Written by The Business Journal Staff
Edwin Aguilar, General Manager
90 El Camino,
What we do:
Yard House serves a combination of great food, fun music and over 100 craft beers in a vibrant atmosphere.
Wife, Jami Aguilar, and five children:
Carter Edwin Aguilar – age 15
Trevor Luis Aguilar – age 13
Trenton Cole Aguilar- age 10
Colby Anthony Aguilar – age 4
Tessa Marie Aguilar- age 1
How did you come to your position as general manager at Yard House, Edwin?
When I joined the Yard House team in 2010 as a trainee, I did not expect to get a General Manager position right away. However, my managers saw something in me that they believed would make me a good leader. I was completely stunned when I was told that I was being promoted. It was truly a humbling experience.
The restaurant seems to have gathered a large following locally since opening. What makes the Yard House unique for the area, Edwin?
Fresno is a very family-oriented city with a big focus on sports, and that’s what we are all about at Yard House. Families come in to listen to music, watch sports and enjoy great food. It makes for a fun family dining experience.
How has your past experience with other restaurants come into play?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with great managers and learn some important lessons. The advantage to that was that I was able to pick and choose the best characteristics and the best quality from each of them and then develop my own style of managing based upon all of them.
What have been some of your goals for the restaurant, Edwin?
Nothing is more valuable than having your guests come back to your restaurant because they enjoy it. We have a great concept at Yard House, and my goal has always been to create a place that people like to visit.
You recently attained Darden Restaurants’ Diamond Club status, what has that distinction meant for you?
To have achieved the Diamond club status this year means a lot, not only for me but also for the entire team that put so much effort into it. I am so proud of all of them to have made this a possibility. I truly love my team!
What does it mean for the restaurant, Edwin?
Our team works very hard and this honor validates that we are doing it right. We always want to make the experience for each guest memorable.
How is the Fresno market unique from other Yard House regions?
Our market is unique because we have a large amount of restaurants opening in the area. The Fresno community has been known to support businesses that maintain the same level of service and standards they experienced from the beginning, so that is something we strive for daily.
What are some of the challenges you face because of that, Edwin?
You can’t let the competition impact you. You need to focus on your guests and provide them with a wonderful experience they won’t forget.
What are some of the biggest challenges the industry faces in general?
One of the most challenging issues in this industry is to make sure you are doing everything you can to maintain great team members. Having quality people on your staff is important to create a successful business.
What has been your proudest accomplishment in your career so far, Edwin?
My proudest career accomplishment has been attaining Diamond Club status. However, my proudest accomplishment in life has been meeting my wife Jami, and starting a family. We have five beautiful kids. She has always supported me and I am very lucky to have her in my life.
What are some of the goals you would still like to accomplish?
We want to be the place that people think about when looking to have fun, eat great food and meet new people.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Edwin?
My first real job was a busboy job when I was 17 years old. A friend of mine had a brother that worked at a resort in San Diego at the time. He got me an interview and I got the job. I learned that the service industry was a fast paced and rewarding job.
Who has been a mentor for you and what did you learn from him/her?
There have been a few mentors in my life, but the one that taught me the most is my mom. She was a single mom for many years before she remarried. She taught me what hard work is all about. There is no one tougher and more determined than her. When I started my career in the food service industry she said, “Take care of your staff and respect your team members and they will do the same to you.”
What do you like to do in your spare time, Edwin?
In my spare time I like to golf with my kids and spend time with my wife. I also enjoy watching my children compete in sports.