Fabulous People: John Banquil Jr.

The president and owner of Ling & Louie’s (there are locations in Scottsdale and Chandler) as well as a doting dad, John Banquil Jr. has been in the restaurant industry his entire life. Learn more about John Banquil Jr….

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

First job: United Artists movie theaters at the Scottsdale Pavilions was my first job during the summer of my sophomore year of high school.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in AZ: With what little free time I have, I enjoy going on walks and hikes in the McDowell Mountain areas. I also enjoy spending as much time with my family as possible. That may include going the aforementioned hikes and walks, but also includes watching my kids play sports, enjoying a nice family dinner or simply lounging around the house watching movies.

Person who has impacted your life the most and why: There are quite a few that I can mention here, but my wife has to be at the top of the list. In our 16 years together, she has continually pushed me to be better restaurateur, husband and dad. I am who I am today because of the love and support she has given me through the years.

Biggest accomplishment in your eyes and why: I think it’s easy to say finally owning a restaurant company is my biggest accomplishment. It had been my lifelong dream to own my own restaurant and it was a huge deal when it became a reality at the beginning of 2019. [Ed. note: Ling & Louie’s is offering up Wokin’ Hot Summer Specials daily through the end of August, so now’s the time to give the Asian fusion restaurant a try. Each day, guests can enjoy a different special, available for dine in and take out.] However, being a dad is by far and away my biggest accomplishment. Having been in the restaurant industry for my entire adult life, it has been a constant challenge to be there for my family as much as I need and want to be. Watching my boys grow into amazing young men has easily been the most rewarding aspect of my life.

The biggest obstacle you have overcome: In the restaurant industry, obstacles are thrown at you daily, if not hourly. Overcoming these obstacles is easy in comparison to finding the proper work-life balance as a restaurant manager and now as a restaurant owner. I’ve always worked hard to provide a great life for my family, but it took me a long time to realize that being able to provide material things often pales in comparison to just being present and available for your family.  

Someone who inspires you and why: From a restaurant standpoint, Danny Meyer has been a huge inspiration. The founder of Union Square Hospitality Group out of New York has been a very influential figure for restaurateurs around the world. His approach to hospitality is second to none and his book, Setting the Table, is still a book that I reference to this day after reading it for the first time ten years ago.

Favorite quote: “I didn’t come this far, to only come this far.”

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: For anyone wanting to pursue a career in restaurants and hospitality, I would first suggest diving in and getting your hands dirty. Learn every aspect of the restaurant industry, from washing dishes, to cooking, to greeting guests at the door, serving and bartending. Understanding the differences in every position in a restaurant is very important to being successful. The second piece of advice I would give is always remembering that hospitality is a business that is all about people and experiences. The more dynamic of an experience you can provide for everyone you work with, the more dynamic of an experience they can provide for your guests.

What you think makes someone fabulous: At Ling & Louie’s, we have the seven P’s that are fundamental to our leadership. There are four specifically that I think make someone fabulous: Passion, persistence, performance and purpose. Anyone that encompasses these four characteristics in any aspect of their life can be fabulous!

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