Location: Great River, NY
FOUNDING PRINCIPLES: Lessing’s Inc. has survived six generations and more than 125 years through an unwavering dedication to innovation, says COO Michael Lessing. The company was founded in response to the explosion of the urban worker population in the 1890s. Maxwell Lessing opened the first convenient lunch counter in New York’s financial district, and 30 years later, he was serving meals to workers at 20 locations. As times changed, Lessing’s changed with them, following workforces out into the suburbs, becoming more regional, embracing the farm-to-table movement, and even crafting its own beers and wines.
Fun Fact: “Maxwell Lessing was the first New York restaurateur to buy Coca-Cola syrup and serve Coke to his customers.”
ONBOARDING FAMILY: Family members who want to work at Lessing’s must follow the same procedures as anyone else entering the business. First, they must apply through standard channels, and if they are hired, they undergo the same training as any other employee. To join the company, members of the Lessing family must also have relevant education and experience, and a position must be open that fits that experience.
CULTURAL VALUES: “As Lessing’s continues to maintain a reputation of excellence and build its legacy, flexibility and open communication are the most critical factors to success,” says Lessing. With a new generation joining the business, Lessing’s makes sure the company’s values and culture remain intact by promoting open communication, and adapting where necessary.
LASTING LEGACY: Lessing’s strives to be remembered as remarkable, and it’s the future generations that can uphold this legacy, says Lessing. To ensure this happens, the company has created subcommittees that focus on engaging the next generation in the Lessing’s mission.