The Blackbird Restaurant has been a staple in Asheville for almost ten years and strives to prepare only the freshest flavors of Appalachia.
Read on for our interview with Chef Mike Reppert…
Tell us about your business and the role you play in it.
When the opportunity come to buy the restaurant, I worked really hard to achieve that for the people I work with and to help the Blackbird become part of the community more than it has in the past. I have been the chef at the Blackbird for six years and do anything that I can to make the Blackbird run – from working the Front of House to taking over the Baking. I always try to improve the products, like changing all the bread recipes to sourdough bread. The Blackbird tries to work to make the staff feel like a family. If any of my staff need help, we always try to help them as best we can.
What is your relationship with the community?
We’re striving to make more connections with the community. We partnered with MANNA Foodbank last year and have been donating to them as much as we can. We feel that everyone should have access to fresh, quality food. We try to do as much community outreach as possible. We realize that this city is very tourist driven, but taking care of our locals is something that we feel passionate about.
What does “hospitality” mean to you?
What hospitality means to me, is that feeling you get if a customer cares about the experience that we’re trying to achieve and works with us to create a great time that we all can enjoy. We feel like there are too many people out there that think it’s all on the server to make their experience the way they think it should be. I believe it’s something that the customer and the server can work together to create with mutual respect and friendliness. Ultimately, hospitality is giving a part of our self to create a special experience for our guest.
What do you enjoy best about working in your industry?
I love creating new things for people to fall in love with, for example, I created a Vegetable Wellington a few years back. It’s very popular with Vegetarians and Meat-eaters alike.
Through your experiences, what have you learned about customer service?
Through my years in the restaurant business, I have learned that customer service is everything. It’s all about respect and understanding your customer’s needs. By understanding this, it can make someone’s day turn around, and with a combination of great food, it can create a lifelong customer.