Annnnndddd the winner of this year’s Best Employer award goes to Central Kitchen + Bar.
Co-owner Jared Lee couldn’t believe it when he heard Central’s name called to claim a Small Business B.C. Award, on Wednesday night in Vancouver.
“I wasn’t expecting it and then our name got called. I was like ‘OK? I guess I have to go up and give a speech now,” he said.
The Small Business competition started in October, and Lee said the restaurant was nominated for a few categories but headed into the final top-five aiming for Best Employer.
The finals were done in a Dragon’s Den format. Competitors pitched their businesses to a panel of judges before being put under the fire in a Q and A.
Lee and his business partner, Devon Murray, spent a week prepping for the live pitch and getting organized.
“We felt pretty good about it, pretty confident. We presented to the best of our ability,” said Lee.
“It was nerve-racking and at the same time, the judges were incredible,” he added the duo became emotional during the pitch.
Lee is especially grateful to his employees.
“We wouldn’t be here without them. They’re the most important people for sure.”
With the title comes with an all-access pass to seminars, workshops and direction from Small Business B.C.
The business has been running for two and a half years and the title has taken the restaurant to new heights.
The bar is now set higher for Central, said Lee, “it’s motivation.”
Comfort is the theme when working at Central, carrying a ground-up approach with happy staff before profits.
“With that comes a more productive server and more productive bartender,” said Lee.
The vision was to be a Central hangout spot for Kelowna locals, a place they can visit after home and work.
“Our mission is creating unforgettable experiences every time people come in,” said Lee.
Everything is made in-house from the sauces to burgers, he said.
“Being a strong, inspiring and supportive employer is one of the most important components to owning your own business. Congratulations to Central Kitchen + Bar for winning the Best Employer Award at this year’s Small Business BC Awards, and congratulations to every nominee and participant — each of you deserves recognition for your contributions to our communities.”
TruShield is proud to partner with Small Business BC and continues to support the hard-working entrepreneurs of British Columbia,” said executive vice president of TruShield Insurance Tony O’Brien.
The restaurant is located at 1155 Ellis St.