Harry Schildkraut founded his own firm, Schildkraut, Schroeder, Sedej & Associates, Inc. in 2003 after 34 years with Cini-Little International, where he last served as principal and vice president. When Schroeder parted ways in 2008, Schildkraut renamed the firm S20 Consultants Inc. With nearly 30 active projects, S20 concentrates on foodservice design for sports arenas around the country — the firm has worked on Soldier Field, Lambeau Field, Lucas Oil Stadium, the Superdome in New Orleans, and many others. Schildkraut has earned a variety of awards over the years, including MAFSI’s Outstanding Consultant of the Year, FE&S’ former Young Lion award, FCSI’s President’s Citation for Distinguished Service, and others. A graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, he is an active member of FCSI, the National Fire Protection Association, the National Sanitation Foundation and the Cornell Hotel Society.
FE&S: Are you involved in any charitable activities?
Harry Schildkraut: We are doing some pro bono work with the Ronald McDonald House and a 100,000-square-foot Salvation Army community center on the South Side of Chicago with an indoor water park and basketball court.
FE&S: Do you ever think about retiring?
Harry Schildkraut: I love what I do, but everybody asks me that question. Truth is, you’ll have to carry me out of foodservice. Every morning I wake up and I do two things. I thank the Lord for not taking me during the night. But then I ask him why did you have to take a 30-year-old guy like me and put me in a 60-year-old body?
FE&S: Are your kids in foodservice?
Harry Schildkraut: They are not but they are doing very well in their own work. I have a 25-year-old daughter who lives near Wrigley Field in Chicago and works in marketing for YKK zippers, traveling all over the world for her job. My son, who is 23, incorporated his own business when he was 19 selling the flashing lights for police and emergency vehicles. He has a shop in Wauconda, Illinois, and sells all the lights, radios, computers, gun racks and consoles and sirens for police cars, fire chiefs, plow trucks. He already has his certification as a paramedic, but he’s currently going to school to become a firefighter.
FE&S: What do you look for in a business partner?
Harry Schildkraut: Brains, energy and someone who can be a good sounding board.
FE&S: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Harry Schildkraut: Sign, bill and collect the same amount each month.
FE&S: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the foodservice industry?
Harry Schildkraut: Don't be so quick to answer a question, and think before you answer.
FE&S: When traveling for business, what is one of your favorite past times?
Harry Schildkraut: Catching up on HBO shows I missed — I enjoy watching Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and some of the older shows like Band of Brothers.
FE&S: If I were just starting out in the foodservice industry, what advice would you give me?
Harry Schildkraut: Work in operations for a few years then hook up with a good consulting company.
FE&S: Knowing what you know now would you still work in foodservice?
Harry Schildkraut: Absolutely!
Click here to read part one of the interview with Harry Schildkraut.