Applebee's manager is tops

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By Johnathan Ryan

The employees of Applebee’s restaurant in Lancaster have much to celebrate after winning several awards at an annual company-wide contest.

Out of the 33 restaurants in its South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia district, the restaurant was named the best of 2007 and its general manager, Tereasa Richardson, won the Best General Manager of the Year award. The restaurant also bested other restaurants in no employee accidents, best employee surveys and over $2 million in sales.

The awards were given at the Apple-J’s annual banquet in Greenville in February.

Richardson gives credit to the staff and community for the restaurant’s overall success and even her award.

“Our team is just awesome and Lancaster is a great community,” said Richardson, who has worked at the location for two years.

To celebrate the awards, the staff will decide on a store-wide party or the hostesses will be given sought-after Swifer sweepers, Richardson said, jokingly. But a celebration will definitely happen, she said.

On top of filling new jobs as sales have increased, the restaurant has taken an active role in the community, Richardson said.

In the past year, the restaurant has held 10 Slapjack breakfasts to help raise funds for local organizations, such as the Lancaster County First Steps program. It has also raised money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a company-wide effort, and participated in Taste of the Town.

For Richardson, staying in the high-stress restaurant industry for a decade has been a natural evolution.

She started as a hostess for an Applebee’s in Beaufort 10 years ago, and waited tables to help put herself through college (she earned a degree in environmental and civil engineering).

She stuck with a restaurant career because she likes the work and has decided against a career in engineering – at least for now.

“I just love the people aspect of it,” she said of her job. “I give more back to the community by being in the store than by building bridges.”