Power couple Edd and Nina Hendee have been practicing the finest hospitality, leading a strong, motivated staff and serving premium Certified Angus Beef ® brand steaks since their start as restaurateurs in 1977. And this year, the couple’s hard work at its world-renowned Houston dining hub, the Taste of Texas, paid off.

ONCON—an online hub that marketers, human resources executives and legal representatives can visit for courses, roundtable discussions, presentations and conferences to learn more about their industries—recently honored the Hendees at its inaugural 2019 ONCON ICON Awards. They received the marketing leadership award, given to a business owner(s) described as having demonstrated the most leadership in building, leading and motivating a highly successful team.

According to Corbin Blackford, Taste of Texas’ director of business development, the Hendees put a lot of thought into how their restaurant operates and how they guide their staff.

The Hendees, whose 200-person staff includes many college students, understand that supporting team members with care, education and goals helps provide them with more than just a pleasant work environment.

“Edd and Nina offer their staff who are working toward a degree bonuses for each A and B earned in school. Proceeds from special events hosted at the restaurant go toward the Annual Employee Scholarship Program, which includes tuition and books,” Blackford says. “Managers work with students to schedule work around their class schedules, and the restaurant hosts personal finance, computer and language training sessions on Saturday mornings.”

This support helps motivate the staff to properly serve the over 1,000 customers who eat daily at Taste of Texas, the highest grossing independent restaurant in the state of Texas. It also carries on the owners' beliefs in hospitality and that the dinner table serves as the heart and soul of every family. The Hendees, according to Blackford, have resisted calls to open additional locations in order to keep the restaurant a trusted, family-run establishment.

In addition to the recent recognition from ONCON, the Hendees received multiple awards for their 40th anniversary cookbook, “Perfectly Aged: 40 Years of Recipes and Stories from the Taste of Texas,” including gold from the Axiom Business Book Awards, gold at the 2018 Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Awards, and Best in Show – Print at the American Advertising Federation Houston’s 56th American Advertising Awards.

Learn more about Taste of Texas.