There is enormous stress in opening a new business and the stress can play havoc with your health and your relationships and your perspective. They opened and they won regular clients. Some perspective clients were a bit shy about visiting Filet as it looked like a very expensive place. Soon after the opening Mark had serious health issues. The commute from Covington each day only added to the woes they faced. They struggled and they got by-but barely. The business survived but their relationship did not.
Today, Filet has cut its overhead by more than half and is serving more clients than a year ago, or two years ago or three. Filet now looks like a comfortable casual dining facility and Denise and her staff are winning new clients every week. The menu features steaks, seafood, plus seasonal specials. A new menu is just being introduced this month.
Denise Nelson is a perfect example of applying life lessons to her own business. She is a delightful woman of deep faith. A native of Florida and from a family who were devout, she has dedicated herself to things that she believes in. When her child, Courtney was born, she was a stay at home Mom for years.
She knew the importance of teaching values to kids and taught at Mt. Carmel Christian School in Stone Mountain as she wanted to give children the basis for their faith. She applies principles that are important to her in how Filet is operated. She and her staff are not open on Sunday. While they have a full service bar, you can easily observe that they cater to those who enjoy wine or a beverage with their meal; but their concern for clients’ means it’s unlikely one will leave Filet in an unsafe condition. Filet serves lunch and dinner every day except Sunday. You don’t have to call…..they will be open and delighted to see you.
She makes her home in the Lake Country these days and the commute is much shorter. Having served clients for seven years she has become family to many of her regulars. Many of her clients are closer to my age than hers and she has been through the ups and downs of health issues with hundreds. She is among the first that Lake Country patrons show pictures of new grandchildren.
The quality and presentation of the food will make you return; but the secret to Filet is that they don’t just serve another pretty steak, or a gorgeous seafood entree; Denise and the staff serve hospitality in a warm and casual setting. You will not visit many times before you feel part of a business where folks know your name and make you feel special. That is the secret to Filet’s menu, and they make the delivery of their menu look easy; and it’s not.
Try Filet in the near future and let me know if you don’t agree: the secret to Filet’s success is Denise and the staff and how they make your lunch or dinner seem a special event. I’ll bet you can’t go just once.
Filet's Menu Secret
Article by Dick Hodgetts of the
It was almost exactly seven years ago that Filet opened its doors. Opening a business in the Lake Oconee area in 2006 makes you a pioneer of sorts in terms of today’s environment. Mark & Denise Nelson planned the restaurant with developers, contractors, architects, and consultants as a stand-alone facility adjacent to Linger Longer Road. It had 5600 square feet and frankly a lot of overhead to contend with for a new business, and no client base. Mark had an extensive background in corporate restaurants and always wanted to own his own place and do it to his standards. He had a vision as to what he wanted it to be.
His wife Denise is a stickler for details, planning, budgets and making an operation adhere to standards-she also has a hospitality personality-whatever that means; she has it. She also felt strongly that one must be careful what one prays for……as one just might get it. And, no one knew that 2006 was just a few months away from the recession which would challenge all businesses-old and new.