Meet Your Merchant: Milan Djordjevic, general manager of Little Mammoth Steakhouse in Snowmass Village
For Milan Djordjevic, working as the general manager for Little Mammoth Steakhouse has brought him from the beaches of Florida to the mountains of Colorado and is a continuation of his love of the hospitality industry.
From managing a hotel in Bosnia to working his way up from a server to general manager at a restaurant in Miami, Djordjevic is now bringing his skills and passion to Snowmass Village to serve up great food and customer service:
Snowmass Sun: How long have you been living in Snowmass?
Milan Djordjevic: Well this is my second winter here. I was here last year in March only just for a month. This year I came in December; we usually start a season in mid-December, so I’ve been here four or five months. When I came back I took over the place and started running it as a continuation of the original concept.
The owners are both Serbians. They started a long time ago, I would say about 10 years ago they started the whole thing, and I would say it’s been doing great, people are coming back, it’s been great.
SS: How did you hear about Little Mammoth Steakhouse, are you friends with the owners?
MD: Yes, we all used to live in Miami. Thhey used to run a couple of chop houses in Miami and I was running other places so that’s how I know them from down there. Like I said I used to live there and at some point I got tired of sun and ocean and they were like, “C’mon, why don’t you try it over here, you’d be a good fit for the place.” It was a fresh start and everything so I was like sure, why not. I love skiing in the mountains and everything. I’ve been enjoying it, it’s pretty fun.
SS: What drew you to the restaurant and the hospitality industry?
MD: I’ve been a part of it all my life. I grew up in Serbia, I went to college in Serbia for hospitality management and I got a job at a restaurant right away. I am 36 and I have 21 years in hospitality. I really do love my job, people don’t get it. Even my girlfriend she’s like I can’t believe you’re going to work with a smile, and I do. … It’s the communication with people and every day is a different day. Every table is different in its own way, it’s not just a copy-paste thing, you have to be prepared for multi-tasking, multi-functioning with everything. You never know who you might see or who you might meet.
SS: What made you want to give this restaurant a try, what stuck out for you?
MD: I definitely think it has a huge potential and we are planning to do a lot of interesting changes in the future because the village itself and I think the mountain has few good spots to eat, it’s still developing. That’s my opinion. I think there’s potential for expanding the place, not franchising it but definitely doing a couple more locations so investing in a brand. Definitely that’s our plan in the near future.
SS: Since you’ve been here, what are some of the main things that you’ve focused on in improving the restaurant?
MD: Well customer service is number one. That’s definitely what you want, you want people to come back because nowadays the hospitality business is very tough all over the world and you can see a lot of failures because people think it’s just easy — you cook steak, you pour wine and that’s it. That’s not how it works; it’s way more than that. You’ve got to be dedicated, it’s not an easy job to do and it’s all about people. You need to be focused on them and their desires so they want to come back. This place has been here for like 10 years so that means they already survived the tough part so now it’s just up to us and our whole staff and everybody to keep it going.
SS: What sets Little Mammoth apart from other restaurants in your eyes?
MD: I can tell you customer service definitely and then the quality of the food. I can tell you right now I’ve had no customers complain about the food. It’s really hard nowadays because people try to buy cheap food and sell it expensive but no, you cannot fool people. So we definitely put a lot of effort into customer service and the quality of the food. We’re not going to serve anything that we wouldn’t eat ourselves.