
It was the dream of my father, Eli Schulman, who started with Eli’s The Place For Steak, a steakhouse on Chicago Avenue. He was a great restaurateur/host, but he always dreamt of creating a signature dish that could be sold outside the restaurant. It was at the first Taste of Chicago where Eli’s Cheesecake made its debut. We then evolved into an independent company and, over time, grew as both our distributions and product offerings grew.
How many cheesecakes do you sell a day?
About 15,000. So we have about 200,000-300,000 servings daily. It adds up. And the distribution could go as far as Russia and Saudi Arabia; we do a lot of big business in London.
What’s the key to continued success?
Growing up in a family that was really passionate about quality and service, it’s about serving our customers – working with them and being creative. Also, growing up in the restaurant business you become very appreciative of the dishwasher and bus boy. We try to run a business where everyone is really important.
You’re very popular among local celebrities, too!
In 1985 when the Bears went to the Super Bowl, Harold Washington said, ‘We have Chicago hot hogs, deep dish pizza and Eli’s Cheesecake.’ And it was the first time we became national. So it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve also done the mayor’s birthday cake for him for the last three years.
Favorite part of your job?
Seeing customers, talking about my dad and his heritage. I wear the watch Frank Sinatra gave him. It’s a great legacy. My dad, a child of immigrants, was born in 1910. Here we are 103 years later telling his story, and I get to work with really smart, dedicated people.
Who inspires you?
My parents and the people I work with. And great people in my life like [former] Governor James Thompson and Tony Valukas, whom I worked for as a lawyer. I’ve been very fortunate. Chicago’s a great place; people cheer you on.
Best advice you’ve received?
A few things that had to deal with cash flow. I forgot what the saying is, something like, ‘Cash is more important than your mother.’ I don’t know that I’d put it at that level, but I think businesses work when you’re in it for the long-term. And, too often, we look at businesses very transactionally. You’re going to have good years and bad ones, but the question is ‘will you be long-term?’
Favorite hidden gem?
Growing up, my dad worked six days a week. But then one night Richard J. Daley came in and he wasn’t here, so he then worked seven days. Whenever we did go out, we always went to Kow Kow Restaurant in Lincolnwood.
Craziest customer experience?
We’ve had people drive a day, overnight, to get cheesecake or come for our sales. We’ve had some incredible fans.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Crain’s Chicago Business just featured the 23rd anniversary of ‘40 under 40,’ and I was in the first group, which had Oprah Winfrey, David Axelrod, John Rogers, Linda Johnson Rice and me. I was doing the same thing I was doing 23 years ago. So I hope I’m doing the same thing I’m doing now.
Listen to today’s interview with Marc Schulman, Eli’s Cheesecake President, on the Noon Show with Carol Ross on WGN about the Eli’s Cheesecake family business and how the company evolved. http://wgnradio.com/2013/01/29/working-within-a-family-business/
Eli’s Marc Schulman and Students and Staff from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Attend “For Democracy’s Future:Education Reclaims our Civic Mission” Forum at the White House
The “For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission” Forum was held at the White House on January 10th. The event brought together higher education and k-12 leaders as well as policy makers and stakeholders to discuss the importance of civic learning and engagement in democracy for the 21st century.
Representing the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences at the White House Forum was Principal William Hook, Lucille Shaw and Sheila Fowler, current students Alex Villerreal and Bobbie Briggs and graduate, Dantrell Cotton, now a student at the University of Wisconsin. Cotton was on a panel at the Forum with Molly Jahn, Professor of Agronomy and Genetics at Wisconsin speaking about the importance of partnerships and civic engagement at CHSAS and at the University.
Following the Forum, there was a Reception for participants at the Blair House, the official guest residence of the President. Joining the CHSAS contingent was Molly Jahn, Marc, Elana and Maureen Schulman.
Elana and Marc Schulman with Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the Reception at the Blair House. Secretary Duncan referenced his ties to Chicago–to the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Marc Schulman, the Mikva Challenge and Brian Brady, the Director of the Challenge in his remarks below closing the Forum.
Eli’s Marc Schulman and Lucille Shaw of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences with Brenda Dann-Messier, the Assistant Secretary of Education for Adult and Vocational Education, at the reception at the Blair House. Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier was the commencement speaker at CHSAS in 2011.
Secretary Arne Duncan’s Remarks at “For Democracy’s Future” Forum at the White House
January 10, 2012
This is a great day and an important moment for education leaders who want to take civic learning to greater heights and expand its impact. And it is an important day for all of us who care about nurturing a vibrant democracy. As we’re nearing the end of our conference, I’ll try to keep my remarks relatively brief. But I hope this meeting will be the start of something big for the civic learning movement, which has failed to receive the attention it richly deserves.
My hope is that this meeting will serve as a call to action–to make civic learning and democratic engagement a staple of every American’s education, from elementary school to college and to careers. The publications of A Crucible Moment and the Guardian Of Democracy reports, the formation of the American Commonwealth Partnership, and the release of our own roadmap today for advancing civic learning and democratic engagement, are an auspicious beginning.
Unfortunately, we know that civic learning and democratic engagement are not staples of every American’s education today. In too many schools and on too many college campuses, civic learning and democratic engagement are add-ons, rather than an essential part of the core academic mission. Too many elementary and secondary schools are pushing civics and service-learning to the sidelines, mistakenly treating education for citizenship as a distraction from preparing students for college-level mathematics, English, Science, and other core subjects.
And most institutions of higher education now offer civic learning as an elective, not as a critical component of preparing students to compete in a knowledge-based, global economy.
This shunting to the sidelines of civic education, service learning, political participation, and community service is counterproductive. Preparing all students for informed, engaged participation in civic and democratic life is not just essential–it is entirely consistent with the goals of increasing student achievement and closing achievement gaps.
It is consistent with preparing students for 21st century careers. And it is consistent with President Obama’s goal to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. As Tony Wagner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education says, there is a “happy convergence between the skills most needed in the global knowledge economy and those most needed to keep our democracy safe and vibrant.”
Now, it is sometimes said that civic learning is old school education. In an era of texts and tweets, and the instant democracy of the Web, civic education can seem antiquated. And it is absolutely the case that much needs to be done to reinvigorate and elevate the quality of civic learning in America. Yet even the most casual glimpse around the globe today shows that civic learning and democracy very much matter in 2012.
From the uprisings in the Arab Spring to the tragic shootings a year ago in Tucson at a Congress on the Corner event, Americans have been reminded again that freedom matters—and that democracy is its embodiment.
The advent of a knowledge-based, global economy opens up unprecedented opportunities, but it creates unprecedented global challenges as well. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas anymore—or anywhere else in America. The United States can no longer meet global challenges like developing sustainable sources of energy, reducing poverty and disease, or curbing air pollution and global warming, without collaborating with other countries. And the U.S. cannot meet those global challenges, both here in our local communities or abroad, without dramatically improving the quality and breadth of civic learning and democratic engagement.
These new global and communal challenges will require U.S. students to develop better critical thinking skills and cross-cultural understanding. Fortunately, high-quality civic learning equips students with the very skills they need to succeed in the 21st century—the ability to communicate effectively, to work collectively, to ask critical questions, and to thrive in diverse workplaces. It’s also worth remembering, as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says, that civic knowledge is not inherited “through the gene pool.” It is not passed on in mother’s milk. It is learned—at school, and at the dinner table. Schools matter.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, the landmark law which created our nation’s land-grant universities, and subsequently our nation’s Historic Black Colleges and Universities. Since our founding, America’s leaders have recognized that one of the most important purposes of educating the nation’s citizens is to protect and strengthen democracy. Many Americans are aware that the founders stressed the importance of civic learning and participation in K-12 education. But fewer people realize that civic learning has played a longstanding leading role in higher education as well.
That is one reason why I am so encouraged by the new report that our Department commissioned from an independent, blue-ribbon task force of educators, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future. It presents a smart and thorough analysis of civic learning and democratic engagement in higher education. And I absolutely share the task force’s sense of urgency about the need to bolster civic learning and engagement on our nation’s campuses and in our communities. One of the most troubling findings of the task force report is that the longer students stay in college, the wider the gap becomes between “their endorsement of social responsibility as a goal of college and their assessment of whether the institution is providing opportunities for growth in this area.”
Surveys find that only about one in four college seniors report that their understanding of the problems facing their community and their knowledge of people from different races and cultures were much stronger at the end of college than at its start. These findings make plain that our institutions of higher education—and their elementary and secondary school partners—need to expand and transform their approach to civic learning and democratic engagement. This is not a time for tinkering, for incremental change around the margins. At no school or college should students graduate with less civic literacy and engagement than when they arrived. More and better is the challenge before us–and that is why your leadership is critical if we are to take this work to another level.
As the task force report also makes clear, the quality of civic learning is not a new concern. Our founders believed that informed citizens were a bulwark against tyranny and vital to a functioning democracy. Recall that Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Benjamin Franklin also believed college should not be reserved for the elite, but should instead cultivate “an inclination joined with the ability to serve mankind, one’s country, friends, and family.” And President Lincoln, who signed the Morrill Act in the midst of the Civil War, declared that education was the “most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” This deep-seated commitment to civic learning and engagement peaked in higher education after World War II, when millions of G.I.’s headed to colleges and universities on the G.I. Bill.
In 1947, President Truman’s Commission on Higher Education released a landmark report that called for states to create a system of community colleges to help accommodate the vast number of returning veterans enrolling in higher education. It is telling that the commission did not present its recommendations simply as an economic imperative. In fact, it argued that “the first and foremost charge upon higher education is that at all levels and in all its fields of specialization, it shall be the carrier of democratic values, ideals, and process.”
Today, 65 years later, I am absolutely convinced that this is the moment to advance civic learning and democratic engagement, once again. The time is ripe for reform because the state of civic knowledge and engagement among Americans is poor–even as the interest in civic learning and engagement among students, teachers, and faculty is growing. A new generation of innovative, entrepreneurial organizations is promoting civic learning and engagement at many schools and college campuses. Some are government-led initiatives like AmeriCorps and our Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. But there are so many outstanding public, non-profit, and private initiatives, like the Campus Compact, Ashoka U, the Interfaith Youth Core, Justice O’Connor’s iCivics online initiative–and many other service-learning programs, social entrepreneurship, and civil discourse programs that have blossomed in the last two decades.
Unlike traditional civic education, civic learning and democratic engagement 2.0 is more ambitious and participatory than in the past. To paraphrase Justice O’Connor, the new generation of civic education initiatives move beyond your “grandmother’s civics” to what has been labeled “action civics.” The goals of traditional civic education–to increase civic knowledge, voter participation, and volunteerism–are all still fundamental. But the new generation of civic learning puts students at the center. It includes both learning and practice—not just rote memorization of names, dates, and processes. And more and more, civic educators are harnessing the power of technology and social networking to engage students across place and time.
How do I know that the new generation of civic learning can be both engaging and exacting? I was lucky enough to have the opportunity both to promote and witness the impact of high-quality civic learning firsthand when I was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. I see that Brian Brady from the Mikva Challenge in Chicago is here today. So is my friend, Marc Schulman, and a number of students from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. That was one of my favorite high schools. They have produced hundreds of civic learners who have done some amazing projects in their communities. Brian helped those students to organize and run an advisory council for me. And their insights on how policy decisions impacted students’ lives were profound and invaluable to me and my team. The Mikva Challenge has also done an incredible job of recruiting and training high school seniors and juniors to serve as election judges in Chicago. Now, anyone who knows Chicago politics, knows that is not an easy job! But literally, even before they can vote, high school juniors in Chicago are now signing up to be election judges. The Mikva Challenge recruits and trains 2,500 high school students in Chicago for each election cycle. And those students account for nearly 20 percent of election judges in Chicago. Could Brian, Marc, and the students here today stand to be recognized?
Finally, I want to encourage everyone here today to read the Road Map and Call to Action that our Department is releasing today to advance civic learning and engagement in democracy. It outlines our agency’s role in civic learning. And it lists nine steps we will take as we strive to serve as a constructive catalyst for change. I want to especially thank Undersecretary Martha Kanter, Assistant Secretary Eduardo Ochoa, Phil Martin, and Taylor Stanek for their leadership in putting together today’s Call to Action. They intuitively understand the profound and enduring value of civic learning, and they have been tireless advocates for civic learning and engagement efforts. I know they are grateful to the Steering Committee, which has been instrumental in preparing today’s program and bringing all of us together. I won’t take the time now to run through the nine steps in our Call to Action in detail. But it’s important to recognize that our Department is already doing a lot to support civic learning and democratic engagement–and that we have a special opportunity now to enhance those efforts.
The Federal Work-Study program currently mandates that institutions of higher education use at least seven percent of the total amount of funds awarded to provide community service jobs for students. In the 2009-10 award year, $222 million was used to fund community service jobs—and that sum doesn’t include a much larger pot of non-federal matching funds. To cite another example, our Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is working with the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service to oversee the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Several hundred colleges and universities have signed onto the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. To date, more than 270 colleges and universities have committed to a year of interfaith and community service programming on their campuses. College students participating in the Challenge select one service priority for their interfaith initiative, in areas such as poverty and education, health services, and support programs for veterans and military families. Our team is convinced that there is much more that we can do to further enhance civic learning and democratic engagement.
We can convene, catalyze, and recognize K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions that are committed to high-quality civic learning.
We can encourage states, schools and postsecondary institutions to conduct civic audits and publish their plans and outcomes for educating students for informed engagement in civic life. We can identify additional civic indicators. We can spotlight promising practices–and encourage further research to learn what works. We can leverage federal investments and public-private partnerships. We can–and we will–encourage public service careers, especially to help in the outreach, recruitment, and hiring of more than 1.6 million great teachers that our nation will need over the next decade. And we will continue to support civic learning as part of a well-rounded K-12 curriculum. I also ask you to challenge us with how we can be most helpful. And, while we are passionate and committed, we are absolutely clear that we cannot begin to do this work alone. To succeed, this great effort to advance civic learning and engagement in democracy needs visionary leaders. It needs higher education faculty and deans, and teachers and principals from our K-12 schools. It needs creative non-profits, foundations, dedicated entrepreneurs, business leaders, jurists, artists, actors, and lawmakers.
And it needs federal, state, and local leaders to promote high-quality civic learning and establish innovative public-private partnerships.
That is why I am so inspired by the quality of commitments from the education community announced earlier today. It is why I am so encouraged to see the extraordinary coalition that has joined hands in the American Commonwealth Partnership to promote high-quality civic learning and new forms of engagement and scholarship.
With your courage and your commitment, I believe we will begin to restore civic learning and democratic engagement to its rightful place in our nation’s schools and colleges.
Thank you—and thanks to everyone for their participation in today’s meeting. Together, let’s get to work.
Eli’s Cheesecake’s Marc Schulman Delivers Commencement Address to the Baccalaureate Degree Recipients at the Culinary Institute of America on Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Eli’s Marc, Maureen and Elana Schulman with Peter Rainsford, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Tim Ryan, President of the Culinary Institute of America.
Tim Ryan, Marc Schulman and Peter Rainsford celebrate the Processional for the November 10th Commencement for the Culinary Institute of America.
Marc Schulman addresses the 154 graduates and 0ver 800 family members and guests at the Commencement Ceremony for the November Graduates receiving their Bachelor’s Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts Management and Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts Management from the Hyde Park, New York Campus of the Culinary Institute of America.
The Culinary Institute of America holds Graduation Ceremonies ever three weeks for recipients of the Associate’s Degree in Baking and Culinary Arts and several graduations each year for recipients of the Bachelor’s Degree. Marc Schulman, the President of Eli’s Cheesecake was honored to deliver the Thursday address and Ben Pollinger, Culinary Institute of America Graduate ’97 and Executive Chef of Oceana in New York was the speaker for the Friday Associate’s Ceremony.
Marc S. Schulman
President-The Eli’s Cheesecake Company
Bachelor of Professional Studies
Culinary Institute of America
November 10, 2011
President Ryan, Vice President Rainsford, Members of the Faculty, Honored Guests & Members of the November Graduating Class of the Culinary Institute of America. I am so glad to be here!
Today marks a most important day in your careers and personal lives. Each of you has a compelling story of what it took to get here…of sacrifice, of so many hours worked. It is truly a glorious day for each of you and your families.
For me it is also an important day…my daughter, Elana, is here with my wife, Maureen. Our youngest daughter will graduate from Vassar College, very close to here, in May of 2012, and on that day I will have the privilege of sitting in the audience with all the pride that your parents are experiencing today.
Today, the culinarians, many of them graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, are among America’s top stylesetters for food and lifestyles. To think that All My Children would be cancelled for “The Chew” or that Mario Batali would be invited to sit on a panel of America’s most influential opinion makers to discuss who should be the TIME Magazine 2011 Person of the Year just shows that the influence of chefs’ and restauranteurs goes far beyond the walls of their restaurants.
All of this heightened attention to the food & restaurant industry goes on in a very turbulent economic time with the impact of the recession affecting all kinds of restaurants as consumers are forced to trade down or forgo dining out. In many ways, this environment mirrors that when my dad, Eli Schulman, started in the restaurant business—1940. There was 14% unemployment and my dad, who was forced to drop out of high school in 1926 when his father died, found a foreclosure notice on his neighborhood coffee shop…… weeks later he was in the restaurant business…getting in business for very little money down….in many ways the conditions of today as the overbuilding of restaurants and other retail businesses creates unique opportunities for aspiring restaurateurs to walk in a fully fixed restaurant..
That accidental entry to the restaurant business by my dad, later joined by my mother, Esther Schulman, when they married in 1948, led to a great legacy with Eli’s Stage Delicatessen and then Eli’s the Place for Steak, an award winning steak house on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, that was open from 1966 until it closed in 2005 for the construction of the new home of Children’s Memorial Hospital.
Growing up my life revolved around our restaurant. Trick or treating on Oak Street, every celebration at the restaurant….even meeting my wife and partner, Maureen, at Table 10 at Eli’s the Place for Steak.
My parents put education first and I was given the choice of two professional careers….a lawyer or a doctor…the closest I came to being a doctor is the white lab coat that I wear daily at the bakery.
At an early age I became interested in becoming Builder –an individual who would bring together all the parts of a transaction…I thought of architecture, a real estate developer and then ultimately became interested in law while attending the University of Denver as Eli’s was a gathering place for politicians, lawyers and the faculty from Northwestern Law School down the block. For the three years that I attended Northwestern, I lived upstairs of the restaurant…on call to meet the celebrities of the day..Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Carson, Sean Connery and Frank Sinatra…who gave my dad the watch I proudly wear today.
After law school, I practiced law for five years representing many family business like ours. You would do a transaction and then look for another client; not the long term relationships that I saw with my parents and their customers.
I figured that I would either pursue a long term career in law…and someone would ask me 30 years later…who was Eli or I would join my parents in the restaurant business and always feel that I missed out on pursuing my dream.
Along the way, my dad had a dream—to create a signature dish that could be sold outside of the restaurant (he talked a lot about Hershey and Wrigley). I am lucky it turned out to be cheesecake as our restaurant was well known for calves liver Eli and chicken in the pot, great dishes that don’t have the universal appeal of cheesecake.
Developed by my dad in his kitchen, Eli’s Cheesecake made its public debut at the first Taste of Chicago in 1980…it was an instant hit at Taste and in 1984, I took a short term leave from law and a big pay cut to see if I could grow the Eli’s Brand.
Sadly my dad passed away in 1988 but he did see our growth and took such great pride when Harold Washington took our cheesecake to the Super Bowl in 1985 and went on network TV to say he had brought Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, Ribs, Hot Dogs, and Eli’s Cheesecake…a Chicago Icon that was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of 10 Chicago’s Most Famous Foods in its Commemorative 150th Anniversary Issue.
Along the way we have served our cheesecake at the White House, created Presidential Inaugural Cheesecake’s in 1993, 1997 and 2009 and baked the 50th Birthday Cakes for Hillary Clinton and President Obama.
I share these milestones….because it shows how far the dream of an entrepreneurial restaurateur can go. Here we are 72 years since my dad opened that first restaurant…and I am here sharing my parents’ story. How rewarding!
And it is the heart of the restaurateur…the passion for quality, customer service and the commitment to people that allows us to grow in these most challenging economic times.
My dad had a saying on his menu….”we shall serve good food…at a profit if we can…at a loss if we must…but always good food.” From day one, our ingredients in our cheesecake were superior…Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla from Neilsen-Massey, Cultured Sour Cream and Cream Cheese, a hand baked artisan cookie crust. We never compromised on quality…and today with educated customers like you….they bake it themselves or they pay the price realizing you can buy our cheesecake at a price less than you could do it in your kitchen.
We are local..all made in Chicago…active in the community from our Weekly Farmers Market during the summer to our long term partnership with the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and Wright College and by donating desserts to hundreds of organizations throughout the year…and hosting a Giving Tree event at the holidays where each of our associates has a supply of cheesecakes and desserts to deliver to a worthy organization of their choice.
My dad was at the door of his restaurant every night. With the exception that he did make his family first…closing on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and taking three weeks off at Christmas, but other than that at the door and greeting every customer. He used to take Sunday nights off but then the first Mayor Daley came in on a Sunday asking for my dad; when he learned he wasn’t there, he didn’t come in. After that it was 7 days a week!
But while he was at the restaurant, Eli’s was surrounded by friends. I am amazed today at how many people reach out to me to share a story of what my dad for them and the special relationships that they developed. Just this past week, when the famed surgeon, Mark Utz, the son of famed surgeon, Dr. David Utz of the Mayo Clinic, contacted me with the sad news that his dad has passed away at the age of 87. Marc wanted me to know how important my dad had been to Dr. Utz—a relationship that started with Dr. Utz, became a doctor-patient relationship and expanded to dear friends. What started as a one time dining decision turned into something quite special…..and I have heard that story so many times.
That one on one marketing that Eli achieved by a handwritten note or a monthly statement or a phone call has now been enhanced by the importance of social media and how and who you can tell your story to…with recipes and ideas brought life to many…..but making the recipient a friend as well as a customer. Social media has given so much power to the chef, to the farmer and to the specialty food company. We have real news about our craft and we share it directly with our customers and fans without the cost of advertising and without any editorial limits.
I have to say that I was delighted the Dionne Reid accepted my invitation to connect on Linkedin. I did a search for references to the CIA and this graduating class and Dionne’s info came up. Her bio is outstanding and she is a person that I certainly wanted to associate with.
My dad taught me to run our business like it is a restaurant….with intense customer service seeking the highest quality customer satisfaction and marketing our company through the most important asset any business has….”good will” and reaching out to each customer to make them know how much you care.
One great thing about our industry is the people who are attracted to be our co-workers. It is not the highest paying industry and has the worst hours, but it has the most loyal. To my dad, the most valuable associate at Eli’s was his team of busy boys who could reset a table in what seemed seconds. Never would a water glass remain half empty or a customer need unattended to. When we were forced to announce that Eli’s the Place for Steak would be closing in 6 months, we lost one person out of 50—everyone else stayed to the end.
In our bakery business which now employs over 220 associates, we have attracted many individuals with food service back grounds and our turnover is minimal. Eli’s the Place for Steak had a run of 39 years and many of our people at Eli’s Cheesecake now have over 20 years of service.
Our people have demonstrated amazing fortitude getting to work on the biggest snow storm in Chicago in a dozen years, learning new skills as our business evolves and sharing our concern for the customer. We are fortunate to have diverse group of associates including new immigrants and refugees who bring compelling stories from their countries of birth, recent high school graduates who continue their studies at our neighbor and educational partner, Wright College, and individuals with disabilities who job shadow with us while studying at Vaughn High School or are referred by the Anixter Center if they are hearing impaired.
Today I want to thank Peter Rainsford and his wife Fran for introducing me to the CIA. It is about professionalism….about the ability to know how to give a customer the best experience possible…each of you having that magic of Eli or a Steve Jobs.
Today our business is all about our culinary skills and our knowledge in food….procurement, safety, preparation. My great passion is education…in Chicago with the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences…a college prep high school located on the last working farm in the City of Chicago. I see these young people get outstanding training in food science, animal science, crop sciences and horticulture….all fields so closely aligned to the Farm to Fork Movement that is so important today. Equally important is that these student “learn though doing”….obviously something that your education is all about. In an economy that needs critical thinkers and leaders in science, technology, engineering and math….you have been forced to master so many fundamentals to make sure your cakes rise, cheesecake’s don’t crack and have enough sugar.
I also congratulate you on joining an industry that gives so much back to the community. From hosting dinners to supporting food banks and education, there is no group that gives more than restaurateurs.
So I am here today to congratulate you as the “Masters of Universe;” not because you will to Wall Street to buy and sell companies but because you will create and build the successful restaurants and hospitality companies of the future… You make things and you will make a difference.
Congratulations Graduates! Go Steels!
“Working” the Musical is based on the best-selling book of interviews with American workers by legendary Chicago author Studs Terkel. Stephen Schwartz and Nina Fasco adapted “Working” into a stage play Working exploring the American workday from the Monday morning blues to a working person’s pride in having “something to point to.”
For its Chicago run at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, local Chicagoans in various professions were invited to host post-performance discussions about their careers “at work.” Eli’s Marc and Maureen Schulman were delighted to participate sharing stories about our founder, Eli Schulman, Eli’s the Place for Steak, Eli’s Big Cakes and the story about building the Eli M. Schulman Playground at Seneca Park.
FamilyFarmed EXPO is a three-day conference, trade show and food festival for farmers, businesses, the trade, individuals and families. Follow along on Twitter at @FamilyFarmed or Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/FamilyFarmed
Hope to see you there!
PrezRelease–the Blog of U of I President Mike Hogan Highlights meeting of Hogan, Chancellor Easter and Eli’s Marc Schulman
Eli’s Marc Schulman Delivers Keynote Address for City of Chicago Business Works Seminar at Wright College