Author: Larry Bergin
Have you ever contemplated which Mexican food ingredient would best represent you as a person? Don’t worry if you haven’t; it’s not like this is a normal practice accepted by the general population—just the staff at San Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant at Shelter Cove Harbour. Things are a little different around this popular Mexican restaurant; for starters, the employees call themselves Team Taco, so we know these people must all get along and enjoy their work—a rarity in today’s business climate. (My previous workplace was so dysfunctional that we would have probably called ourselves something like Team Two-Day-Old Un-Refrigerated Haggis on a Paper Plate.) So what makes San Miguel’s so special?
Any staff that calls themselves Team Taco must be having fun, and owner Maryanne Laskowitz can verify this fact. “We have one employee who has been with us for 15 seasons, and most of our staff has been with us for several years. Our employees are happy and it shows.”
Seems simple—keep your employees happy by providing a fun work environment. But it was at that point that she informed me of her employees being the ingredients in the food they serve. I paused, made sure to take a slow sip of my drink to gather my thoughts, and check all immediate exits before I continued. I didn’t want to end up like the guy from Eating Raoul. (Look it up.)
When it comes to team building, Maryanne believes each employee represents an ingredient found in the food at San Miguel’s, therefore each employee is a crucial part of the finished product. They share responsibilities which enables everyone to work as a team.
Relieved to find out the ingredients thing wasn’t what I thought, I find out that Maryanne considers herself to be the Margarita of San Miguel’s. When was the last time you heard your boss say, “Yeah, I guess I would see myself as an oversized alcoholic drink laden with tequila, salt, and a lime”? It’s a great metaphor and it seems to make Team Taco feel like they’re appreciated, so maybe there’s something to this idea.
Take one look at the accompanying pictures of the selected “ingredients” from San Miguel’s, and you can tell they love what they do. Maryanne adds, “We have a great staff. They like to have fun, and so do I, so that’s what we end up giving to our customers: a fun environment.”
If you have ever been to San Miguel’s you know that it is a fun, positive environment with indoor and outdoor seating for small or large groups. It boasts some of Hilton Head Island’s best live entertainment and has a great outdoor bar which overlooks the waters of Shelter Cove Harbour.
The food is authentic and is always served in generous portions; the outdoor bar music is never too loud, and the atmosphere is festive, but not people singing happy birthday in clown hats festive. It is reminiscent of a casual restaurant found in the Baja California region of Mexico and has a few signature dishes not found at your everyday Mexican restaurant. The only things missing from this Mexican fiesta would be a mariachi band, ten dollar lobsters, and maybe Sammy Hagar.
But the idea of each employee being a specific ingredient is a unique concept in that truly exemplifies the ambience that is San Miguel’s.