Tom Holt, Motorcross Racer turned Restaurant Owner, made a unique career move after his racing career. Learn more about Tom as he shares his life story with KROST.

You started out as a Motorcross Racer – how did you end up in the restaurant business?
When I got done racing I went back to college to become a physical therapist. I realized pretty quickly that there was a lot more time spent on paperwork than on patient interaction. I really liked the patient interaction and the environment of care that accompanied it. I decided that I might find that in the service industry so I purchased a franchise license for a juice bar concept and got started that way. We opened our first juice bar in 1999 and I really enjoyed learning the business in that fashion. Soon I came to a crossroads in the fact that I was ready to do my own thing without the constraints of a franchise agreement. I wanted to be able to touch everything involved – the design, the food and beverage, the employee training – all of it. After searching for almost eight months for a location, we finally found what I was looking for. I sold the juice bars in 2003 and Urbane Café became a reality.

What part of the restaurant business do you enjoy the most?
Absolutely, the guest interaction. I love making people happy with our fresh and favorable products that are priced for everyday dining. We are really involved in the communities that our stores are in, which makes it very enjoyable.

What part do you enjoy the least?
We have a really stable employee and management group with very little turnover, but the day to day management and HR issues associated with running a restaurant operation can be challenging.

How many restaurants is the company operating now?
We have six with one to complete by the end of the year.

Any plans for expansion?
Yes, we have two scheduled for 2013. We would like to build three to four new units per year going forward if we can develop staff for them and find the right locations.

What is your favorite restaurant, other than your own?
I Love Sushi in Ventura

What do you order?
Feta Tuna

When you are on vacation can you relax and forget about your restaurants?
It takes me about two days to get into the vacation mode. I’m really lucky because we have such great management and staff and it allows me to relax and enjoy time with my family.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Lake Wawasee in Indiana. My family has a place there and it’s just the perfect place to spend time with the family. It’s a beautiful tree-lined lake where we can swim and boat and really enjoy the beauty of the lake country.

What do you think is the most important challenge the restaurant industry will face in the next couple of years?
I think there are a couple of them coming. We don’t know how Health Care is going to affect us yet and I am also concerned about commodity and fuel prices.

Tom Holt, Owner of Urbane Café’s
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