Name: Eric M. Lingenfelder.
Company: Verant Group.
Titles: Owner and chief operating officer.
No. of employees: 260.
Year founded: First location opened in 1997. Formed Verant Group in 2003.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University.
Birthplace: San Diego.
Current residence: San Diego.
As a founding partner of the Verant Group, a San Diego-based restaurant and bar organization, Eric Lingenfelder can say he is living up to his dream. He has always wanted to build something special. The group’s mission is to “excel through knowledge of the bar, restaurant and entertainment business.” The group owns and operates: West Coast Tavern, True North Tavern, Offshore Tavern and Grill, Sandbar Sports Grill, Tavern at the Beach, Brewley’s Pint and The Tavern on Mill (Arizona). In March 2012, the group is planning to open its eighth location, in downtown San Diego.
Essential business philosophy: Work hard to build something you can be proud of, and don’t end up alone at the finish line.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Listen, look and experience your environment.
Guiding principles: Treat everyone with respect.
Yardsticks of success: Happiness.
Goals yet to be achieved: Creating a multi-unit, single concept.
Best business decision: Surrounding myself with people who have the same core values as me.
Worst business decision: Any wrong decision I have made more than once.
Toughest business decision: How fast we should grow.
Biggest missed opportunity: I don’t dwell on the past, the future is too exciting.
Mentor: Conrad Lingenfelder, my father, entrepreneur visionary and inspiration to succeed.
Word that describes you: Motivated.
What you like best about your job: The ability to make people happy.
What you like least about your job: Liability.
Pet peeves: Lack of passion.
Most important lesson learned: Anything is possible.
Person most interested in meeting: Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO.
Three greatest passions: Family, friends and life.
First choice for a new career: I don’t really have another choice. I love what I do. If I had to change careers, it would be nice to get paid to play golf.
Favorite quote: “Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it” — “Braveheart.”
Most influential book: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni.
Favorite status symbol: My Verant team.
Favorite restaurant: West Coast Tavern.
Favorite place for business meetings: In any of our locations.
Favorite vacation spot: Koh Samui, Thailand.
Favorite way to spend time: With family and friends.