Michael Woodward Sr. is the current owner of the landmark Quickie Restaurant on North Slappey Boulevard.
NAME: Michael Woodward Sr.
POSITION: Owner, Quickie Restaurant, 1906 N. Slappey Blvd.
FAMILY: Woodward and his wife, Janet, have one son, Michael Jr., 4
EDUCATION: Devry Institute and Georgia Tech in Atlanta
Not everyone can own a landmark, but Michael Woodward has the Quickie Restaurant and that’s about as good as it gets.
The Quickie opened downtown in 1954 with its founders, Jimmy Andros and his three brothers. After a transition or two, and a move to North Slappey Boulevard, Woodward and his wife, Janet, bought it seven years ago.
At 78, Jimmy Andros still does a little work around the place and serves as restaurant consultant. Woodward is about as happy as anyone getting out of bed at 4 a.m. each day, he says.
This week he took a break from his breakfast line to speak with Herald reporter Jim West.
Q. What was your first job?
A. I was a paper boy delivering papers. I started when I was about 10 or 11 years old.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. Clothes and a bicycle. I wanted to get a bicycle so I wouldn’t have to walk through the neighborhood delivering papers.
Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. Keeping a positive attitude. Always looking at the positive things that are going on. As long as you’re upbeat, hopefully they will be, too.
Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?
A. Actually, I’ve operated my own business for many years. I came to Albany because my wife is originally from here. The Quickie Restaurant was for sale, so I wanted to bring her back to her family in 2005.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. I have two of them. My older brother being one and my father when he was still alive. I looked up to their ethics and their work ethics. I still look up to my brother.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. Patience. Patience with what’s going on in the economy, patience with the people. Taking a step back and kind of letting things happen.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples email, automated phone systems, cellphones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?
A. Automated phone systems. I like the personal touch. I like talking to somebody, so automated phones and pushing buttons need to go away.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. My computer. I get to keep up with trends and what’s going on and try to forecast what’s going on for tomorrow. You can’t always do it in the restaurant business, but I rely a lot on my computer.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. The holidays: Christmas, Thanksgiving, the family traditions. I’m old school as far back as you can come. Holidays or birthdays are what I always look forward to.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. I’m in the middle of reading “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly right now. Wonderful, wonderful book. I read the newspaper to try to keep up with current affairs here in town. I do my golf magazines that I try to keep up with and that kind of thing.
Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?
A. My alarm goes off at 4 a.m., every morning. Sometimes I can sleep in on Sundays until 5 a.m. I’m here at the restaurant by 5:30 a.m. every day. We open at 6 a.m.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet and why?
A. Jack Nicklaus. Although I love the game of golf, the way that he’s conducted himself on and off the course, businesswise. What I have seen as to his rapport with his family, he’s absolutely a fabulous role model.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activities outside work?
A. Golf every Thursday with the guys at the Stonebridge Golf Course. We have a blitz that goes off. I like to fish and do some hunting on the side, too.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. The fact that I didn’t expand this business back in 2007 and 2008. I think that was a decision I should have done and probably should have added more locations back when the economy was what it was.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. The communication I have and the openness I have with my customers. I enjoy seeing them daily and the one-on-one I have with them. That’s why I’ve been in this business for so long.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. Getting up at 4 a.m. every morning.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. Accounting. I took a course when I was in college, and I use it every day of the week.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Golf pro or superintendent of a golf course. I talk about it all the time how I would just love to do that when I turn 50 or whatever. It’s the dream of everybody who ever hit a golf ball.
Q. Finish this thought: On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself…
A. Still working but spending more time with my family and my son. I have a 4-year-old child. I’m in my late 40s, and my wife is in her early 50s so we started real late with our children. I’d like to spend more time with him.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. Positive thinking and patience. Both are key to success. Keeping upbeat and being patient with a number of things. Patience is a major, major key.
Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. Two years if we can get the right leadership in the country. As long as we can get some good leadership — both at the federal and local levels — I think we can turn this place around.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. I don’t have an iPod, but if I did it would be country music or Southern Christian music. Ninety percent of the time I’m listening to Christian music.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. I’m hoping education. I’m hoping we throw a lot of effort in improving the education that’s going on in Dougherty and Lee counties. Education needs a major overhauling.
Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?
A. I actually have two: A trip down to Mexico Beach with my family and a long weekend trip down to San Francisco with my wife. Both of them were very enjoyable. Family means a lot to me, so any time I can be with them is wonderful.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?
A. The cost of goods has just skyrocketed. It’s gone through the roof, and that’s the biggest change. We still do things like we did back in 1954, it’s just the cost has gone up.