OPINIONOperations

At age 59, San Francisco's Scoma's restaurant still defers to its elders

Restaurant Rewind: The Fisherman's Wharf landmark has adhered to the traditions set by founder Al Scoma without ignoring what today's customers want.ng the

The Beatles were still newcomers to the music scene when Scoma’s served up its first bowl of cioppino on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. The Fab Four would disband in less than a decade, but the restaurant remains a star of the local restaurant scene at age 59, the payoff from navigating the latest currents in dining while remaining true to the operating philosophy and standards set by founder Al Scoma in 1965. By design, the experience of today’s customers is not radically different from what Al sought to deliver decades ago to their grandparents and great-grandparents.

It's a common goal of landmark dining establishments, but not an easy one to attain, given how widely generations’ preferences can diverge over time. On this week’s episode of Restaurant Rewind, Scoma’s President Mariann Costello shares how her charge has handled that challenge of balancing the new with the revered, and what has kept Scoma’s successful for six decades.

She also shares her thoughts on how the San Francisco market has changed in the 40 years she’s been affiliated with the restaurant (and, no, she’s not the longest-serving member of the team, as she’s quick to point out).

Press “Play” for a download of how a restaurant with sales exceeding $11 million a year has sustained its success through wars, recessions, a pandemic and the loss of a fishing boat.

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