My Library and Courses
Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Treat Suppliers Like Family

Great meals start with freshest ingredients. Joe T. Garcia knows this well so it coddles suppliers to guarantee that if there is only one tomato in all of Forth Worth, they will get it. Pictured here, Lanny LanCarte, says you have to love sweeping the floor as much as you love to cook.  More...

Key Question:


We are family. Though the restaurant is not open for breakfast, this place has a crowded breakfast table. Family members and suppliers commingle readily during the breakfast hour. Friendships are developed, and the family grows.
Some time ago, one of our family's Christmas gifts was a simple apron that said, "We are family!  Everybody ...includes you and me." Below that heading was the arithmetic progression of unique names added as we go back each generation (females). Similar to the idea that there is only six degrees of separation, by the time of the Pilgrims we each have anywhere from 524,288 to 1,048,576 (calculation) family trees to follow.

Within the 9th century we have over 17 trillion famiy trees to follow. Given that there are so many overlapping genetic pools, the conclusion is "You've got the whole world in your genes." It is a powerful thought that we are all in some manner related.

It makes the breakfasts as much an ingathering of distant family members as much as an act of kindness and generosity.

Q:  Is there any way to carry the Joe T.'s model over to your own business?

Of course. There are many businesses that we have studied that host breakfasts and lunches for their customers, suppliers and employees on a regular basis. At Opici Wine Group, the founders have eaten dinner with a customer every week for sixty years. Opici hosts parties for suppliers to introduce them to the customers. Business is not cut and dried. It is so much about feelings, especially when you are working to build something that will out live you.

Think about it

What could you do to make your suppliers feel more like family?

Clip from: Joe T. Garcia's, a family restaurant

Fort Worth: Recognized by the James Beard Foundation for their outstanding regional cuisine, this family restaurant is truly a celebrated landmark in the USA.

Hope LanCarte is a first-generation American and the matriarch of a family business that her father began in 1935. Within three generations, this place has become a celebrated landmark, paradise on earth, "The Miracle on Commerce"  Hope's father came from Mexico with nothing. And today, this family has everything.

What happens when a family works together, pulls together, and stays together for three generations? Impossible? In this episode of the show we find proof positive that it is possible. When a family coheres and works toward a common goal, miracles happen.

Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant

Jody LanCarte, Public Relations

2201 N Commerce St
Fort Worth, TX 76164 ‎ , TX 76164 ‎

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1939

Treat Suppliers Like Family

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Lanny is Hope's oldest son. He is the president of the company and runs the restaurant.
HATTIE: I'm convinced that the reason we're who we are today  is based on who you hang around with. You know: Who influences you? Who are your mentors? Who are your role models?

LANNY: Mine would have to be my grandmother.

HATTIE: Your grandmother taught you how to be a restaurateur.

LANNY: Yeah. I mean, I learned everything from her. Well, there was nothing I didn't learn from her. She was doing all the cooking back then, and she would always take care of me and, you know, always cooking dinner and brought me breakfast, you know, in the mornings when we'd get up, before I'd go to school. And when the route man would come in, the delivery man, I mean, they were all like family. They would all come in and say, `Hello, Mama Sus.' And, you know, it was...

HATTIE: They called her mama?

LANNY: Well, that's what everybody called her, Mama Sus.

HATTIE: Mamasuez. What does Mamasuez mean?

LANNY: That's short of Suez. Her name was Suez.

HATTIE: And so the people that were bringing the tomatoes and all the vendors... LANNY: And they all made it a habit to be here...

HATTIE: ...they all loved her. LANNY: 7:30 when she was cooking me breakfast. So that way breakfast was always a big, you know--I was sitting down here with all the beer men and the beet men...

HATTIE: Oh, she fed them, too?

LANNY: Oh, yeah, 'cause at that time...

HATTIE: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Your grandmother gave her suppliers their breakfast?

LANNY: Oh, yeah. Because the linen man would always know what time that I was either getting ready to get ready for school and stuff like that. So the whole table that we used as the prep table was always, you know, wiped off, and then she'd be cooking breakfast for just probably about 10, 15 people every morning when I was getting ready to go to school because everybody knew what time she was cooking me breakfast. So she would cook for about 15, 20 people every morning.

HATTIE: So what is that teaching you?

LANNY: I think I learned how to respect people a lot, you know? And for people to come to your establishment, I think they have to respect you. They have to know that you're into what you're doing.

HATTIE: Well, let me put it this way. If there is a tomato shortage, and if anybody in this town's going to get a tomato, it's going to be you guys because you've been giving this guy breakfast every day for years.

LANNY: Well ...

HATTIE: All I'm saying is that because she was gracious, you get good service.

LANNY: They had great service; 7:30 in the morning everyone got all kinds of service.

HATTIE: Everybody coming in.

LANNY: Yeah.

HATTIE: Are these your family secret recipes?

LANNY: Mm, my grandmother's, Mamasuez.

HATTIE: And so are you the one who teaches each person who cooks here...

LANNY: Me and my mother, uh-huh.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!