Jared Schriver was still trying to figure out the difference between a ribeye and a strip steak when he found himself serving various Lakers players. Right after that experience, Schriver realized he’s poured water for enough celebrities to start a reality show around.
And yet, it was the regular customers to Pechanga Resort Casino’s Great Oak Steakhouse that prompted – in his words – “a personality evolution” that allowed him to not only understand his role, but to make his role something special.
“When I first came in here, I saw people as money. I realized quickly that’s not the case,” he said. “The more I got to know people, the more it made me realize people are more than money.
“We had this couple in their 80s come in who served in Korea. They always had the same table and I got to know them. They had so many similarities with my grandparents: both were stationed in the Air Force in Alaska, and the more I talked to them, the more I realized these were people. They were paying for an experience, paying for not just prime steaks, but an experience. And they were people who had stories to tell.”
Schriver has been a server’s assistant at the resort/casino’s flagship restaurant since August 2017, but he has plenty of stories to tell himself, starting with the impact he’s already made on the Great Oak guests. The 24-year-old Temecula resident was one of only three Pechanga front-of-house team members presented with a Xenia Hospitality Spotlight on Service Award. He also earned a commendation from Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington for the award.
Not bad for someone who applied for an IT job at Pechanga and someone who not only had never worked in food & beverage before, but “hadn’t been to a fancy restaurant since I was a small child.” He laughed about not even knowing about the steakhouse.
But Schriver is nothing if not a quick study and his outgoing personality immediately caught the attention of Pechanga Assistant Food & Beverage Director Alex Peña, who immediately saw how the personable Schriver would fit in one of the property’s high-end restaurants. He initially hired Schriver for Paisano’s, but before Schriver could learn the difference between angel hair and fettuccini, Peña called him and informed him he’d be working at the Great Oak Steakhouse.
It may be accidental that Schriver ended up at the Great Oak Steakhouse. It was anything but that he’d end up at Pechanga. He literally grew up with Pechanga, coming to Temecula as a child and living not far from the property. As a result, Schriver had a front-row seat to see Pechanga morph from tents in a parking lot to one tower, then two.
He also grew up seeing the impact Pechanga had on the Temecula Valley, both from the growth in the Valley to hearing Tribal Members speak to his grade-school class about the Pechanga people and their culture.
Schriver not only listened to the stories, he took them to heart. The service and the community spirit he saw from Tribal Members explaining their culture to him took root in the way he serves everyone he encounters at the Great Oak Steakhouse.
“You make a personal connection. You show genuine concern for everyone you meet,” he said. “You go above and beyond for them. If they want something a certain way, you do it.
“There’s another regular guest I talk to, Paul, who was injured in a car accident. By talking to him regularly, you understand different lifestyles and experiences. You see them as people.”
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