Northshore Magazine

Northshore November 2019

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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65 NOVEMBER 2019 CONTACT was 30, he was wealthier than his father. He had raised the family bar in terms of generational success. Part of DiFillippo's "secret sauce," is his hands-on approach. "I'm involved in everything," he says. "Some owners just get the deals, do the expansion, and then they hand it off to the managers, or someone else does the expansion. I'm part of it all, because I like all of it. I don't want to give up managing and training. I don't want to give up doing the deals and negotiating, because I think I'm the best at it." He pauses and tilts his head. "Most restaurants don't have hospitality ingrained in the staff because the managers are in their offices and are not running the floor. You come in the door and the hostess isn't friendly and the bartender ignores you. Who hired these people? At Davio's our office is the restaurant floor." For every new Davio's, a traveling team arrives to help the new hires learn the "Davio's way." Then, the training team slowly transitions out. "We're serious and we make sure people know their stuff, but we really make sure our people love to work here," says DiFillippo, who goes out of his way make sure each one of his 1,000-plus employees feels respected, is part of a team, and has a voice. They receive gourmet staff meals, incentives, and a personal birthday text from DiFillippo, followed by a card holding a 50-dollar bill. "It's just a little thing, but it means so much," says DiFillippo, referring to the birthday gesture. "It's simply the way I like to treat people." Likewise, his staff goes out of their way to make every guest feel welcome and cared for. They note the diner's preferences, such as sitting at their favorite table with their same beloved waiter and even having the bartender shake up their extra-cold Tito's vodka martini with olives the moment they sit down. The bountiful menu stays fresh with seasonal options alongside treasured classics, using the best possible ingredients prepared with care. Davio's has become a restaurant brand that reflects DiFillippo's values, heart, and soul. At the age of 58, DiFillippo seems busier than ever. Beyond overseeing what has become a 100-million-dollar restaurant empire, he has a line of Davio's branded frozen foods and a licensing agreement with Chelsea-based Kayem Foods to craft sausages for his restaurants and to sell. He has regular speaking gigs, does radio ads, and in 2008 was inducted into the Massachusetts Restaurant Hall of Fame. Yet, he's quick to credit his staff, mentors, and the friends and family for much of his good fortune. And, he's generous too, giving to dozens of charities such as The Greater Boston Food Bank. "When I sit here and reflect on what's become of me and the company, I feel just so fortunate," says DiFillippo. "I just want to help people as much as I can. Now, I have to make sure we're profitable, because we have small margins in this business. But I always think the more we give as a brand, the more we get back."

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