Restaurateur Steve DiFillippo to record turnout of VFTCB members: Think through every business decision from the perspective of a guest

Dan Weckerly
Communications Manager
Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board
610. 834.7990 (office); 610.574.1605 (cell)

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – Nearly 200 representatives from Montgomery County’s tourism industry registered for the January 26, 2017, presentation at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in King of Prussia. They heard from businessman, restaurant luminary and author Steve DiFillippo.

The event was offered as a free membership perk from the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB).

DiFillippo echoed many of the customer-centric themes from his nonfiction book It’s All About the Guest. His reminders included the practical but valuable advice that has propelled the Davio’s brand to success in today’s competitive dining field.

Restaurateur Steve DiFillippo (right) addresses the membership of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board at the new Davio’s Italian Steakhouse restaurant in King of Prussia.

“A good manager keeps ego in check,” DiFillippo said. “You need to be a presence in your business all the time. Walk the floor. Talk to people. You can’t sit in that ivory tower. You’ll never really know what’s going on up there.”

DiFillippo stressed attending to the needs of the guest – whatever they happen to be. But he also spoke of considering the “inner-guest,” employees themselves.

“They should feel special, too,” he said. “I have 700 employees under me, and on each one of their birthdays, they get a text from me, a card and a $50 bill. That investment in them on a personal level from Davio’s pays off in how they then treat the guests who walk into the restaurant.”

The large turnout, according to VFTCB President and CEO Mike Bowman, was attributable to the combined power of a great speaker in a prime location.

Attendees at the VFTCB membership speaker series – an ongoing informational program held by the tourism board – got tips on how to better serve customers. Presenter Steve DiFillippo cited examples from his book It’s All About the Guest, which he wrote as a primer for those looking to break into the hospitality industry.

“The Town Center at King of Prussia is set to become a major destination in Montgomery County, thanks to its array of unique restaurants, including Davio’s. Many of these are appearing in the suburbs for the very first time, which has us very excited about their opening and eager to continually promote them.

“We support the 600 restaurants countywide through our website, which was just recently relaunched, as well as Crave Montco, our dining brand. Our marketing of restaurants includes a biannual magazine, and part of this program with Steve introduced the second issue to our membership,” Bowman says.

The January 26 gathering at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, King of Prussia, gathered the largest turnout of any VFTCB membership event, with nearly 200 registrants.

“Our dining scene is one of many draws to Montgomery County, along with our historical sites, our family-friendly attractions, our 90 miles of trails and our vibrant arts and culture opportunities. Couple all that with the fact that visitors’ dollars go further here – hotel rates are very competitive, free parking is just about everywhere, we are well-connected by public transportation – and it’s easy to understand our tourism appeal, our value proposition,” he concludes.

Crave magazine has already been recognized for its quality by the Dallas-based Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. The publication received a Gold Award in late 2016, an honor bestowed on only 22 percent of all entrants, who submit from companies all over the world.

The audience comprised hotel general managers, restaurant owners, golf club personnel and staff from the county’s various attractions. The enthusiastic turnout reflects an overall uptick in VFTCB membership, which has risen 155 percent in the two years between 2015 (325 members) and 2017 (505 members).

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The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pa., as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 400-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Board’s award-winning website,, serves visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and residents, as well as hosts The Pursuit, a nationally recognized blog. The VFTCB oversees a portfolio of brands that include Valley Forge SportsMontco 360Destination Montco Weddings, Patriot Trails and Destination Montco Golf. It is also the publisher of the new dining magazine Crave, issued twice yearly.