Meet Kirt Strock, Director of Operations, Kings Miami/Doral, Florida
Kirt was born and raised in Nashport, Ohio and is an alumnus of Thiel College in Western Pennsylvania where he graduated with a degree in Psychology in 2012. Before graduating, Kirt spent six months in Orlando with the Disney College Program where he grew to love the city. Kirt’s journey at Kings began three years after graduating, where he decided to move back to Orlando on a whim. Starting as a server at Kings Orlando in July 2015, it became obvious within his first two weeks that he was someone who was going to raise his hand to get involved - along with learning everything that he could. His then General Manager (now Regional VP of Operations), Mr. Leo Neves, recognized the qualities and attributes of great leadership within Kirt so he proceeded to plant a few seeds and began to carefully water them.
Be Obsessed With People
Kirt's journey was one that he made his own. As a server it did not take long for Kirt to start shining - not because of projects or his service on large scale booked events - but because of his attention to the 2-top and his natural ability to connect to the walk-in guests and regulars. Kirt’s intrinsic need to demonstrate one of Kings Culture Values (Be Obsessed with People) created a lot of loyal,raving fans - whether they were Steelers or Cavalier fans, he connected with them about sports - or if it was a Doctor that soon became known as Orlando’s best regular (Mr. Maserati). Kirt also took his talents to the bar as he grew from server to bartender and strengthened his connection with people, which helped energize the bar scene in Orlando. He was not going to wait on someone to hand him things, so he raised his hand and slowly started to learn and understand how to run the floor as a manager along with the ins and outs of the Sales & Marketing office at Kings.
As someone who is always looking to evolve and better himself, Kirt took a brief hiatus to pursue a “9 to 5” job at a sales & marketing company specializing in social review sites, where he learned a lot about online management and search engine optimization. Although it was a great opportunity to expand his knowledge base, it became clear to Kirt that he missed the excitement of the hospitality industry and the culture of Kings, so he returned to Kings Orlando and took a position as an Assistant Sales & Marketing Manager. After returning to Kings with fresh eyes, Kirt continued to excel at making genuine connections and exceeding guest expectations by using his new found knowledge to improve the guest experience.
Take Risks & Solve Problems
True to form, Kirt is always hungry to get involved in as many different projects as he can. He is always looking for a smarter, faster and better way, and he is always ready to offer his knowledge and experience to help other departments and team members. Kirt has a knack for noticing when a team member is about to get in a predicament and is able to step in to support them and help them “dodge the bullet”. He does this not by solving problems for them, but by helping teach them techniques to solve problems and avoid them in the first place. Kirt knows it's not who the person is today that is important, but what they can be if you believe in them and support them. His GM/Director of Operations, Troy Wilson, saw this quality, so he brought him out of the Sales & Marketing Department and into Front-of-House Operations, to give him an opportunity to coach the service team members, share his knowledge, and continue to push the importance of connecting with the guest.
What Kirt did alongside his mentor Troy was remarkable. They grew a new management team, recognizing talent and picking the best out of the best. That team now has 3 members who have been promoted to Directors of Operations, each running different Kings venues (Orlando, North Hills and Doral) along with another member who has been promoted to Senior Dining & Entertainment Manager. It was soon recognized that Kirt craved being challenged and that his skills would be beneficial outside of Kings Orlando. Kirt was given an opportunity to relocate in order to support the Kings location in Doral/Miami. By partnering with Corey Simpson, his new DOO, they were able to turn that location from an outlier in the company to a one that is starting to see immense positive growth. Kirt’s passion, dedication and support in Doral was so impactful that another big change was able to be made - that change was sending Doral’s then DOO, Corey Simpson, to support the Franklin, Tennessee location. With appreciation to Kirt and Corey’s invaluable leadership and partnership, Corey was able to confidently leave the Doral location in Kirt’s capable hands - resulting in his recent promotion to Director of Operations in Kings Doral, adding another great leader to the list!
Kirt has always been a leader who focuses on “growing himself” by immersing himself in books, articles and other forms of education that help with his and his team's growth. When Kirt is not dreaming up new processes and supporting his team at Kings, he can be found in his own kitchen experimenting with food - one of his biggest passions. Fun fact about Kirt: He is also incredible at impressions and voices/accents - one of his “tricks of the trade” when it comes to connecting with guests!
Do you love to connect with people and learn what makes them happy? Are you looking for a supportive, team-oriented environment with plenty of room for you to grow? If you have the drive to challenge yourself and deliver the goods when it comes to hospitality, apply to Kings today to get started.