Location: Towson, MD
Industry: Restaurant and hospitality
CEO and Corporate Executive Chef
PIZZA AND PEOPLE
Bagby Restaurant Group got its start after founder Blake Smith moved into a rowhouse in Baltimore’s Little Italy in 2009, shortly after his college graduation. He noticed a lack of restaurants offering pizza in the neighborhoods east of the Inner Harbor, and decided to open Bagby Pizza Company in the historic Bagby Building. Over the years, Bagby Restaurant Group has expanded its portfolio of restaurants to include Ten Ten American Bistro, Fleet Street Kitchen, Cunningham’s, and Cunningham’s Café and Bakery. Along the way, the company also started its own farm and a valet service that provides parking at all restaurant locations.
Quick Tip: “Embrace humility. Admit when you are wrong.”
As competition in the Baltimore restaurant scene heats up, people are what sets Bagby Restaurant Group apart, says CEO and corporate executive chef Chris Becker. “Every company, big or small, new or established, successful or failing, is nothing more or less than its people. Simply put, people are our company.” That’s why Bagby Restaurant Group embraces an official “People First” culture statement, which reads in part: “Our first priority is our employees: we take care of one another and rely on working as a team to move forward, not only to solve problems that arise, but also to maintain a positive and productive atmosphere.” In leading a fast-growing company, Becker notes, it’s crucial to have clarity on the culture, values, mission, targets and expectations.