Au Bon Repas Restaurant Group President, Obie Ostergard

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Obadiah Ostergard, President of Au Bon Repas
Obadiah Ostergard, President of Au Bon Repas Photo credit: Cheshire Isaacs

Ever wonder what the most powerful leaders, business execs and celebrities keep on their desks? Well, we’re about to tell you. Our biweekly “What’s on My Desk” feature takes a look inside the offices and at the desks of the world’s most influential power players.

This week, we feature Obadiah “Obie” Ostergard, President of the Au Bon Repas restaurant group. Au Bon Repas simply translated means “to a good meal.” Surely, many San Franciscans have had a fantastic meal at one (or more) of the restaurants in the group, which includes the charming Café Claude, Gitane, Claudine, Café Claude Marina and Gaspar Brasserie.

As president of Au Bon Repas, Ostergard, a nearly 20 year-veteran of the restaurant and hospitality industry, leads and supports business development, strategic sales, marketing and day-to-day operations of all five restaurants. According to Ostergard, “the name has so much meaning and depth with its roots based in the long French tradition of gathering around the table to share an experience as a core fundamental aspect of life.”

Let’s take a look at what Obie Ostergard likes to keep nearby to get it all done.

Obie's Desk
Obie’s Desk

 1)      A simple drawing of a green field and sunshine that my daughter Sophie drew for me is something I always keep on my desk. Of course it not only puts a smile on face every time I look it at, but it also keep everything in perspective. When things are crazy, one of most important things we do at our restaurants  is create memorable dining experiences that are intended to put a little “sunshine” in our guests’ lives at that very moment.

2)      High-quality dark chocolate is a must. It’s great for a quick pick me up when I want to indulge, and it’s a good reminder of how something so simple can be so good.

3)      Industry periodicals are always rotating on and off my desk. There are so many stories to read about amazing people who are doing incredible things to help push our industry forward. We are in the business of people, and reading about other industry professionals who are doing great things for guests or creating incredible products is really exciting for me.

4)      A box of thank you cards. In this day and age, it’s rare to receive a hand-written note, but I always have a box of cards on hand to write a quick note of thanks to an employee, guest or friend.  I believe that a simple thank you is a great way to keep everyone around you inspired. If I’m lucky enough to be the recipient of a hand-written note, you can usually find it proudly displayed on my desk.

5)      Collateral from past projects seems to litter my desk, whether it be from a recent restaurant or from many years past. It helps me to remember the wonderful restaurants I have been a part of, the inspiration behind the concepts and how they are still relevant in today’s market.

6)      A set of architectural plans. I love thinking about the future, so if we have a project in the pipeline there will always be a set plans on my desk. Seeing what’s next and what’s to come always inspires me to be a better leader, so keeping these plans close is a daily reminder of that goal.

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