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Nation's Restaurant News 2023 Power List Matthew Youseff Eddie V's
Eddie V’s Matthew Youssef comes from a very hospitality-oriented family, with a father and two brothers who also work at Darden Restaurants.

For Eddie V’s Prime Seafood’s Matthew Youssef, hospitality is all in the family

Managing partner at Greenwood Village, Colo., restaurant develops like-minded leaders

Matthew Youssef, managing partner at the Eddie V’s Prime Seafood in Greenwood Village, Colo., comes from a very hospitality-focused family. His father and two brothers all work in various capacities at the Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants.

Youssef’s father is a director of operations at Olive Garden and his two younger brothers work at LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille.

“He would always come home with these great stories of how he created memories and how he was able to make a birthday or an anniversary special,” Youssef said of his father. “That really sparked something in me. I enjoy creating those memorable dining experiences for our guests.”

Youssef joined Eddie V’s, the 29-unit fine-dining concept, after serving as manager and general manager at Red Lobster, which Darden then owned, and broadening his skills as managing partner at the opening of Seasons 52 in Lone Tree, Colo.

Managing partners like Youssef create a culture that makes everyone feel valued, said Falon Farrell, Eddie V’s senior vice president of operations.

Youssef “helps every one of our team members realize their dreams and be a part of something bigger, which at Eddie V's is delivering indulgence for each and every one of our guests,” Farrell said. “That culture is required for a great managing partner, and the other side is the business; our managing partners must consistently deliver financial business results at a high level, and Matt has demonstrated that time and time again at three different brands at Darden.”

Youssef now manages an operation with 120 employees that seats 430 guests, and he has been recognized numerous times for developing and promoting team members into managers and managers into managing partners.

The Eddie V’s has a management team of six, Youssef said, and he works to coach and develop them.

One of the reasons he does that is to give himself a break, Youssef added. “If those managers think like a managing partner,” he said, “when you're outside of the building they can make choices and decisions that better the business and further the business as well.”

Farrell said Youssef exemplifies traits that Eddie V’s looks for in managing partners.

“We look for tenure in a position,” she said. “We look for experience in a corporate structure — that really lends itself well to Darden. It's that tenure in a high-volume restaurant that translates very well to Eddie V's.”

Farrell said Youssef has had a long track record of success and that he had been doing his job consistently for a long period of time in high-volume restaurants, which translates well to being successful in the GM role.

When Youssef was with Red Lobster, he received Darden’s “General Manager of the Year” honor and was named “Top Managing Partner of the Year” during his tenure with Seasons 52. He also has achieved Diamond Club Status, an honor reserved for the top 5% of Darden’s specialty restaurant group brands.

Youssef said he looks to recruit individuals who “share a great vision of success and can create winning culture and teach that to their team.”

“If you really focus in on your people — your managers, your team members — you instill the culture,” he said. “We have a guest-focused environment. It translates into great guest service, which will have the guests come back and join us for multiple occasions. It always comes back to people for me.

“I once had a leader who told me anytime you have an opening in your restaurant, that you should be looking for somebody that's as good as you or even better than you,” he added, noting that that’s true of dishwasher, line cook, prep cook or server positions as well.

Youssef said he’s seen 18 team members move into management over the course of 19 years, and five of them move into a managing partner role. “That's what really drives me,” he said.

As for celebrating holidays and special events within his own hospitality-oriented family, Youssef conceded that holiday dinners are “traditionally pretty late at night after we're done working and feeding everybody. [But] we talk about some of the great experiences that happened throughout the shift.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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