William Pitts

Chief Executive Officer

 

William Pitts, a born entrepreneur, has exhibited leadership skills and business acumen since early childhood.

At ten, he launched a lawn care service and ran it with equipment he created himself: a wheeled cart attached to a go-cart. He says that by age 16, earnings exceeded those of many adults!

While in college at Lee University, he owned and managed ‘Precision Tile’, a company that performed residential and commercial construction in Tennessee. Around the same time, William was elevated from part-time server, to manager, at a restaurant concept called the ‘Bald Headed Bistro’. There, his passion and love for the hospitality industry began.

The country music mecca came calling when ‘B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill’ hired William away to become general manager of their Nashville location. Following that role, he traveled the Southeast as GM for various restaurants and brands.

In hopes of returning to Atlanta, William pursued an opening with Café Intermezzo — an opportunity he found intriguing, as it represented something much more than just another ‘job’. The reason for that is a memory in the coffeehouse that he’ll never forget.

When William was 14, his dad asked him to meet at Café Intermezzo in Dunwoody, as it was his favorite place to visit when traveling from his hometown of Baltimore. There, his father delivered the news that he’d been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. With heavy hearts, hugs were exchanged before each headed home.

Shortly thereafter, his dad’s condition took an abrupt turn for the worse, and William lost his father without getting the opportunity to see him again.

With that memory ingrained in his mind, William was happy to forge a closer tie with the company, first joining our concept as Director with Café Intermezzo’s airport licensee. During that time, he and founder Brian Olson formed a close bond and mutual respect for each other. That rapport, combined with William’s proven success, eventually lent to his being offered and accepting the role of Chief Operating Officer.

He finds a sense of peace knowing that his last, unforgettable moments with his father were spent at a place and company he would one day proudly help grow.

Passionate about Intermezzo, William set his sights on furthering the foundation that had been laid by Olson over the three decades prior, with a vision of growth fueling his efforts. Through the next four years, his contributions led to his promotion to Chief Executive Officer.

While away from work, William and his wife, Emily, enjoy contributing to community affairs and proudly parenting their daughter, Brittan, and son, Will.

Jay Clarke

Regional Manager

 

“I am constantly inspired by the romance of a restaurant, the symphony of it all. Great restaurants are the sum of dreams, passion and love,” Jay tells us.

His love for the restaurant industry has influenced every job he’s held. That passion was first ignited while still a young teen, when he began working in the Edelweiss lodge at Northern Michigan’s famed Caberfae ski resort. After later graduating from Michigan State, Jay was grateful to immediately join on with Houston’s, eventually working for the concept in Memphis, Atlanta, and Chicago. He said the experience was “an education in it’s own right.”

He delved into the European dining scene as Chef de Salle for the Atlanta Bar & Grill in Toulouse, France. His return to the states then brought him to Wolfgang Puck in both Los Angeles and Seattle.

“I have always been driven by curiosity and as a result have worked in very rich and diverse environments from an American restaurant in Toulouse to a cruise ship in Seattle. I was part of the team that got the boat afloat — a 180-foot super yacht called the Royal Argosy. I was also part of the concept development team for Seasons 52 where I worked for 7 years.”

Jay pours his heart into his career, but enjoys that he can combine his many passions into each day.

“When I'm not with my family I'm reading, cooking, traveling or watching my teams (Sparty On!). Café Intermezzo is home for me because it combines so many things I love…food, coffee, art, music and people! Great offerings for all the senses wrapped up in such a beautiful package.”

P.S. - Take him on in a game of Scrabble, and you’re bound to be beat!

Favorite quote: “Nothing truly great in human history has ever been accomplished without enthusiastic effort.”

- Henry David Thoreau

Sooi-Kit Cheng

Controller

 

“The best part of my job is that I don’t know what kind of challenge will be waiting every morning until I arrive to work!”

The optimistic Sooi-Kit Cheng, or “Cheng” as we call him, is Café Intermezzo’s Controller. Though payroll, financial statements, and sales tax filings are a few of his primary duties, he’s always willing to pitch in with other tasks when needed. He’s even stepped in to handle with cheesecake deliveries!

Though originally from Malaysia, Cheng received his college education in Georgia, at both UGA and Georgia Southern. While a Bulldog, he gained unique perspective on the food industry as an employee with the UGA Food and Science lab.

“We were doing things in the lab to replicate the possible extreme circumstances that could happen in the food system. One example is that we inoculated Salmonella in the chickens and eggs and incubated the samples in the fairly warn incubator to see how the bacteria grew.”

While later living in Statesboro, Cheng worked in food service for the university, and then at Braswell’s Food Company, where he was the 'Food Technologist.' While in that post, he managed quality control, research and development, food safety, and government regulations.

He says that he originally became intrigued by the Café Intermezzo concept because it's "a romantic place to be."

When he isn't crunching the numbers at our corporate office, Cheng enjoys staying abreast of current affairs through reading the news.

Viola Butler

Payroll, Human Resources, Benefits

 

“When I came to the United States, I was desperately looking for a coffee that I was used to from back home,” Viola tells us. “The coffee culture runs deep in European cities.”

Viola grew up in Bratislava: the capitol of Slovakia, in the heart of Europe. After earning her Master’s in Law at Tranava University, she worked as a Project Implementation Manager. She later moved to the U.S., and joined the Café Intermezzo team in 2014.

“I walk around the office and I see paintings similar to those my grandmother used to have at her home.”

Outside of the office, Viola spends quality time daily with her toddler, William. The age discrepancy is large, but their bond is tight.

“We both enjoy good music, mountain views, lakes, rivers, and sunset walks.”

Viola’s domain is payroll, Human Resources management, and employment law. In 2017, she received her FPC Certification from the American Payroll Association and is working towards her SHRM-CP Certification in HR management. She’s an active member of the Society of Human Resources Management American Payroll Associate and both of their respective local chapters.

Her European background naturally makes her thoughts regarding the feel of our establishment very highly-regarded.

“The ambiance of the cafés is remarkably reminiscent of true Viennese culture. Needless to say, when I finally stumbled upon Cafe Intermezzo, my first words were ‘I’m home,’ and I haven’t left since.”

Dale Jones

General Manager, Café Intermezzo Midtown

 

Since the start of his restaurant management career, General Manager Dale Jones has prided himself on running a tight ship and encouraging positive staff development.

Those skills were recognized early on, when he served as a kitchen manager for the Bobby Jones Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, and then traveled to various, troubled locations to instill his practices.

He later worked for Abacus Systems/Aloha, as Regional Kitchen Manager with Applebees, and then he helped open six Longhorn Steakhouse locations, including one in Puerto Rico!

Eventually, Buffalo’s Cafe (National Franchise Director), Dave & Busters, Champps Americana, Ruby Tuesday’s, Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Starbucks, Auntie Anne’s, Steak-N-Shake, Sbarros, Cinnabon, and PJ’s Coffee all had Dale on board at a point in time.

“No matter where I have dined, the message is the same worldwide. People want a place with great food and a clean atmosphere, where they feel they are being catered to. I think of dinner at my grandmother’s growing up. She always made sure my food was perfect and to my liking, and that I got enough.”

Dale now continues implementing his training ideals and practices with us at our Midtown Atlanta location. He says that competitive motivation is the key.

“I think that nothing motivates a team more than being competitive - the goal of striving to be the best at one thing. We have to find the one thing that our team members love and fine tune that skill to better our cafés, one person at a time.”

Dale and his wife, Heather, have been married for twenty years, and are parents to Jonathan and Jordan. They can’t wait for their 2018 ski adventure to Vienna!

Joy David

General Manager, Café Intermezzo at Avalon

 

Step foot into Café Intermezzo at Avalon, and you’re likely to be greeted with a huge smile from General Manager Joy David.

She’s brought an infectious energy and upbeat, can-do attitude since Avalon’s very first day, in December 2015. But long before joining our team, she spent her youth in Bangkok, Thailand: her homeland. There, she was inspired by the bustling street life, and enjoyed the culture and spices found in the open-air markets.

After moving to the United States and then graduating college, Joy gained quality, hands-on coffee shop experience in the Midwest. She was part of a team that opened and operated coffee shops in the Chicago region -- an experience in which she says she learned to love the “Windy City.”

Joy escaped the gusts and freezing winters for southern heat and humidity, when an opportunity arose to manage a top-volume store for a major national chain in Buckhead. There she remained for several years, earning multiple awards along the way.

And that is where Café Intermezzo entered the picture.

“I joined Café Intermezzo because I believe it is truly a unique coffeehouse with an emphasis on generous hospitality and an inviting European atmosphere. I am focused on making certain that our guests have an enjoyable visit each and every time.”

That mission, Joy certainly accomplishes.

In her spare time, she gardens, does yoga, goes shopping, and spends time with her husband and two children.

Favorite quote: "Love what you do and do what you love!"

Ahmet Toker

General Manager, Café Intermezzo Dunwoody

 

“I had my dictionary on my hand, pointing at things, communicating. There were many kids around from all around the world. We created this melting pot and created wonderful, long lasting friendships.”

Ahmet Toker, General Manager of our Dunwoody café location, describes an experience many citizens of this country have had to navigate in their own moves to the U.S.

Arriving knowing no English, and worried about how how socializing would work as a result, Ahmet was surprised by the warm reception and patience displayed by those he met when he began studying at the University of Georgia. There, he worked as a dishwasher for the UGA dining hall system, and climbed his way up the chain at Damon’s Steakhouse, while learning English and completing grad school.

Shift-leading at Damon’s earned him a spot first as unit, and then eventually district manager for Waffle House. Some early lessons, he hasn’t forgotten.

“At Waffle House, I learnt the power of having systems and applying these systems religiously. There is a saying at Waffle House: 'Easy to do, easy not to do.’ Everything we do has a purpose for our success. We should not even skip easy things.”

After ten years with Longhorn Steakhouse and one-and-a-half with Ruby Tuesdays, Ahmet has been in America for decades. But his Turkish roots will always make up his fabric.

He’s got a Geophysics degree and a minor in Geology from Istanbul University, and fondly remembers days at Turkish coffeehouses.

“When I was in college in Turkey, we always went to this coffeehouse by the sea. First, they start a coal fire in front of you, bring your Hookah and place a piece of coal to start your hookah. They then prepare your Turkish coffee in front of you slowly on top of that coal fire. You sip on your coffee and watch the ocean. It was a full experience.”

Javier Montemayor

General Manager, Café Intermezzo Plano

Meet General Manager Javier Montemayor: Texas-born, and charged with leading the first outside-the-state-of-Georgia Café Intermezzo! 

Growing up in Houston, he was inspired by his father’s interaction with peers at the Warwick Club, situated at the top of the prestigious Warwick Hotel.

“My first taste of the industry came from watching my dad,” Javier told us. “It seemed like a huge family (at the Warwick Hotel) and I really appreciated his dedication to work.”

His hometown roots kept him around the area for his college career, in which he studied Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston’s Hilton College.

Javier went on to join the Seasons 52 restaurant team, where he met current Café Intermezzo Regional Manager Jay Clarke. 

Jay and Javier kept in touch, and as the plans for our Dallas location came together, Jay approached Javi about an opportunity to work with us. He was very intrigued at the idea, as he had dined in our café as a guest during a stint as an Atlanta resident.

Now, Javier is part of our Plano team, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

When the work ‘call of duty’ has wrapped up each day, he spends time with his wife, Cyndi, and his “two little monkeys who make his world complete."

“Camden is my little studious buddy who loves to read and Ashby loves to help me make breakfast in the morning! She can crack eggs by herself and everything! She's my little sous chef!"

Favorite Quote: 'If you don't have time to do it right, then when will you have time to do it over?"

    - John Wooden.