Loyal customers and careful training have helped Macayo's in Ahwatukee Foothills make it through the rough times and it's all paid off for the past 15 years.

"I kind of came in at the height of the end of the housing boom," said Bryan Williams, general store manager of the Ahwatukee location. "I think I had two months when we were up in sales from years before, and from that point on I just noticed a drop off. But Ahwatukee is different from a lot of the other stores because of the uniqueness of the community. People that live in Ahwatukee kind of stay in Ahwatukee, and they keep it going and growing."

Williams says they've been lucky to see so many of the same faces night after night. When he was transferred from the store in Tempe he said it was a nice change.

"I spent my first 13-and-a-half years with the company in Tempe," Williams said. "Tempe is completely different than this store. Each store is unique, but Tempe was mostly college kids, and every four years you'd have a different group of kids come in. This was kind of a nice shock for me to come in and see more of a family atmosphere."

Williams says some of his servers have been in Ahwatukee since the location opened. They've seen families grow up and keep coming back.

It's been busy enough that Williams says he's never had to lay someone off, and that they find different ways to save money.

"What happens is we may not hire someone new when someone leaves," Williams said. "Sometimes it's hard on staff because maybe we can't pay them enough, so when you have someone really good they may go somewhere that's busier. As new places open they sort of take our businesses away for a week or two, but then people come back. We just have to weather that storm and then we gain it back again. We can always tell when someone new opens up. It's not really slow, but it's noticeable."

Training has also helped Macayo's stay in business. For the past four years they've practiced "open book finance," where they teach each employee a little bit about finance.

"We have 60 employees at this restaurant and about 40 of them are front of the house," Williams said. "Our goal is to make sure they all kind of know what it's like to be a manager. We're grooming them to be managers. Even the busers come in and learn a little bit about finance. We have some plates that we serve dinners on that are $45, and they don't see it that way. You don't think of it that way, but when we teach them they're a little more careful. They don't throw silverware away or glasses. That helps us keep the costs down."

In September Macayo's celebrated 65 years in the Valley while Macayo's in Ahwatukee celebrated 15 years. There are 13 locations across the Valley.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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