Women in Hospitality: Bethany Lucas

Be sure to view all of our previous entries in the Women in Hospitality series.


women in hospitality

Bethany Lucas has nearly 20 years of experience working and managing a variety of areas within the hospitality industry. She started working in restaurants at 16, and since then she’s managed a variety of venues, including Edition Hotel's Sunset-West Hollywood and Paradise Club-Times Square in NYC. Bethany spent eight years working specifically in Japanese restaurants, including Nobu and Zuma, where her love for Japanese cuisine blossomed.

Now at the Asian-fusion, wood-fired dining destination KYU, Bethany serves as the Director of Events and Marketing while overseeing the Miami and New York restaurant locations. Born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida, Lucas has always loved creating small moments of joy for others.

We spoke with Bethany about restaurant operations, on-premise trends and challenges, and how she balances her recent entry into motherhood with her career. Read the full interview, below!


Can you share any tips, techniques, or insights on restaurant operations that you’ve learned over the years?

First, don’t shy away from a things-to-do list. I couldn’t live without mine. There’s so many moving parts that make a restaurant run, and in my role staying organized is key to my success!

Second, learn to clearly communicate your expectations and ideas or suggestions you have. With your team members, you must be crystal clear in what you expect from them daily – how else can you expect them to execute? With your colleagues or direct reports, no matter how challenging it might be sometimes, be sure to communicate your issues and solutions. There have been many times I was terrified to speak up, and my idea ended up being well received and was a solution everyone appreciated. You never know!

Always remember your guests don’t know the day you might have had. Make a genuine attempt to approach all guests with a positive attitude and warm demeanor. Out of all the restaurants they can go to, they chose yours, take pride in that!

Last, remember to have fun! We get to make people happy for a living!


What are some skills and strategies for leading a restaurant team while overseeing its operations?

First and foremost, always be fair and factual with your team and lead by example because employees are always watching.

[The] pre-shift meeting is very important. Make sure you lead a motivating and informative pre-shift as it truly sets the tone for the shift. My strategy during service is I think of the restaurant in four unique zones: the door, the floor, the bar, and the kitchen. I’m constantly rotating through and checking on those four areas.

  • At the door, I’m checking if we’re on a wait. How long is the hostess quoting guests if so? Are we running on time with reservations? Is our hostess maximizing seating? Etc.
  • On the floor, I’m checking for SO much: Table maintenance, guests’ satisfaction by touching tables, how are the servers doing, do I need to assist any of them? Even things like: Are the bathrooms clean? Are there crumbs on the floor in the dining room? Are all the candles still lit? Etc.
  • At the bar, I’m checking for ticket times on drinks. Does the bartender need any assistance? Does the bar need any supplies from downstairs? Etc.
  • At the kitchen, I’m checking ticket times there as well. I’m helping to run food. I’m helping to restock plates on the pass. I’m checking with our chefs that servers are ringing in items properly and communicating with them on allergies, VIPs, etc.


Are you seeing any particular trends in the on-premise?

Non-alcoholic drinks are huge right now! [I'm] seeing all different options – mocktails, spritzers, kombucha, teas – it’s great to see so much creativity going into non-alcoholic beverage options.


What are some of the top challenges in the hospitality industry right now?

Staffing and inflation. It’s incredibly hard to find quality employees right now. I believe this is due to a lot of people leaving the industry during Covid. We all had to get creative and find other sources of income with restaurants being closed and having to limit their capacities when we could re-open. Restaurants that have a good team are doing everything they can to keep them, so there isn’t as much movement with employees right now looking for anywhere new.

Inflation has created many challenges for restaurants as the price of food is higher than ever, which means we must charge [our guests more]. This obviously isn’t ideal for our guests, and it's challenging to explain to them why a dish used to be a certain price and is now significantly more.


Any advice for other women in the hospitality industry?

Honestly, as cliché as it might sound, be strong and don’t give up! As women, we will be looked over, you will be undervalued sometimes, but keep going and keep pushing until they have no choice but to recognize your worth. The reward will be that much sweeter when you get it!


Congratulations on recently becoming a mom! How do you hope to balance your career and parenthood? Any advice?

Again, stay organized. My days are longer now, but planning my day accordingly to my work tasks and needs for my son is crucial to getting everything done. I can no longer just wake up and wing it! I plan my days to maximize my productivity, and I stick to it. It’s hard, but I want to excel in all areas of my life and that takes having a plan! Lastly, the key piece to this and key to not going crazy is I also give myself a day of nothing each week where I can relax. Sometimes I even plan an hour of relaxation in my day as well so that I can re-focus and not get overwhelmed.


Plan to Attend or Participate in the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 18-20, 2024

To learn about the latest trends, issues and hot topics, and to experience and taste the best products within the bar, restaurant and hospitality industry, plan to attend Bar & Restaurant Expo 2024 in Las Vegas. Visit BarandRestaurantExpo.com.

To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, contact:

Veronica Gonnello ​(for companies A to G)​ e: [email protected]​ p: 212-895-8244

​Tim Schultz​ (for companies H to Q) ​e: [email protected]​ p: 917-258-8589

Fadi Alsayegh ​(for companies R to Z)​ e: [email protected] p: 917-258-5174​

Also, be sure to follow Bar & Restaurant on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest industry news and trends.