Future Hospitality
podcast

S1E13: Breaking the Script of Hospitality & Hotel Management: Jay Patel

September 22, 2020

Jeremy Wells: Jay, thank you so much for joining us today. We’re really excited to have you on the podcast.

Jay Patel: Glad to be here. Thank you.

Jeremy Wells: So I had kind of discovered Wintergreen Hospitality, just kind of diving through some new developments and I had stumbled upon some new developments you guys were working on as a team. And as I was looking through your website, there was so much cool just information and your manifesto and a lot of the ways that you guys operate. I was just really impressed with everything I was seeing and the work you guys were putting out. And so I wanted to invite you on the podcast and just kind of create a space for you to share your ideas and kind of get people to be introduced to Wintergreen and to Jay and to learn more about you. And so there’s probably a lot of listeners that might not be familiar with who you are and what you guys do. Can you kind of give us a brief history or tell us the story of Jay and Wintergreen and how it all came to be?

Jay Patel: Sure. Sure. I kind of think about who I am and how I see the world and I guess there’s just a number of adjectives I could start with. So I’m an Indian-American. I grew up in the South in North Carolina and I grew up in this hotel business. My folks are from India, but they were actually born in East Africa, my dad in Uganda and my mom in Kenya, Nairobi separately. But then they ended up in the United Kingdom and that’s where they met and got married and then they ultimately landed in the United States. That’s where I was born. And so they’ve kind of bounced around from place to place. And when they finally settled here and I came around, they were pretty much kind of getting their footing in the United States and that ended up being in North Carolina. And they were just starting to get into the roadside mom-and-pop hotel, we should call it a motel business, back in the late ‘70s, early ’80s. And so my upbringing was on the hotel premises.

“Customer service and hospitality has always been part of my DNA.”

Jay Patel

I mean, actually, we have a living quarters behind the front desk and so everything I can remember about my childhood from the time I was four or five years old had to do with hotel rooms and grounds and pools and housekeeping carts and checking people in and people coming and going through our place all the time. And so that’s kind of was my upbringing. So just customer service and hospitality has always been part of my DNA. And many Indian-American immigrants of that same category that were in that business. I’m not sure if you know the stat, but I think something like 40% of all hotel rooms in the United States are owned by Indian-Americans. So we’re just kind of one of many stories like that, but that was my upbringing and then you add to that growing up in North Carolina and going to school in North Carolina and then ultimately I’m moving up to New York to go work for Marriott was kind of my path to getting more into the professional realm of this hospitality business coming full circle from where we grew up. So that’s kind of who I am and how I’ve landed here in this hospitality space.

Jeremy Wells: Yeah. That’s really interesting. I’m sure you have lots of great memories growing up on premise there. That’d be really fun to experience that as a child. I’m sure there’s probably a lot of cool stuff that you remember.

Jay Patel: It sounds a lot cooler now than when I was at that time, when all my friends are going to really fun sounding camps and Disney World and all these things, we were putting in FF&E into rooms and we were changing up the summer landscaping and sweeping cigarette butts off the parking lot. But I can appreciate it now. That’s for sure.

Jeremy Wells: Yeah. You said Marriott was kind of your first jump into it from like a corporate level or from a career level. Um. How did you make the transition then? And tell us about that journey from Marriott to now where you’re at.

Jay Patel: Sure. Sure. So coming out of college, there wasn’t really a hospitality program at UNC-Chapel Hill where I was at, but I did a general business course. I came out of the business school as an undergrad, but I knew that I wanted to be in hospitality and something service oriented. And so hotel was my anchor and so I ended up working for Marriott in entry-level management training program. And so for me, it was just an opportunity to live in New York, like I always wanted to do, but also understand and experience what it was like working in a major hospitality organization like Marriott. And so that’s how I ended up there.

Once I got to New York and I did that for a few years, I realized that I’d like to get some formal education in that space. So coming up through my childhood, kind of seeing it firsthand, growing up in that environment and then working for Marriott, I don’t know why, but I just kind of craved some kind of formal training. And I don’t know if maybe it felt like that would give myself a sense of legitimacy to continue in that space, but for whatever reason, I did that. And then coming out of that graduate program, I just had a pretty, ironically, difficult experience, and that might even a lousy experience to the recruiting side. And so these are some of the top hotel companies around the world, and I was interviewing, coming out of grad school and just thinking about it from a journey of a possible candidate and being recruited and what that experience was like when I mapped it up against the customer journey, the guest journey, on the public side, it just really felt at odds.

“it was an awakening that culture and people and talent management really had to be the core priority of a leadership if you wanted to have a different kind of experience.”

Jay Patel

And so what I realized was that these large organizations are really built around scale and they’re built around a certain operating model. And for me, it was an awakening that culture and people and talent management really had to be the core priority of a leadership if you wanted to have a different kind of experience. And so for me, that was my cue to start my own business. And what I realized, having grown up in this space and just kind of seeing the nature of customer service in every vertical, that there was such a low bar. The bar had been like continuing to be lowered over my lifetime. It seemed like, and I thought, “What an opportunity to build an organization from the ground up that was centered around a certain cultural ethos.” And then we would design inside out every single piece of the infrastructure around that end goal.

And so that was why I started our company, Wintergreen Hospitality. I wish I had a better story for the name, except for when I was 25 years old, I didn’t realize that how important the name was. And for me it was, “What domain can I get? What’s available from a registration standpoint?” And it was the name of the road that our first hotel deal that we did was sitting on. And so we became Wintergreen Hospitality and I feel a little sheepish that I didn’t put more thought into it. Maybe that’s an opportunity to rebrand now going into the future, but that’s sort of what we did. We had a name and we kind of create an organization, but I was so much focused on that cultural piece and how we were going to define the cultural norms and the ethos and what the values were going to be and our operating model that the name didn’t really matter as much at that moment, but that was the whole Genesis of it.

Dustin Myers: Yeah. That’s a really cool journey, just kind of being entrenched in the status quo for so long and seeing opportunities and ways that maybe you could do it better and starting your own business to achieve that. You have “we’re in the kindness business” on your website and that looks like a mantra for you guys. Can you unpack that a little bit more for us?

Jay Patel: Yeah, sure. So it kind of segues from what we were just talking about, around culture and purpose. So large organizations in the industry is really built around scale and efficiency. I started to think about, “Well, what business are we in?” And it’s really more of a pointed reminder to remind us of our true purpose. So terms like customer service, hospitality, that becomes so ubiquitous. Sometimes they lose their meaning or sometimes they take different meanings. And for me, I wanted to boil it down to the essence of what we were doing. And so my favorite example, and I’m sure most people know about this, is the Blockbuster video example and Netflix, which is they didn’t realize what business they were in, right? They always self-identified themselves as being in the video rental business.

So that was really more of a definition around their model, not really what need they were solving for their customer. And what Netflix realized is that it doesn’t really matter how you deliver the format. The thing that was the essence of what they were doing was that they were delivering a vast selection of content in some kind of convenient way to be viewed. So with that understanding of that framework, they were able to realize that it didn’t really matter if they were going to mail you DVDs or if they going to get on this bandwidth and this great bandwidth opportunity and streaming delivery that it was the core need that they needed to stay true to.

And so for us, it’s a reminder that we don’t need to be wrapped around our model, which many people might say it’s renting rooms in beautiful physical spaces. That could be one way to describe that. And so for us, it’s just a daily reminder that we want to focus on what that emotional and social need is that the guests are seeking and that needs to drive. That’s kind of like our North Star for everything we do.

Dustin Myers: Absolutely. That’s awesome. I’ve heard you say that your primary goal is to make the guest fall in love with the hotel, and then basically everything after that will take care of itself, which is really cool, a really cool mindset to instill in your staff and throughout the culture.

Jay Patel: Well, there’s a whole business model that comes out of that. So for us, when we think about how we design and organize our work recruiting and our onboarding and our training, what are the implications if that’s our mission? Well, first of all, why is that the business mission? A lot of people talk about shareholder value. They talk about a certain brand and narrative or a position statement for what your brand is going to be. And that’s important, but from an internal standpoint, I don’t think we need a Harvard business review to tell us that if you love something, you’re going to spend a lot of money on it. And so we kind of make that leap and we say, “All right, if we can get our customers to love the experience, then we can start to build on that emotional engagement and then the loyalty and the repeat business and the profits and the customer acquisition costs, all those things start to roll in our favor.”

“Whether it’s a romantic relationship, a family relationship or a friendship or any kind of relationship, there are certain things like trust, clear communication, transparency, respect, even things like you’ve got to like somebody, so before you can even think about having a shot at having a kind of connection that’s built on love.”

Jay Patel

So once we’ve established a commitment to that as a worthwhile mission, then we can start to design things. So when we train somebody, even down to the front office level, our receptionist and our host at the front desk when you check in, the way we kind of translate that is, “Well, what are the building blocks of love?” Whether it’s a romantic relationship, a family relationship or a friendship or any kind of relationship, there are certain things like trust, clear communication, transparency, respect, even things like you’ve got to like somebody, so before you can even think about having a shot at having a kind of connection that’s built on love. And so then we start unpacking that into every touch point. So when you park your car, when you book a room, when you have to come up against a cancellation, does every interaction that we have, is it designed to build a trust or chip away at trust? Is it going to make them like us more or like us less?

And so it’s a really granular approach to every single touch point that ultimately needs to continue to stack those building blocks so that ultimately the guests feel that love. And again, we feel pretty comfortable that that’s going to translate to market share.

Jeremy Wells: Yeah. Yeah. That’s so important, especially nowadays I think people have begun finally seeing the opportunities that lie and really creating impactful guest experiences and focusing, like you said, on building the culture, focusing on people, not only just the guests themselves, but the people on your team. I love that that’s kind of the way that you guys approach everything in your business. I know on your website and it appears that you guys are managing both what you call “Traditional Properties” and then you have what you call “Creative Properties” as well. I’d love to kind of for you to unpack a little bit what that means in your portfolio of work and kind of explain maybe the differences in how you approach those. I’d like for you to also explain a little bit more about the Franklin Hotel after you answer that question.

Jay Patel: Sure. Sure. So when I refer to traditional hotels for us, that really means what we’ve done for the first half of our existence and it’s really been operated, actually I’m trying to think of what affiliations we’ve had other than Hilton, but they’re actually haven’t exclusively with Hilton Hotels. So we’ve operated Hilton brands. And to us, I kind of marked that as traditional because there’s a brand playbook and there’s a brand standard and essentially we becoming a franchise operator and it is very hard work, for sure, to deliver service, to deliver experience and to have some organizing principles around how the property level team will do that. But at the same time, it’s really executing against a vision and a brand promise that has been provided to us. And there’s a particular playbook that we follow and so then it becomes more of you are an operator of that manual. Everything has been researched and R&Ded like crazy and it’s really more of kind of managing. And I think it is very much a big part of our marketplace, and for my family, it’s been kind of our bread and butter. It’s very lucrative. I think the Hampton Inn brand alone has probably paid for the college of like eight or nine of us in my family, my extended family.

So I think it’s a powerful force in the marketplace and there’s that global goodwill of that brand. But I think when I refer to creative properties, that really comes from our experience with the Franklin, as you mentioned. As an independent hotel or as a brand of one, you really have to use a different part of your brain and you have to exercise that or even develop a different kind of organizational muscle because you’re now in the realm of marketing product development, positioning and branding and public relations and all these things and also really having to have a deep understanding of who your consumer is. And not really even from a demographic standpoint, from a psychographic standpoint is your product, how well is your product and your brand story leveraged to meet the particular profile or the psychographic, the customer you’re going for. And so for us, that was a new chapter about 10 years ago with this particular hotel. We bought it in 2007. It was the most beautiful hotel, the highest price point and in the best location in Chapel Hill right by the UNC campus. And while we had the product, it took us four or five years to find our footing on building that brand or even understanding what it means or what it meant for us to build a brand. And that’s why I really carve it out as a distinct business because it requires a completely different set of skills and capabilities.

Jeremy Wells: Yeah, that’s really fascinating. So in that four years, you said it took four or five years to find your footing in that market. The things that you mentioned, using the different part of your brain, like marketing, branding, PR, et cetera, were those things that you knew early on when you started to build that concept or was that something that you learned in that four to five-year period? Or what sort of challenges you face in that period?

Jay Patel: Sure. I think there were some elements of it that we kind of had in our DNA. Growing up in the roadside motels, there are certain things you just kind of know that are inherent. You understand things like price point and what people are looking for and what their psychological behaviors are as they respond to different rates or what the offerings are in the room and things like that, whether it’s kind of more superficial things like amenities and F&B and things like that. And so there were some of that where we kind of had a sense of, but then to actually build something and design it and then target it and then make sure that it matched up with the market segment, that was new. And so we really had to learn that along the way in that process. So we made a lot of mistakes, but then at the same time, we started to understand that we really had to look inward and we had to understand what was our place in that marketplace, how are we positioned or what did we offer that was unique from our comp set. And then we had to translate that into some kind of position. And we had to be true to what we could offer and who we were as a collective group because if we didn’t do that and we tried to craft this really beautiful position statement that didn’t really reflect who we were, we would never be able to deliver on that promise, on that brand promise as the customer and the guests came into the experience.

And so those are the kinds of things that we learned and how to articulate that and then how to tell that story outwardly and then how to manifest that physically with all kinds of things, like collateral, like the digital presence and the physical space through a cap-ex, repositioning with a brand new PIP of the entire hotel. So those are the things that really provided a lot of that learning for us in real time. I should mention that that was the first five years of that journey. And I think we did pretty well, but we still struggled from a corporate market share standpoint. And so we ultimately dropped that hotel into Hilton’s Curio Collection for the last five years that we owned it. And that really helped us because we were able to maintain the branding work that we had done and that legacy of impact in that immediate local region. But then at the same time, we were able to access everything that Hilton has firepower lies versus with a global distribution. And so that was what we did in that particular case.

Dustin Myers: Yeah. As we’re in the branding world every day, we’re kind of branding nerds and I love looking through the strategy and the execution that you guys put together on the Franklin Hotel. That was really well done.

Jay Patel: And then the part of that is that we realized that you can’t just do that stuff on your own. You got to have a really world-class branding agency or some kind of talent to collaborate with. And this is the space that you are in. And so I think the kind of work that you do is indispensable because our expertise is in running the hospitality organization. And so we may have some inspiration. We may have some ideas around what we’re trying to do from a brand standpoint. But when you think about the creative ways of how you execute that, that kind of work that you guys are doing, that our branding partners did for us, I don’t think you can do it without that kind of talent.

Dustin Myers: Yeah, it’s really cool when everything comes together and puts forth a cohesive brand story.

Jay Patel: For sure.

Dustin Myers: So it joined the Curio Collection for a while, and then it’s since evolved. Is that right?

Jay Patel: Well, when we sold it last year, you’re probably familiar with AJ Capital and Graduate Hotels. I had gotten to know some of those guys over the last three or four years and I know that we’re looking to get into the Raleigh-Durham market as part of their strategy to get into the top tier university markets. And so that relationship and that rapport had kind of already been open for a while and they came to us pretty aggressively and really were committed to doing a deal and we were hitting that 10-year mark of owning that asset and we did have our eye on some other things that we wanted to do and really focus more on that creative side that you asked about. And so I’m looking at just from an investment standpoint and the numbers and what they were able to do with us. It was an opportunity that we really couldn’t turn away when it came to what we could deliver for our investors. And so we sold that hotel to them last year, back in June, and they’ve just relaunched as Graduate Chapel Hill now.

Jeremy Wells: So all these lessons that you learned launching the Franklin and building that brand, you even have a page on your website where you kind of talked about what you learned with that property. But transitioning kind of into the future of Wintergreen and what you guys are cooking up, I see that on your website, on the creative properties, I see you have the Plaza Midwood project, and it looks really exciting. Could you kind of share a little bit about what you guys are doing on that front?

Jay Patel: Yeah, I’m really excited about that. I mean, it’s really the culmination of all of our lessons and learnings and failures over the last 10, 15 years, and the ability to leverage all of that in a new and exciting way. And so it’s kind of two parts. The first part is it’s an opportunity to build a place-based hospitality experience and we really want to be story-driven with our brand and we want to start from scratch where our last time around doing this, we had to backfill our pathway into understanding what brand development was, who we were as an identity and all those things that we just talked about. In this case, we know what our point of view is, both in hospitality and in sort of the cultural ethos of how we deliver the experiences. And then also in what we think we can bring to the industry from an experiential standpoint.

And so what we want to do here is drive the brand narrative with this point of view through this lens, but then also design something that is hyperlocal and place-based and so we think that combination of our unique point of view and a place based experience will resonate. We hope it will resonate. And part two, and this kind of goes to that idea of hope, is that we’re not going to just build it yet. What we’re going to do is we’re going to take this design thinking approach that you typically see in mobile development or product development or on the consumer product side, around piloting things or prototyping things.

And so what’s really exciting is that we’re going to build out a prototype this fall. We don’t know how many rooms that we’ll have. It’ll have a handful of rooms. It’ll have some kind of cocktail lounge outdoor space. And what we’re trying to figure out is, “Does this point of view that we have and does our story-driven brand and our place-based experience, how does that resonate or how do we get it just right so that it does resonate?” And so through this prototype, we want to be testing a lot of assumptions and a lot of hypotheses of what we think is going to matter going forward. And so this was our path pre COVID. And now that we’re in COVID, it’s just all the more relevant, we think, because there were so many things prior to this coronavirus and pandemic that we knew were shifting so many patterns and cultural behaviors and how we work, how we travel, how we convene that we were going to have to test and understand some of these unknowns.

Well, with COVID, what I think striking is that things haven’t really changed as much as they have been accelerated. And so what might have taken 5 or 10 years to happen has happened now in a compressed timeline of six months or whatever we’re talking about here. And so things like how people are now traveling, what kinds of things they’re looking for, how they’re gathering socially and how they’re working are starting to become answered for us. And so we can actually use those inputs as we test out this prototype. And we want to challenge every model or every assumption around the lodging operations. So we kind of have some deep expertise around how staffing models work and how customer service models and food and beverage models work. And so what can we do to challenge all of the assumptions and what can be done differently to now meet the new customer, the new guest, the new office worker, the new social plan or where they are in this environment where we’re planning to really test a lot of that over the course of maybe a year? But that’s the part that really excites us, before we go and then build the actual hotel.

Jeremy Wells: Sure. Yeah. That sounds really exciting. That’s a different approach. And I love that you said that the industry has basically been accelerated. It’s been put under the fire. It’s been forced to adapt. And I think there’s a lot of people that are making decisions and shifts and pivots now that they never thought they would have and in good ways and in bad ways. I’m excited to see how you guys go through this process with this Plaza Midwood project and seeing what great things come out of that. I get the sense that through this project and through the lessons you’ve learned, it’s basically like challenging the norm and I think like we talked before the recording and you use the phrase that I love, “Breaking the script,” and it’s basically just like challenging yourself to think about questions that otherwise would normally be by default, there’ll be an answer. It’s just the status quo of the industry. But you’re basically just constantly asking yourself, like you said with that design thinking approach, does it need to be this way? Should it be this way? I’m curious, just like, what is it about you and about your team that just motivates you guys to just take that approach with everything, challenging the norm or breaking the script?

Jay Patel: I think it might be a couple of things. I alluded to this a while back earlier in the conversation. Just how low the bar has gotten around customer service. And this is every vertical, but you think about what it feels like to call your utility company or your credit card company and try to get something done. It’s like pulling teeth. It’s so painful. But then you’re seeing more of that even in areas that we didn’t use to. So whether we go to the local hardware store or even if we go to Lowe’s or Home Depot or many hotels even, it’s like this downward spiral.

“It doesn’t take that much, it just takes a little bit of thought, a little bit of care and proper design to deliver that.”

Jay Patel

So what strikes me is that among all of that, we see truly remarkable experiences and they’re there. And so this idea that it can happen and it doesn’t take that much, it just takes a little bit of thought, a little bit of care and proper design to deliver that. And so I think this drive to just have better experiences for my own self, it makes me feel like I just can’t have it any other way. If I’m responsible for delivering experiences, they need to match my own bar for what I would want as a consumer. And then I think about some of the successes we’ve had and how we’ve broken the script. Things are so simple, but when we talk about large organizations that are really designed to scale, I think one of my favorite thinkers right now, especially with the pandemic, is a guy named Scott Galloway. He’s a marketing professor at NYU.

One of his comments that I just picked up on was that, “The most powerful force in the universe is a regression to the mean.” And so for me, things like, “Well, why do we always hire out of hospitality programs? Why do we always recruit these kinds of majors? Why do we always pay people across the departments in this particular manner?” So it’s always a question of wonder that has to have a purpose because if there’s not a purpose, other than that, that’s the most efficient way to do it, then to me that’s an opportunity to break the script. So for example, it might feel intuitive and normal to recruit hospitality talent at the best hospitality schools. This is going to sound pretty bad, but I came out of a well-known hospitality school, but I don’t really recruit there because I feel like there’s too much focus on the status quo and the scalability of an operation than there is on creating remarkable experiences.

So if I think about, “Well, what do I really need?” If I have a particular talent gap, I’m thinking about, “Well, what kind of person do I need and what’s their capability?” Most of the things that we need in hospitality from a talent standpoint have to do with the emotional intelligence judgment, communication, empathy, all these things, and I find more of those skill sets when I look in the social sciences. When I look at an anthropology major or a psychology or an early childhood education or a social work background, that’s where I find all of those things inherent within those people. And so when I bring them on board, all of a sudden now I’ve broken the script of who I’m recruiting, what schools I’m recruiting at, what I’m looking for in the resume. And now I’ve got people to me that are just a much better match because running the OS at the front desk is like so simple. And nowadays, the tech, the interfaces are pretty much self-explanatory. So I don’t really need somebody to really know the ins and outs of a check-in, check-out and credit card processing or even revenue management for that matter. I need somebody that can kind of lead with their heart, but have the intellectual capacity and the stamina to make decisions and make good judgment. That’s just one example of how we’re trying to break the script.

Dustin Myers: I love that. That’s really cool. So as we look towards the future of the industry, what do you think is going to shift or change and what are you excited about?

Jay Patel: What I’m excited about is that there’s just so much more variety happening. I think there used to be much more of a mass market. If you think about the bell curve, it’s flattening more and more and more and the tails are getting so long that there are like infinite numbers of segments. And so if you can crush a particular segment with what you’re offering, that’s all you really need. So I think it depends on what you want. If you’re trying to own a vertical, that’s kind of one thing. But then what’s the point of that? But the fact that now with the internet kind of revolution and transparency and a lot of the consumer power being shifted to the consumer, you have people that are demanding very nuanced and niched experiences. And so I think that’s a huge opportunity because everybody can play in the field and you don’t need like the old days where you had the three network televisions versus now you have unlimited sources of content.

I think the same thing is going to apply in our industry where you had the big players and I think that consistent experience was really valuable around the time that that proliferation was happening. I would say ever since I kind of World War 2 through the suburbanization and the interstate highway system, that was really powerful because you needed to know that you could go somewhere and have a clean, consistent experience. I think today cleanliness and hospitality and some of these basic services are your table stakes. Everybody kind of knows that you’re going to get a baseline level of that. So now I think what people are going to crave more are these localized experiences, whatever kind of speaks to their psychographic, what their values are, what their affinities are. I think that’s the opportunity and it’s just like a lot more room for people to really thrive and it can be sustainable without having to scale. That’s what’s really cool.

Jeremy Wells: Yeah. That’s really exciting to think about. So one final question that we like to ask all of our guests, obviously the name of the podcast is Future Hospitality, but we’d love to know also about the future and what excites you about your own future, not even necessarily related to the industry. It could be, but what’s in store for you? What are you excited about? And obviously, you have the Plaza Midwood project that’s exciting, but do you have anything else on your mind?

Jay Patel: It’s hard to think of things that excite me more other than the industry. So it’s a personal question, but it’s going to have a tie into that, for sure, for me. And there are some common themes that we’ve been talking about that this really speaks to, but for me, it’s this idea that I think I have the opportunity to speak way more freely today with my own point of view than I ever have been able to in my career.

When I think about what a brand can do or what it can stand for and what point of view is manifested or reinforced and really brought forward through a particular brand, I think the opportunity for me, if you think about, when I talked about my journey of kind of the roadside motel experience living in that environment, we’ve got experience in full service, luxury, kind of corporate, with the Marriott experiences, it’s such a broad experience that I can now kind of pull from and draw from and to be able to speak freely because I think customers are demanding it.

“If the actual DNA of the leadership, the ownership and the management doesn’t actually live and breathe those values, the brand promise will start to crumble pretty quickly.”

Jay Patel

And so I think this blurring of the lines of like social political and business worlds, now that we see all this stuff happening with Black Lives Matter and with the health inequities and how we respond to the pandemic, I think it’s going to become more and more imperative for brands to really align themselves with a particular point of view and a particular value system. And I think we’re seeing so many public statements from large companies and that feels nice, but it also feels a lot like what we saw ever since the ’70s and ’80s. It’s very legalese, a lot of like PR strategy around it. But if the actual DNA of the leadership, the ownership and the management doesn’t actually live and breathe those values, the brand promise will start to crumble pretty quickly.

And so for me, I’m thinking we own our real estate and we don’t answer to Wall Street. We don’t answer to other, like a board of directors. And so the opportunity to speak freely to kind of stake, kind of put my stake in the ground that here’s kind of what we’re all about and then match up with those in the market, that feel the same way that affinitize with that, and then be more vocal about certain things out in our culture. I think that opportunity really excites me because for the first time ever you can do that and still have a thriving business that I think before had always been kind of at odds with one another.

Jeremy Wells: Totally. Well, I’m really excited for you and I can’t wait to see all the great work you guys put out and all the awesome things you guys do. And so, Jay, I appreciate your time spent with us and appreciate all the ideas you shared.

Jay Patel: Thank you so much, Dustin and Jeremy. Appreciate the time that you took to take an interest. I’m really happy to share and really admiring what you’re doing and been enjoying the other episodes as well. So keep it up and thank you very much.

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