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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Find Joy in Every Task

At Joe T's everyone is working hard to have fun.  Music adds more joy.

Key Question:


A job is when you're doing something when you'd rather be doing something else. Hope LanCarte has worked long hours, seven-days a week, all of her life.

Hope refuses to think about retiring even though her seven grown children can readily handle the day-to-day operations of the business. Hope is smart because when people stop working they die. The average American male who has worked 40 years and retires to the easy chair is dead within 36 months. Retirement is a new idea and it is a bad idea. People can work fewer hours and try new careers, but we shouldn't retire. Hope loves people and loves serving them the recipes her Mother brought to this country from Mexico. What she does is exciting and noble.

Why did Jodi, Hope's daughter-in-law, start working at the restaurant?

A: Because Jodi's husband, Lanny, was always working at the restaurant, and it was the only way Jodi could spend time with him. Almost 30 years later, Jodi and Lanny are still at the restaurant more than they are not.

Does running a successful restaurant look like slavery?

Yes, if you don't love it. However, when you find work you love, you have boundless energy for it. Just like you want to be with the person you love, you want to be involved in the activities you love.

Q:  What did Lanny say is needed if you want to start a restaurant?

A: He said you have to love cooking and love washing the dishes too. Lanny, who is the president/CEO of Joe T. Garcia's, learned by absorption. He credits his grandmother. But, he was raised in the kitchen; and not only learned how to cook, he learned how to treat people, how to manage money, and how to mop the floor.

Think about it

Do you love your work? If not, why not quit?

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

Find Joy in Every Task

JODI: Now I'm in charge of catering and sales and on-premise parties.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Jodi was 17 and Lanny was 20 when they married. Twenty-seven years later she tells me why she has always been part of this family business.

JODI: I mean, we grew up together, and I think that's the reason we've lasted so long and we've had such a great relationship is because we were children growing up together and it just stayed that way.

HATTIE: But why did you decide to come to work here? JODI: If I wanted to see him, if I wanted to be with him at any time during the day or night, I came to work.

HATTIE: ... beause he was here.

JODI: He was here. This is his priority.

HATTIE: OK. So, Lanny, if you were giving advice to someone about starting a restaurant, what would you tell them? What do they have to be doing?

LANNY: Well, I think to run a restaurant, you've got to love two things. You've got to love to wash dishes and to cook.

HATTIE: But a lot of people love cooking, but they don't want to wash the dishes. Are you saying that we have to be able and be willing to do all of it?

LANNY: In a restaurant business you have to love to do everything, from mopping up the floors to sweep--I mean, just you've got to love the whole package.

HATTIE: (In the Studio) I said at the beginning that Hope has never had a job. We here at SMALL BUSINESS SCHOOL believe a job is when you're doing something when you'd rather be doing something else. Work is great; jobs are bad. Hope has never created a job for herself. She's created work for herself. And you can have terrific work as an employee or as an owner.

To Hope, running a business is not a job. It's a way of life, and that way of life includes work, and work is great.

(Voiceover) Meaning in work is easy to find when you look closely. Making the perfect tortilla, handling the chili rellenos gently, marinating the meats at the right temperature -- this is meaningful. The result delights the customers who've been coming to Joe T.'s, some for over 60 years.

Lanny says that if you want to run a successful restaurant, sure, you have to love cooking, but you also have to love washing the dishes. What this says to me is Lanny believes that loving each step is what is important. When you do hundreds of little things right, the customer is delighted.

Hope and her family all love people; they all love work. That's the magic formula. If you can't get to Ft. Worth soon to taste Hope's Mexican food, not to worry, you can find her hot sauce in cyberspace.

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