"How I Got into the Restaurant Business:" Huey's Lauren Boggs McHugh's family ties
Note: This is the second entry in our new weekly blog, "Beyond the Bio," where we ask MBQ Power Players to write a post of their choosing about their industry. The Power Players category in the November/December 2012 MBQ is Restaurateurs. Last week we had Ben Smith of Tsunami talking about the "new normal." This week, Lauren Boggs McHugh, president and co-owner of Huey's, shares her thoughts on growing up in the food industry. Check this space weekly for future installments of "Beyond the Bio."
In the 1970s, my dad [Thomas Boggs] would bring me and my sisters to work with him to Huey’s Midtown on the weekends, to open up the restaurant. He would give us a roll of quarters to share so we could play pinball in the game room.
We were also allowed to help ourselves to the chips stored behind the bar and all the Coke or Dr. Pepper we could drink. This was a big treat for us.
Then, we would move the tables just enough out of the way so we could see ourselves in the big mirror over the bar. This is when we would do cheers in front of the mirror.
As we got older, we would come to work and go to the kitchen to bread onion rings or make salads for the day. We basically worked for free.
While I was in high school, I worked at Louies and Don Tio’s, two concepts in which my dad was involved. I was a busser and hostess until I turned 18. Once I was old enough to wait tables and serve alcohol, I became a waitress at Huey’s. This was how I earned my spending money.
I waited tables all through college until I graduated and got my first “real job” at National Bank of Commerce. I worked there for about 5-and-a-half years until I came back to Huey’s.
Dad and his partner, Jay Sheffield, were opening up a third location, Huey’s Cordova. He wanted me to run it. I was very excited and, even though that was almost 20 years ago, I still remember that time so vividly. It was fun and hectic and crazy. Dad worked with me and my sister Ashley on a regular basis. He was so great with the guests and taught us so much about customer service.
Back then, we worked 60 hours a week. That’s just what you did.
Power Players Bio:
Lauren Boggs McHugh
President and co-owner of Huey's seven locations and partner of Memphis' Folk's Folly Steakhouse, Half Shell, and Tsunami. Bachelor's in Business and Marketing from University of Memphis; Master's in Management. Previously worked for National Bank of Commerce in the Bank Card and Commercial Lending Divisions; Huey's board as a general manager and vice-president. Currently serves on the Board of Directors for Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. Member of the Kiwanis Club of Memphis. Graduate of Leadership Memphis, class of 2007. Co-Chair for Feed the Need.