Written by Mike Gastineau.
Budd Gould can’t help laughing when he tells the story of how he first got into the restaurant business.
He had finished college in the late 1960s and was anxious to get going on his career with both an entrepreneurial spirit and an idea he was sure would work. He wanted to open a business that was a combination of a pet supply store, a veterinary hospital, and sold home kennels for dogs. He got a few locations open, but the business never took off.
Undaunted, Gould had another plan.
“I came up with the idea to grow Maine lobsters in Puget Sound,” he chuckled. He got a couple investors interested and as they researched the idea, they decided to open a restaurant in the Crossroads neighborhood so they’d have a place to serve their fresh Maine, er, Puget Sound lobsters.
Consultants eventually pointed out several flaws with the plan (not the least of which was that Puget Sound is home to several predators who, like many humans, enjoy lobster dinners) and to this day Maine lobsters are still primarily available in Maine. As the company was dissolved, Gould was given the restaurant even though those close to him knew (or at least thought) he couldn’t boil water.
Gould’s plan was to run the restaurant for a year and then sell it to investors he knew in Texas who ran the Steak and Ale chain. But Boeing was in a huge bust cycle and the restaurant struggled to find customers. Gould sums up his first year in the restaurant business thusly:
“We had a great bar.”
After a year, he met with the Texas investors as planned but to his dismay discovered that they now had no interest in acquiring his place. He was discouraged after the meeting, but he also had an epiphany.
“I’d better go back to Seattle,” he thought to himself, “and learn how to run a restaurant.”
A half-century later, Gould found himself in a banquet room in Tacoma being recognized for a lifetime of success in the restaurant and hospitality business. He was this year’s recipient of the Jerry Burtenshaw Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington State Hospitality Association. Surrounded by family and friends, he eagerly spread the credit around the room, saluting 15 Anthony’s employees in the audience who have been with the company for 30 years or more.
“It’s our leadership team that has helped Anthony’s achieve what we have achieved,” he said. “We find leaders who have passion for what we do every day and they’re team players which is important.”
Anthony’s President and CEO Amy Burns said her father’s leadership skill has helped the company achieve greatness but also pointed out that he is a terrific coach to the people who work with him which has allowed Anthony’s to build that team concept.
“To be successful, a leader must be a good coach,” Gould said. “You’ve got to have a compass and you’ve got to know where you want to go. It’s important to educate and lead people down the proper lane.”
Gould stressed that being a good leader also means maintaining an open mind and believes that’s one reason his company has so many people who have stayed with him for decades.
“You’ve got to be a good coach as opposed to a dictator. I might want to do something one way but someone else on my leadership team might have a better idea. This award isn’t for me. It’s for all of us at Anthony’s.”
Anthony Anton, the President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association, praised Gould for his commitment both to family and to the large number of Northwest communities that serve as Anthony’s locations.
The award is named after Washington hospitality industry legend Jerry Burtenshaw. When Gould was getting started in the business, Burtenshaw’s company Alpine-Burtco was already providing concession services to numerous Northwest sports stadiums, the Montana State Fair, and was responsible for feeding the crew that built the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Gould admired Burtenshaw’s business skill and the two became friends.
“He was a nice person, and there’s not always a lot of nice people in the world,” he said. Burtenshaw, like Gould, was dedicated beyond his business to making the world a better place. He donated both time and money to the Washington State University School of Hospitality and Business Management and was involved in several other philanthropic projects at WSU. A member of the school’s Hall of Fame, Burtenshaw passed away in 2021.
On the same weekend he received the award, Gould was racking up miles attending sports events which remains one of his favorite activities. He spent one afternoon at his grandson’s high school football playoff game, then spent that night at Husky Stadium watching the University of Washington football team before travelling to Spokane the next day to watch Gonzaga basketball play Kentucky.
He thought of his friend Jerry Burtenshaw as he watched workers at the concession stands. And he kept a watchful eye on various coaches looking to pick up tips on how to get better at leading his Anthony’s crew.