Meet the Exec: Bill Poole



Twenty Impertinent Questions for Bill Poole, Owner of 1 Fresh Stir FryTwenty Impertinent Questions: Bill Poole, Owner of 1 Fresh Stir Fry

Billy Poole isn’t a chef. But he has a passion for fresh food, and for giving customers what they want. He must be doing something right, because in less than six years Poole has opened three locations of the create-your-own-bowl restaurant 1 Fresh Stir Fry.

He is the author of the restaurant’s quirky weekly e-mail, which offers customers a free drink or extra topping when they offer a “secret” phrase to the order taker. The phrase is usually related to Poole’s musings, a mash-up of what he’s been up to and philosophical commentary.

“I started out in real estate, but (I was) never really selling anything but myself, and my living was completely tied to other people’s success,” says Poole, 39, the restaurant’s self-styled “head honcho.”

Dissatisfied, the husband and father of two decided several years ago that he wanted to make a change.

“I’m not going to sacrifice my family and my life – time is the only thing money can’t buy,” Poole says. “And it’s not about the money. It’s about time, about quality of life. I can’t cater to my family if I’m catering to clients.”

And so he took the counterintuitive tack of jumping into the restaurant business – a bold move, because he had no previous experience in the field. However, business smarts can account for much – and Poole says it’s not arrogance for him to think he’s smart.

“I feel I’m smart because I know my limitations,” he says. “Anybody who knows what they can and can’t do is ahead of the game.”
 

What sites do you have bookmarked on your computer?
Marine Weather and my bank. That’s it.

What’s on your nightstand?
An assortment of magazines, a remote, and a pad and paper for ideas.

Where is someone most likely to find you at lunchtime?
Either at one of the stores or on the golf course.

What do you want to do after work? What do you really do after work?
What I like to do after work is spend time with my kids – which is the most important thing. But I have a good meal and watch TV. DVR is the greatest invention.

If you could live somewhere else for a month, where would you go?
It’d either be Ollie North’s house or Bill Gates’ house. They know some stuff.

What was your biggest disappointment in life?
I would say anytime I didn’t let somebody know actually how I felt.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chicken wings, fries, chips and salsa – (none) are served at my restaurant.

What is the one thing you can’t live without when you travel?
My toothbrush, toothpaste and a clean pair of clothes.

How many televisions are in your home?
Four.

If a child would listen to only one piece of advice from you, what would it be?
Always be on time. Never be late. Being late is disrespectful to the people you’re meeting with.

If you could change one thing about modern society and make it the way things used to be, what would you do?
Everybody blames everybody else, and it’s got to stop. Bring back self-accountability. You’ve got to look out for yourself. Don’t count on somebody else doing it for you.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Extrovert. I seek knowledge, learning what other people know.

Cats or dogs?
Dogs. No question. I have two Yorkies.

Fiction or nonfiction?
Nonfiction.

The Wall Street Journal or USA Today? Online or print?
I read each one of them. The Wall Street Journal once every two months. Everything else I read at least once a week. I subscribe or buy, no exaggeration here, at least 15 magazines a month. I haven’t read a fiction book in 10 years.

Vermeer, Picasso or Monet?
Monet.

Bill O’Reilly or Jon Stewart?
Neither one.

Football, basketball or baseball?
All three. Defense wins championships.

What do you want your epitaph to say?
“He could dunk right- or left-handed.”

PC or Mac?
PC

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