When the economy was struggling in past years, this hospitality power duo was riding out the weak wave and waiting for a swell. But now it seems that swell has arrived.
“You always do your best work in a recession where you plan for the turn,” said Jonathan Segal, founder and chief executive officer of hospitality mecca The ONE Group, which currently operates 21 venues worldwide, including STK and food and beverage for the Gansevoort hotels in both Miami, New York and Turks and Caicos. “These are times of mergers and acquisitions.”
And he couldn’t be more right. Segal, along with The ONE Group’s Senior Vice President Celeste Fierro have fearlessly led their hospitality mega company into an expansion reaching more than 24 markets across the United States and Turks and Caicos, the opening of huge STK posts in Miami and Las Vegas – two markets hit hard by the economy in their own right – and bringing their business to a worth of roughly $100 million.
Segal is a polished man with a handsome British brogue and a vibrant energy that pours over the telephone line. He speaks of his trials and triumphs as sinuously as he speaks of his adoration for skiing. “Slap some wood on my feet and I’m a happy man,” he said.
He tells of how his legacy began with a set of well-worn hands and a vision. He began at age 15 with a job in manual labor, what he calls a “do boy” with a broom in hand. At 16, he fled to Bailiwick of Jersey to join The Modern Group, a family-owned business. At The Modern Group, he continued to do menial work, but began climbing the rungs of the proverbial ladder by “pushing boxes around better than the next guy,” or so he puts it, in order to prove himself.