Bill Hansen of Bill Hansen Luxury Catering and Event Production wrote the book on catering. Off-Premise Catering Management is literally the go-to text for hospitality programs across the country. He has been a part-time professor at FIU for 28 years and is a formidable presence in the South Florida catering scene.
Secrets to Sucess
I asked Bill how he has built such a successful business and brand. He immediately referenced Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap..and Others Dont by Jim Collins as the foundation for much of his strategy. In order to be successful, you need to get the right folks, put them in the right roles, and then let them get to work. Clearly, his application of the strategy has worked because he has been and continues to be a giant in the South Florida Catering scene.
The moment Bill sat down with me he was open, witty and keen to find out who I was. While I thought I was interviewing him, I soon realized it was the other way around. Jane Fonda once said it is better to be interested than interesting. As long as you are interested you will always be able to make a connection. Being interesting leaves you dependent on the whims of those who will inevitably no longer care about who you are or what you’re doing.
As a long time part-time professor at FIU, Bill has honed his ability to engage a group. While many folks would be terrified to have to interact with a room full of people Bill seems to really morph into a version of his best self. He said he feels most alive when teaching.
You can see that the people around Bill respect him. What impressed me is that you can tell that Bill Respects them too. Today, it’s hard to find leadership that is more concerned with serving than leading. Bill’s insistence on serving has created an atmosphere of tolerance and respect that can be felt the moment you walk onto the premises.
The next adventure
Most people with Bill’s amount of success would be happy to retire and spend the rest of their days hitting the links, but not Bill. He is going full steam ahead with bold plans that just might change the way catering industry does business. Bill Hansen Luxury Catering and Event Production continues to evolve and grow in the competitive catering market. Keep your eyes open for what’s coming next. While I can’t divulge much, I can say that when its all said and done many others in the industry will have to evaluate how they do business.
I asked Bill what he wanted his legacy to be and he said: “God blessed me so I can bless others”. That was it. No pomp, no circumstance, no university buildings with his name embossed into a brass plate. He understands that the biggest gift a person has is the ability to be a blessing to another person.
You can have all the money, power and prestige in the world but what can you do with it. How many lives did you change? How many minds did you open? We are the sum total of our interactions with others. Bill’s response told me everything I needed to know about him as an individual and why he has had so much success.