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Volume 26 No. 59
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A Day In The Life With Levy Restaurants' Andy Lansing

When you run a company like Levy Restaurants, you tend to eat. A lot. It’s just part of the job. President & CEO ANDY LANSING is no exception, which is why he exercises every morning to counterbalance it. Lansing took time out of his schedule to walk THE DAILY through a typical day for him. 

3:20am: My alarm clock is set for 3:20am, but honestly, I'm usually up before that time and I'm either on the treadmill for a long run, heading to the River North Gym to workout with my trainer or I'm working with an equally early rising yoga instructor.

5:00am: I'm either heading to the airport for an out of town trip cause I travel usually two or three days a week or I'm at home and I'll spend about an hour catching up on emails that came in overnight. I also check the box scores and standings of all of our partners as well as my Michigan Wolverines. I'm following them more closely than ever these days since my son JASON is a team manager.

6:00am: I make myself the craziest protein shake in the world with 12 ingredients. People are going to ask me someday what I put it in them, but it's my own concoction.

7:00am: I'm in the office by 7:00, which gives me time before everyone gets here to do some reading. I like to say that in our business the best chefs start their day with mise en place, and I approached this time the same way. It’s organizing myself, thinking about who I need to speak with and knocking out some paperwork.

8:00am: Once a month I’ll host an internal podcast called “Hot Dogs With Andy,” where I chat with a guest while we both enjoy my favorite food. For most people, obviously 8:00am would be too early for a hot dog, but it's never too early for me, particularly since I’ve been up for so long.

9:00am: It's hard getting all of Levy’s senior leaders in one place, given the amount we all travel to visit our locations. But we make sure to meet together in person regularly and check on how we're doing against our strategic plan. 

Lansing regularly visits Levy venues for menu tasting and collaborations with partners

11:00am: It's been three hours since I had a hotdog, and almost seven hours since I've been up. So by 11:00 I'm looking for my next meal. One day last week we were doing a tasting for a new restaurant which we're opening in partnership with the Cubs and JOE MADDON. Chef TONY MANTUANO in this case partnered with Joe to create the menu, and we had a tasting of some of the new dishes that they've worked up.

1:00pm: One of the most important things we do at Levy is we invite all of our new managers from across the entire country to our home office in Chicago for a week-long orientation and learning opportunity that we call Management Academy. We’ll bring in our leaders from all over the country to speak to typically a hundred new managers on different topics.

3:00pm: My kids are amazed and possibly a little embarrassed that I still like to make phone calls and I don't rely exclusively on texting. I like to spend some time each day checking in with our partners. I use that next hour as a brief touch point that makes sure that we're fully aligned and that we're serving as true partners to the teams and the venues that we work with.

5:00pm: I use this as a brief mental break. I am a huge magic geek, I’m a magician. So I literally might sneak in a few minutes to play with a deck of cards on something new that I'm working on. I might look online to see cool new tricks, sort of inspire me. I'll intersperse that with scrolling social media to see photos of some of the cool dishes that our chefs are coming up with around the country.

6:00pm: I've always believed that if you're the leader of a company, you just can't be effective if you're spending too much time in your office. You have to get out and talk to your people, taste the food, walk the building and visit with the park. Even when I'm in Chicago, I try to visit one of our local vendors as often as possible and spend some time with our team members.

9:00pm: I'm popping in my car and heading home. I’ve been up for 18 hours, I've had three huge meals and I'm starting to feel it. Once I get home, I'll spend some time with my wife ELLYN. My hope and joy is to spend every free second I have with her. We love going out to eat, we love cooking together. We love just walking the city of Chicago. I may sneak a quick look at ESPN, and then I'm headed to bed around 10:00.

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