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How to Succeed in the Hospitality Industry with Anthony Anton

Did you know hospitality is a massive part of WSU and the WSU culture? We have one of the top hospitality programs in the nation and are in the top 10 in the world!

In this episode, we’re shining some much-deserved light on the service industry and talking all things hospitality with a leading expert passionate about helping business owners chase their dreams and share them with the world.

Today, you’ll meet WSU alumni and diehard Coug fan Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. Not only has Anthony been with the association for more than 20 years, but he draws on his own experience of being raised in a family with more than 70 years of hospitality experience in the state. 

Anthony’s mission? To make Washington State the best place in the world to run a restaurant or hotel. 

Sounds easy enough, right?!

Anthony is on the CougsFirst! Podcast to share sage advice on how to succeed in the hospitality industry, AND he’s giving us tips and tools that can be applied to business across the board! 

Tune in to hear why having a passion for hospitality is key to finding success, how he’s helping protect and engage the hospitality business climate, what the service industry needs to work on post-COVID, and how hospitality businesses can adapt to the changing leadership styles for the next generation of workers. Plus, he’s answering the million-dollar question: where did the workforce go?

Relationships & People Skills Matter

 “People skills are a huge part. Relationships matter so much. And building those relationships with people who don’t look like you. And it’s important, because they’re gonna be the keys to your success, and treating everyone like they’re a Coug, right? It’s always funny, the people you don’t know are going to be the key to your breakthrough success in your world if you treat them with great hospitality and like you would treat a Coug.”

Falling In Love with Hospitality

“I had both the experience on the hill and a lifetime of restaurant work. And I thought it was one of those things I would do for a couple of years. I just fell in love with it. Hospitality operators, dream chasers, people who like, you know, my grandma has got a great banana bread recipe, and I want to share it with the world. Those people are phenomenally fun to work with and their challenges and the failure rates so high, that what we do really does help them.”

Passion is a Key to Success

“What made Joe go from one pizza place to 12 pizza places right now…is that passion. And I think that’s something you really see. Because when you have that, then you care about the details, and you stay focused, and you stay growing. Obviously a lot more that goes into that. You need to balance that passion with a budget, you need to balance that passion with a plan, without killing the passion. But I think those are some of the keys.”

Support Your Local Community

“Get out there and you know, visit that extra small business, restaurant, and other stuff. It really creates a lot of vibrancy in your community when you’ve got those great, you know, seven or eight choices near your home that you walk in and you know the owner by name, or the server comes in and starts talking to your kids as if she’s your aunt, you know, that’s just it’s part of what makes our communities fantastic.”

Washington Hospitality Association


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