Nicoye Banks | Service Guru
Nicoye is a native of New Orleans, where [Southern] hospitality, rich cuisine, and charm, are in the air at every turn, and the heart of everything. Nicoye started his restaurant career over 20 years ago as a teenager, when he started as a back waiter at Mr. B’s Bistro, one of the legendary New Orleans Brennan Family restaurants. It was here, in the heart of the French Quarter, where Nicoye fell in love with “art of service.” It wasn’t long until his personality, work ethic and eagerness to learn the all about the business, fast tracked him to “earning an apron,” and became a front waiter in this coveted restaurant.
Nicoye later moved to New York City in pursuit of his professional acting career – an opportunity to work in one of the meccas of hospitality. Starting in one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants – Mesa Grill – Nicoye quickly got recruited to Mesa City, and then onto a high-volume restaurant called Lola. Nicoye continued to develop his leadership and management skills, and went on to assist with the opening of Commune Restaurant. It was at Commune where Nicoye was exposed to a diverse clientele, wide array of cuisine and unique wine list. While at Commune, Nicoye met his long-term mentor, Christian Palikuca, and was able to refine his skills, until eventually working alongside Michael Glick, who became the owner of New York City’s finest steakhouses – The Parlor, and The Writing Room.
After about ten years of working in New York City, including a variety of well-known restaurants, like the Tribeca Grand Hotel, and the Church Lounge, Nicoye moved back to New Orleans, and has continued his acting career while also working with the Invictus Hospitality team on various consulting projects around the country.
Much like acting, Nicoye equates the service industry to acting or a ring master in a circus. As Nicoye states, “you are in control of the flow of things, you are the maestro of all parts of the restaurant to ultimately present the show to the guests which essentially is your audience. The central and most important part of hospitality is that every guest must feel cared for.”