Behind the Plate with Benjamin Steakhouses' Cynthia Jorge
Friday, April 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM | Celida Maldonado
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Cynthia Jorge, marketing director of one of NYC’s top steakhouses, is an inspiration to all women trying to make it in a male-dominant field. She grew up working in the hospitality industry since she was 15 years old; holding jobs as a hostess, cocktail waitress, coat check and bartender. She attended Boston University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Cynthia began her career at a PR firm that focused in hospitality. She learned fast and was quickly on the way to the top.

“Fortunately, because I’m a people person, my clients absolutely loved me,” said Jorge. “PR, on the other hand, wasn’t really my forte, because it was too much office time and not enough face time.”

After realizing that she wanted to switch directions, Benjamin Prelvukaj, the owner of Benjamin Steakhouse offered her a job. He needed an event coordinator/floor manager. She accepted and eventually her position morphed into a marketing position.

We got a chance to chat with Cynthia Jorge about how it all came about.

Joonbug: What does your job entail?

Cynthia Jorge: A lot of schmoozing- that’s for sure! Luckily I’m a natural, so it works out perfectly. I also get to attend a lot of industry events- from tastings to charities to magazine parties, and more. I oversee all events that go on in both our NYC and Westchester locations, work with all the hotels in the city, and so much more. There’s never a dull moment in my line of duty.

JB: What's your favorite part?

CJ: There’s a lot, I guess the main thing is meeting new people, from CEOs to celebrities to just really interesting people in the industry. That and the food. I always say I’m so spoiled because every day I get to feast on some of the most amazing food in the city- not to mention the best steak.  I was a vegetarian for 10 years before starting to work with Benjamin’s, now I’ll never look back.
JB: Are there any challenges to being a female manager behind a traditionally masculine steakhouse?

CJ: At first, it definitely took some getting used to considering I was young and although I’d worked in the industry for years, it was my first restaurant management job. I was overseeing a primarily male staff who had worked together for years. However, under Benjamin’s tutelage, I really developed my own management style, melding his positive, yet firm managerial approach with my own strong but feminine demeanor.  I think his leadership in such a positive manner is the most important factor of the restaurant’s success. It transcends from the management to the staff and ultimately to the overall guest experience.
JB: What are some of the most exciting aspects of your job?

CJ: I think the most exciting part about my job is that I get to have my hands in so many baskets. Creatively, I get to oversee, edit and design all marketing, web and advertising material; help develop seasonal menus; and so much more. Socially I get to schmooze nonstop- both at the restaurant and offsite at different events- throughout the year. I still get to flex my managerial muscles, working with the staff and overseeing the guest experience. Basically, I get to exercise all of my personality strengths, and to do that professionally never gets old!
JB: What do you feel is the key to your success, and to the success of Benjamin Steakhouse?

CJ: I really believe that if you have a good product, maintain consistency, and basically exceed the expectations of every guest who walks through the door, that’s the recipe for our success right there. Teamwork is definitely a major contributor, as well. Luckily, we have an amazing team here at Benjamin’s, and everyone constantly works together to continuously perfect the overall guest experience, which is key to success in any hospitality arena. As per my own success? Hard work, high energy, and passion.
Tags: joonbug, Behind The Plate, Cynthia Jorge, Benjamin Steakhouse, new york