With more than 25 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, Danny Badiola has been hired to oversee food, beverage and management supervision as the director of operations at the River Hofbrau.
And the place to start, said Danny Badiola, the River Hofbrau’s new head, is the unique, oak-shaded, patio biergarten, at the busy intersection of IH35 and Kuehler Ave. With new, ambient outdoor lighting, additional seating for alfresco dining now that fall is approaching and new facilities for holiday and private parties, the River Hofbrau offers both indoor and outdoor dining experiences.
“First of all, I want to stress that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Hofbrau,” said Badiola, sitting at a table overlooking the Comal River. “This is still a great place, with a lot of loyal patrons. But, as nice as a place is, sometimes it needs a boost. You need to remind people of what you are — and to look at what you can be. We want to get a sense of excitement back, and I have a track record of reenergizing bars and restaurants.”
The 48-year-old Badiola, who was born in the Philippines and holds a degree in accounting from the island group’s University of Santo Thomas, brings long experience in the restaurant industry to River Hofbrau.
Badiola started his career in restaurants in 1993 at Rico’s, a Hong Kong eatery, where he wore every hat except toque, including server, bartender, expediter (getting the food from the kitchen to the table) and manager.
In 1997, he joined the Mad Dogs Restaurant Group, which operated its namesake traditional British pub as well as other properties such as Joe Bananas and Chinatown in Hong Kong. After Mad Dogs expanded internationally, opening its first U.S. British-style pub in the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk, Badiola transferred to the Alamo City in 2005 as general manager of the establishment known for its pub grub, import beers and kilted servers.
Less than a month into the River Hofbrau job, Badiola’s first order of business has been to institute a policy of standards and procedures fundamental to success in the restaurant business.
“It’s a service industry, and this is basic, simple stuff, ranging from making sure that your station is ready to receive customers when the doors open — putting salt in the salt shaker — to making sure the bathrooms are scrubbed,” Badiola said. “It’s a checklist.”
Often, after several years in business, the checklist disappears and the staff starts doing things on their own, free styling. Standards and procedures are just a way of making a restaurant run more efficiently. You’re consistent. You put yourself in the customer’s place and create the most pleasurable — and savory — experience possible for the River Hofbrau’s patrons.