Nick Ritts is CEO of Ritts Hospitality, where he has led his team to build customer retention databases with over 150,000 social media followers, 15,000 text club members and 55,000 rewards members.

Why did you decide to serve as a volunteer mentor with SCORE?

I successfully turned around several businesses with cutting edge practices that I wanted to share with others. I came across SCORE and it was an instant fit. Unfortunately, my schedule didn't allow for it. SCORE kept in contact for three months and I came on board. I have enjoyed SCORE's online training and have been able to apply it when meeting with clients.

What has been your greatest area of fulfillment you’ve received since starting your mentorship service with SCORE?

The people. Helping them build or polish their dreams can have multifarious effects on their lives. The smiles we receive as mentors are golden.

Entrepreneurs often refer to “a-ha moments” when being mentored by SCORE volunteers. What was a recent a-ha moment one of our clients had that you think will have an impact on the success of his or her future endeavors?

Recently, fellow mentor David Broner and I have been analyzing the storefronts. One of the biggest obstacles small business owners face is obscurity. We noticed one restaurant could add a table with umbrella to help cars noticed their landlocked storefront. Another could add a wrapped car to their strip mall location. These ideas can have a big impact on their sales.

What’s been the biggest surprise?

David. I am delighted when he invites me to co-mentor. We work great together and learn from each other. When I joined SCORE, I didn't anticipate gaining a friend and teacher.

About the Mentor:

From Nick: "I grew up on the other side of the freeway from an affluent suburb. I dreamed of moving across the tracks. After obtaining my Business degree from University of Detroit, my father and I decided to partner on several businesses. We found minimal success until we entered one of the toughest industries, taking over failing restaurants. We had found our calling. My wife Heather (one of the first female Cicerones) pioneered our cutting edge beer programs. By putting people first, bonus structures, customer retention databases, new product launches and marketing like a cunning gambler we have successfully tripled sales in multiple locations. We have accumulated more than 50 accolades along the way. I am surrounded by an amazing team of restaurant athletes who teach me daily. I love sharing these methods with our mentees."

Mentor Q&A: 4x4 with Nick Ritts