Joe Abuso - Genuine Hospitality Consulting
About Genuine Hospitality Consulting


Joe Abuso holds a unique position among restaurant consultants. He began as a CIA-trained chef who cooked in some of the country’s most prestigious establishments, then worked as a food and beverage director, and then started, operated, grew and profitably sold a top-tier, full service catering company in one of the country’s biggest markets. He has hands-on experience and success in all phases of operations - front and back of the house - as well as business planning, back-office operations, kitchen design, openings, growth strategies, operations assessments and exit strategies. His background is entrepreneurial, not corporate. When you hire Genuine Hospitality Consulting, your project won’t be handed off to an assistant, it will get the full attention and efforts of Joe Abuso, himself.

What services do we offer?

We help restaurateurs, caterers, hotel operators and institutional directors with…

Pre-Opening Services Business plans, opening costs analysis, inspections, permits, POS systems, kitchen design, menu development and pricing, bar programs, vendor selection, human resource planning, staff training, employee manuals and more. We can guide you through the complexities of opening your restaurant.

Operations Assessments and Strategies We will do a thorough assessment of any aspect of your operation: front and back of the house, information management and back office. You will receive a written report with specific recommendations based on our 25 years of success and experience in the industry. We will help you implement strategies to improve your products, service and profitability.

Catering Whether you want to add to your existing banquet and off-premise business, or start new programs to leverage your current facilities and resources, we can take you as far as you’d like to go. To see where your business currently stands in terms of what’s possible in catering, check out The Five Levels of Catering.

Information Management First, we will help you make sure that you know who your current customers are and help you to keep the lines of communication open to them, both through social media as well as traditional marketing methods. Then we can help you grow your customer base. Additionally, we can help with every aspect of data management, from the front of the house to the back office.

Human Resource Management We are experienced in handling all aspects of human resources: payroll, benefits, taxes, insurance (including the Affordable Care Act), employee manuals, hiring and termination policy and procedures, etc. We can help you get on track yourself, or handle it for you.

Joe Abuso

started in the Hospitality Industry as a teenager, washing pots. From this humble but useful starting point, he went on to graduate with High Honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. After that, he cooked at some of the Country’s finest restaurants, including Café Annie in Houston, The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and was Executive Chef/Food & Beverage Director at Elk Canyon Ranch in White Sulfur Springs, Montana. In 1994 he and his wife, Leslie, founded Abuso Catering Co., growing it into one of Houston’s most popular, successful and respected premium full-service off-premise catering operations.

 Since selling Abuso Catering Co. in 2007, Joe has consulted to restaurants, bars, hotels, universities, caterers, breweries and retirement communities. With both startups and established businesses, he has worked with owners and managers on business plans, financials, human resource matters, kitchen designs, coordinated every aspect of openings, written menus and recipes, sourced products, developed wine and liquor programs, developed back-office operations, and established and refined various systems and procedures, both front- and back-of-the-house.

 Joe is also a Certified Sommelier, holds a Masters Degree from Rice University and is an active lecturer and writer, with regular articles appearing in Restaurant Startup & Growth magazine, among others. His food has appeared on the cover of Food & Wine magazine. He has been Vice Chargé de Missions Honoraire of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, is a past President of the International Wine and Food Society, as well as a board member of the Culinary Institute LeNôtre. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, as well as holding memberships in the National Restaurant Association and the Texas Restaurant Association. He is currently the President of The Whitehall Club, a group of business owners founded in 1968. Joe has given presentations for the National Restaurant Association on kitchen design and lectures on wine at the LeNôtre Culinary Institute.


Leslie Abuso

is a 30 year veteran of the Information Technology field and has worked in many capacities, from instructor and courseware designer to training manager. Using her B.A. degree in Psychology as a starting point, Leslie has amassed expertise in organizational efficiency and work flow management.

Catering is all about the details, and at Abuso Catering, Leslie was able to use her experience to create a consistent and reliable flow of information, from the initial customer inquiry to the final invoice, as well as establishing a useful database. Her organizational skills allowed her to design a set of systems and procedures that are still in place and functioning smoothly.

Leslle has been able to use her experience to successfully create data management systems and procedures for our current clients at Genuine Hospitality Consulting.


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