TORONTO—Special issues crop up in family-run hotel businesses that
don’t occur anywhere else. One of the panels at the 17th Canadian Hotel
Investment Conference held at the Hilton Toronto May 28-29, took an up
close and very personal look at the dynamics of family businesses.
Monique Rosszell of HVS moderated a panel composed of four pairs of
family members, fathers and children, who shed light on what it means to
work in a family business.
Rosszell started by quoting statistics on family businesses. She
said that 60 per cent of the Canadian GDP comes from family businesses,
and they employ more than six million people. Only 30 per cent of those
businesses make it to the second generation. Of those, only 15 per cent
make it to the third generation, and just 3 per cent to the fourth
At least one of the pairs—Groupe Germain—is now on generation three.
And patriarch Bob Pomeroy has his eyes on his two-year-old grandson as
the one who will take over as the third generation of Pomeroy Lodging.
Most of the younger generation started working in the family business
at an early age. As a small girl, Reetu Gupta remembers her dad
pointing to a parking lot and saying, “One day, we will have a hotel
here.” Anil Taneja started working at the hotel at the age of 12 (for $1
an hour!). Ryan
Pomeroy started bussing tables—and hustling for tips—at the age of five.
Panellists agreed that a position in the company had to be earned.
For example, Hugo Germain got external work experience before joining
Group Germain, by working through the rise and demise of Krispy Kreme.
When asked how much harder family members had to work than non-family
employees, answers ranged from 100 per cent more to “a number with a
one and many zeros” (Anil Taneja’s answer).
Senior members of the panel were unanimous on one thing—they’re not
likely to retire. “As long as I can contribute to Canada, I’ll continue
to work,” said Steve Gupta.