Q&A: Brenda Herron, Restaurant Employee of the Year, Knoxville Tourism Alliance

Other than being the assistant operations manager for Copper Cellar Family Restaurants, do you have any idea what you did to receive this honor?

No ma'am, I don't. I really don't, I was surprised.

How long have you worked with CCFR?

Since 1993. I started as a part-time data entry clerk while I was going to Knoxville Business College.

Did you already have a family?


So you were getting back into the work force?

No, I had been in the accounting department all my working life—a controller for hospitals and radio stations. We had just moved from West Tennessee to East Tennessee and I decided to change and go into the hotel and restaurant business.

What's your schedule?

Mine varies because I do go into the restaurants to work some weekends, and some nights.

Sometimes you serve the food?

I have done a little bit of all of it.

What's your core job?

I'm with the support team and our job is to help the restaurant staff get the food out, service the people. I also maintain the recipe books for all the kitchens. We have a corporate chef who makes the recipes and I keep the books updated.

How many does each recipe serve?

We make them in small batches, two or three times a day so we can make them fresh, so it's not like they serve in the 100s.

Are they secret?

95 percent of them are; every now and then we'll share one.

What's your favorite food that CCFR serves?

They're going to kill me, but I think our hamburgers are the best in the world. They grind the meat fresh daily at our commissary and send it to the restaurants, and they're nice and juicy.

What do you eat on your hamburger?


Are you a workaholic?

Yes. I work, oh, probably 55 to 60 hours a week. I like my job and I like the staff, and I have a laptop I can work on at home that I check on.

Any particular work challenges this year?

I have been learning the social media, how to do the Facebook and that kind of stuff for our marketing.

Do you tweet?

They haven't asked me to do that yet.