Staff Spotlight: Meghan Miller, Pine Needles Food & Beverage Manager
Meghan Miller joined Pine Needles in February 2016 as a member of the Golf Operations staff. With a strong background in Food & Beverage, she quickly proved herself to be a multi-talented asset to the resort and was promoted in January 2017 to Food & Beverage Manager at Pine Needles.
What brought you into the food & beverage / hospitality industry?
I tended bar and served throughout college. As I was graduating from college, I was promoted to a supervisor role. It was supposed to be a short-term promotion, but ended up being full-time. I really liked the area and the company and I fell in love with the industry. So I never left.
Did you study food & beverage or hospitality at Saginaw Valley State?
Actually, I was studying health sciences with the goal of becoming a dietitian. Which, I guess is kind of funny because I still ended up working with food. I’ve always been passionate about food. Cooking is one of my hobbies. Plus, I’ve been serving since I was 15 when my mom made me get my first job as a server at Steak ‘n Shake. I’ve never left the restaurant industry ever since. I started in the beverage cart, then working in a banquet facility at a private club then a public one. I served and tended bar there before accepting the supervisor role.
What brought you to Pine Needles?
I got to a point where there was no room for growth. It was time for a change. Although the club was open year-round, the industry (in Michigan) was seasonal. I had friends living here (in the Sandhills). They kept encouraging me to consider a move. They would say, ‘It’s the golf capital and the ideal place to be in the golf/hospitality industry.’ I figured, ‘What the hell? Why not give it a try?’
What is the oddest job you have held?
Working in the golf shop. I was way outside my comfort zone there. It took me a long time to adjust. I spent my days answering questions that I didn’t always know the answers to. Coming from a job where I had been there a long time and I knew exactly what I was doing, I went into a position where I was unsure of myself most of the time. It was hard. I worked with seven guys, which was a bit of a culture shock. But it was great experience. At the time, I was brand-new to the area and they became like family. That experience helped me to better understand golf operations, as well as other areas of the resort. You develop a good rapport with team members. That line of communication helps us to work better together today.
What are three important traits when working in Food & Beverage?
There are so many unknowns. You never know what is going to happen on a given day so you have to be prepared for any scenario. It’s all out of your control; whether in the kitchen, the front of the house, a server does not show… You have to be prepared for anything.
You can have a ton of experience, a ton of knowledge but if you are not organized, you will run into trouble. Keep your staff and your department organized. They appreciate structure. Setting firm guidelines and clear communications help you and your staff to be on the same page.
Have patience. There is any number of disasters that could happen. Stay calm and clear-minded so you can stay on your toes to come up with quick solutions.
If you could do one other job for just one day, what would you do?
Hmmm… I would love to be a broadcaster on Good Morning America or Oprah or a co-host with Kelly Ripa. Something like that. Just one day. I think that would be really cool.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Locally, I love Theo’s in Pinehurst. It reminds me of authentic Greek food back home. In Detroit, there is a district known as Greektown. It’s all authentic Greek food. I have a weakness for it. I love the gyros. My family and I have a tradition of heading to Greektown whenever I’m home.
What types of food do you love?
I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I like to try different things. I come from a melting pot. The metro-Detroit area has so many different ethnicities and cuisines. We have Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Greek, authentic Italian food… It’s very multicultural and I’ve been pretty privileged to try all of these different cuisines. My favorite restaurants are authentic spots – no matter the genre. I like trying something different.
Name one thing you cannot resist.
My guilty pleasure is my love for all things Michigan. I am from metro- Detroit. My whole family lives there and is from there, born and raised. We are full of Detroit pride and love all the Detroit sports. Anything from home, that reminds me of home or is Detroit sports-related, I own it. I have Detroit knick-knacks, coffee mugs, a car made in Detroit… Anything that reminds me of my hometown.
If you had to give up one food for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Salads. I am not a fan of salads at all. I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl. I would have no problem giving up any kind of salad for the rest of my life. I’d rather save my calories for something else.
What dish do you recommend to customers?
The shrimp and grits. Here, it is homemade and a real southern dish. I had never had grits until I moved here. It’s a phenomenal dish and one of our staples.
What can guests expect when visiting The Crest Dining Room and In-The-Rough Lounge?
It feels like home. You feel like you’re sitting in your living room, your dining room. That’s the experience. Our staff, our associates give you the personal, one-on-one southern hospitality. This resort is known for that. It’s the definition of southern hospitality. Our goal is to make you feel at home and comfortable, and that is what sets us apart.