When your father is a steakhouse baron, you don’t just show up and take over the family business when you come of age. Britney Ruby Miller started working at The Waterfront at 15. Now, as Director of Operations for Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, she’s poised to take the reins of her father’s high profile restaurant group as it expands.
“My dad never pushed me to go into the industry. All three of us kids went to culinary school so we’d understand the food business better, but I was never pressured. I went to culinary school so I’d have some credibility. I was in the Lindner College of Business when 9/11 hit. I love the business school, but I wanted to study something that I felt passionate about. After 9/11, I just wanted to understand—fundamentalist Muslim, fundamentalist Christian, you know? What did it all mean? But that was an interesting call to make to my dad—asking him if I could switch from business to religious studies. “As long as you get a degree, I don’t care what you take there,” he said. I loved it, and he was really open to that.
My mom [Rickelle] was there for the birth of the Precinct and supported my dad’s entrepreneurial ventures. She taught me that you do three good deeds each day. We need to do what we can to help people. That’s why we give so much money in donations. We’re launching the Jeff Ruby Foundation, our own non-profit, to be able to strategically help the causes we want to give to. She and my dad both have big hearts and they did a good job keeping us kids grounded and helping other people.
I think supporting Cincinnati [is part of the Ruby family legacy]. United Way, cystic fibrosis, cancer research, breast cancer—there’s probably 10 solid foundations, like the Boomer Esiason Foundation and Invisible Kids Project, that we support. So, the legacy would be making enough money to give back the way we do, on the level that we do. And taking care of our employees, that’s part of it. We pay 100 percent of health care for free. It’s also the Jeff Ruby experience. People celebrate their lives with us. We see a lot of people coming in for proposals, anniversaries, birthdays, and that’s amazing to us. We want to make sure we always give five-star service and food.
My dad is a guy who has a strong personality and people have a lot of opinions about him. But when it comes down to doing the right thing, whether it’s business or personal, this is a man you can trust. You can do a business deal with him over a handshake. You know he’s going to live up to his word. That’s something that he’s always taught me—to be honest, to have integrity. And also to follow your gut, your heart, and your mind. Two of the three have to match.”