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William Caruso FFCSI spent his formative years working in the family’s grocery and restaurant businesses. It was a head start that paved the way for a dazzling career, as he explains to Sue Holaday


EXPLORING NEW HORIZONS I


f a person can be characterised by one thing, William (Bill) Caruso FFCSI, ISHC, president and principal of WCA (William Caruso & Associates), would be seen as a lifelong student, a man who never stops learning and is fearless about exploring new horizons. “If a person says they are not learning, they are lying to you,” he declares.


His career as a consultant came about after a childhood influenced by his father and uncles who worked in restaurants and grocery stores. By age 12, the young Caruso was working in his uncle’s grocery store and at 16, he “went to work doing every odd job possible” in his dad’s restaurant. “I thought that restaurant success was in meeting/greeting people, providing good food and drink, and everything else would take care of itself. Was I wrong!” he says. “I learned quickly it costs a lot of money for food and beverage and that staff need to be paid as well. But, I loved the interaction of people, product, ambiance of the physical place and the delicate balance between the cost


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of keeping the doors open and keeping people happy – guests and staff.” From his early childhood, he’s been motivated to “be the best that he could be.” Deciding to follow his dad and uncles into the hospitality business, he entered Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, seen as the school where “the best and brightest” resided. “Unfortunately, my ideas didn’t match theirs, and they decided I was ‘not right for them’,” he recalls. Undaunted, he enrolled at the University of Denver’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management where he did well, and after two years, transferred to Cornell, where he took a number of courses in planning and design along with finance and business development studies. Following graduation, he enrolled in the Army, serving in the Infantry Heavy Artillery area. Upon return to civilian life, he began a career in foodservice with Interstate United as general manager of an insurance company foodservice account, and later joined Allied


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