"I love interacting with our guests & staff every day. I love connecting with the team and finding new ideas to drive the businesses."
Up Close: Profile of the General Manager of the Restaurant Group
Billy Joel said, “If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.” For Danielle Short, General Manager of Houlihan’s and Devon Seafood + Steak, time is not wasted. She collected her first paycheck in the restaurant industry at the age of 12 and has done so ever since. In 2006, she brought her expansive knowledge of the restaurant industry to Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R), and over the past 13 years she helped to propel two of the Restaurant Group’s restaurants to great success.
I had the chance to talk to Danielle about her career path and why she chose the food and beverage industry. As you’ll read, it’s the people. The team she gets to work with every day. The ones who constantly push each other to be better than the day before. Her family, as she affectionately refers to them. Learn more about Danielle, why she changed her major from Psychology, why Houlihan’s will always hold a special place in her heart and more.
Interested in the restaurant field? Want to learn from the industry’s best and make lifelong contacts? Join Danielle’s team! She’s currently looking for motivated individuals to support the Restaurant Group team. Learn about open positions and apply at HersheyJobs.com.
Q) Tell us about your career. Where did you go to school? What was your career path prior to joining Hershey?
A) It has been a fantastic journey to land where I am today. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Growing up in a big Italian family one thing that was always important to my family was having a strong work ethic. My love for the restaurant business began when I got my first job at 12 years old at Kosmo's Pizza, a local pizza shop in my neighborhood. From there, I was hooked! My family also owned and operated a Restaurant & Tavern in Montgomery County for most of my school years and through college. There I held every position possible in the restaurant. I went to Temple University and studied Psychology. I quickly learned that my true passion was hospitality and changed education paths to major in Hotel & Restaurant Management at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. In 2006, I relocated to York, PA and my journey at HE&R began.
Q) Walk us through your career so far at Hershey.
A) In 2006, I was hired by HE&R as an Assistant Restaurant Manager and was part of the Houlihan’s opening management team. We spent 10 weeks training in Philadelphia and in July of 2006 we opened the most successful and highest revenue-generating Houlihan’s in the country. In 2009, I accepted an opportunity as the Assistant General Manager role for a new seafood restaurant that HE&R franchised, Devon Seafood + Steak. We spent two months training in Kansas City, MO, and we successfully opened Devon Seafood + Steak in April of 2009. Most recently, as the Restaurant Group continues to grow, I was promoted to General Manager of both Houlihan’s and Devon Seafood + Steak. I am so passionate and full of pride for both of these restaurants, and am so happy to be able to continue to lead these operations and amazing teams!
Q) Why did you choose to work for Hershey?
A) I mean come on... who wouldn't want to work in The Sweetest Place On Earth?! Our vision, core values and our core purpose of supporting the Milton Hershey School drew me in. It was the best decision I ever made!
Q) What's your biggest accomplishment since joining the Hershey team?
A) Being involved with launching two successful high volume restaurants for HE&R has been one of my biggest accomplishments. I also helped to create and execute the first-ever Culinary Career Day for HE&R in 2016. The event was created to attract local culinary schools and potential applicants to HE&R to showcase what HE&R has to offer in the way of continuing education, skill-building and career progression. It was a great event and I really enjoyed working and collaborating with all of the Executive Chefs across HE&R. It was incredible to have a vision come together the way it did.
Q) What's your favorite food at Houlihan's and Devon Seafood + Steak?
A) Such a difficult question to answer. There are so many great options!! I would have to say my favorite Houlihan’s menu item is the Southwest Grilled Chicken Wrap - I eat them often for lunch. At Devon Seafood + Steak, you really can't go wrong with any of our fresh fish selections. They are flown in from all over the world within 48 hours of catch. We get some of the best seafood in the world in our little town of Hershey. My favorite is the Copper River Salmon. If you have not tried it, you should! Our Chef's daily seasonal sides are also a great choice.
Q) What's the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A) I have had the opportunity to work with some really fantastic people over the years with HE&R. This industry is all about building relationships and those relationships have helped me gain so much knowledge working alongside such a talented group of people over the years. Hands down THE TEAM at Devon Seafood + Steak and Houlihan’s is what keeps me going. I would put them up against any team!
Q) What advice would you give someone interested in a career in the restaurant industry?
A) DO IT!! It is the most rewarding job ever. You will find so much more than a job in this industry. The uniqueness in our business is that people in this industry stay connected forever. We truly are a family. If you work hard and have passion you will find yourself a forever home in the restaurant industry.
Q) What's the best perk of your job?
A) Duh, the food! No, but seriously, the biggest perk is to be able to work side by side with such an amazing team every day.
Q) What does a typical day consist of?
A) Well, I can't say that there is a "typical day" for me but that is what I LOVE about what I do. Each day brings a new set of challenges. I love interacting with our guests & staff every day. I love connecting with the team and finding new ideas to drive the businesses. We are always looking to improve and grow!
Q) Tell us something folks might not know about you.
A) I actually met my husband, Josh at Houlihan’s. We both were part of the opening team in 2007. I say that Houlihan’s Hershey will always hold a very special place in my heart. We have 7-year old twin daughters, Lena & Sophia. They have been my greatest accomplishment. They also have quickly learned to love this industry...at 3-years old they were both eating oysters. This to us is so much more than a job or career. This industry has become a part of who we are and for that I will be forever thankful!
"You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together."- Anthony Bourdain