It’s rare to find a family-owned and -operated restaurant that has been around as long as Miracle Mile Deli. For 69 years, the Garcias have navigated the unique challenges that come with running a family-owned business, such as staying relevant and active within each new generation.
Josh Garcia, vice-president of Miracle Mile Deli, works to maintain the balance as he strives to honor the visions his grandfather had for the Jewish deli back in 1949 while implementing his own new twist on the restaurant. He often sits down with his parents and current owners of Miracle Mile Deli, George and Jill Garcia, to discuss what has and hasn’t worked in the past when it comes to specials and new menu items. “I like to put my own twist on things to make our brand current and relevant,” says Josh. “Not only to the loyal Miracle Mile Deli patrons, but also for the millennials and new customers who don’t really know what Miracle Mile Deli is all about.”
The deli has loyal customers, team members and family members who try out the potential new items before deciding on what works and what may not sell. The Garcias are true believers that everyone’s opinion matter, and the family takes all feedback to heart. The bottom line is, not everything will work. “When something isn’t working, the best thing you can do is put your ego aside and go back to the drawing board,” says Josh. “Be open-minded about finding something creative for the next opportunity.”
The Garcias also discuss as a family how to keep the deli’s longtime customers coming back for more while implementing new ideas to attract younger consumers. Brainstorming led to ideas to grow their social media presence and bring bloggers into the restaurant. They also shifted their approach to include online ordering and third-party delivery services.
The Garcia family agrees that a huge part of their success is treating everyone like family, both customers and employees. Miracle Mile Deli’s employees are an integral part of its success. The restaurant has head chefs who have been employees for 30 years and at least 15 employees who have been there 10 years or longer. In fact, the Garcias explain to each team member that the moment they become a part of the team, they aren’t just a person or a number. Says Josh, “They are a member of our family and they are extremely important to each and every other person on our team.”
Josh also emphasizes that to expect someone to perform their job to the best of their abilities, it’s important to be empathetic to their personal life. It’s a family value instilled in him; the Garcias understand that their employees are all human and that family is important. “We get it if issues arise, and don’t put pressure on any of our employees to work if they are sick, or their child is sick and they need to take care of them. At the end of the day, this restaurant is a job, and family always comes first,” Josh explains.
Staying connected to the community is another challenge the family works together to live up to. The Garcias consider Miracle Mile Deli to be a Valley institution, and strive to keep the food quality the same, no matter what. They also maintain a high level of customer service and satisfaction. This ensures that generations of families continue to come in and bring their kids, who, in turn, remain loyal customers.
At Miracle Mile Deli, employee training is very hands-on and extremely detailed. Guidelines for great customer service and food quality set the bar high. To assure their employees understand what is expected of them and to help customers feel they are receiving the best possible service, the Garcias explain to managers and team members exactly what they would like customers to experience from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave. “Every team member is an important aspect of ensuring that those standards are exceeded. Our employees know what the clear expectations are so that they can meet and surpass them,” emphasizes Josh. “If the expectations aren’t given or explained, a subpar experience will be had by the customer.”
A positive work environment that spills from the kitchen to the dining room is what keeps customers coming back generation after generation. Allowing their team to go above and beyond is the Garcias’ recipe to having a successful family restaurant for nearly seven decades.
Love at the Deli
- Owners of Miracle Mile Deli, George and Jill Garcia, met at the deli when they were just 12 and 15 years old, respectively.
- Vice-president Josh Garcia met his wife when she was a customer at Miracle Mile Deli 12 years ago. She came into the restaurant every Friday with her mom for a year, before Josh asked her out.
- In fact, countless Miracle Mile Deli employees and guests have found their significant other at the restaurant.