Kendra Power exudes energy everywhere she goes, and she goes to a lot of places as the manager of new restaurant openings for Yard House. She has helped open nearly half of the brand’s 67 locations, a job she relishes.
“You get a different mindset when you travel,” Kendra said. “You learn different ways of doing the same things with more efficiency and can take great ideas back to your restaurant. You build relationships with managers across the company.”
Kendra’s 10-year Yard House career began with a dash of happenstance. She had been working as a bartender at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant while she earned a communications degree at the University of Missouri in Columbia, which she attended on a softball scholarship.
After graduation, she moved back home to Kansas City, KS, to look for a public relations or marketing job, and her general manager at Ruby Tuesday suggested she check out Yard House in the meantime. She took his advice and was “hired on the spot” as a server. She interviewed for PR jobs, looking “for a company that offered a lot of opportunities and cared about its people, a company I could have fun with.”
Within a few months, she became a Yard House trainer. Soon after she was offered a chance to travel and open new restaurants. “I said, ‘Sign me up!’ It slapped me in the face that Yard House was where I should be.”
Still based in Kansas City, Kendra said Yard House keeps her on her toes with multiple new restaurant openings each year. “It’s really challenging to teach new managers and 250 new team members all about Yard House. We have an extensive selection of food, beer and cocktails. And the culture piece of it is key. We need to teach the team that we care about our guests and each other and make sure they can keep that promise day in and day out.”
Her job also introduces her to interesting people, she said. Eight years ago, at a new restaurant opening in San Jose, CA, she met two women who became her best friends: Rachelle Joyce, manager of training and development at the Restaurant Support Center in Orlando, FL, and Joyce Abbott, an assistant general manager at the Yard House restaurant in Costa Mesa, CA.
“We really liked the city and each other and went shopping on our days off and had sleepovers at our corporate apartment. We call each other sisters and even got matching friendship tattoos at a new restaurant opening in Miami.”
Director of Operations Raven Maree, who has worked with Kendra at several restaurant openings, is a big fan. “Kendra is a natural leader with a positive attitude who’s respected for her knowledge and tenacity. Not only that, she is pure fun — a star who continues to shine brightly at Yard House.