Randall Goldman

With dialogue comes an understanding and, with time, respect. Always try to listen more than you talk.


Randall Goldman is a problem solver, a successful businessman, community leader and mentor who continually strives to better the world around him. An expert in the art of hospitality, his knowledge crosses industries to improve morale, customer satisfaction and the bottom line. Strong in his belief of faith, family and country he is loyal and holds himself to a strong moral code, both personally and professionally. During his military service, he was first stationed at The White House and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Honor Guard.

Randall Goldman has spent the last twenty years in the hospitality industry as Founder and CEO of Patrick Properties Hospitality Group, where he created employment opportunities for over 150 team members. Serving on and Chairing numerous Boards throughout his career he has worked with City and civic leaders, industry professionals and neighborhood groups to improve public works, retain quality of life and has mentored the leaders of tomorrow. Randall has been married to Jennifer Goldman for twenty years and they have a twelve-year-old son.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

When we started the company there was only one building/business, however I knew that the Patrick Family was interested in growing. The family is extremely humble and are not the type of people who were comfortable with self-promotion. We were the first company to do what we were doing in our section of town and investing sizable amounts in our collection was the catalyst for further investors on our corridor. I personally felt the Patrick Family needed the recognition they deserved. Their name was already well known in the community for their philanthropy and the line of work each were in so Patrick Properties was born. As we grew and the company of today started taking shape, I modified the name to better reflect our line of business, Patrick Properties Hospitality Group.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

There has never been a day like any other over the past twenty years. Although we are in the hospitality business I really consider my role a Hospitality Developer as I am constantly working with elected officials, city and community leaders. I believe in Management by Walking Around so I am often out of my office during “normal” working hours and do my office work near the end of the day and into the evening. Organization is critical. I am always dealing with members of our team, community issues and maintenance-related items. Our properties are National Historic Buildings so are always in need of attention. In addition, I help to maintain the Patrick’s several residences and residential properties. Taking the company to a cloud-based operation, I am able to work from any of our properties. Delegation is key for me and allows the senior team to deal with many issues that would normally be above their normal duties. It’s all about helping them grow and making them feel more of a part of our big picture.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Many ideas are brought before the senior team members in a round table fashion. I have found that bringing new ideas before a diverse group often sheds light on areas I may not have considered. This format also allows the team to make suggestions from their specific perspectives on ways to increase efficiencies, maximize purchasing power, streamline work flow and reinforce the ethos of our company. Collaboration brings the team’s buy-in and is the key to success.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Experiential anything! Currently the term Experiential Travel is taking the industry by storm and that is the way my family and I have always experienced the world. People want memories yet at the time they are experiencing them they may not know which experience will be “that” memory that lives on for years. Our world is becoming smaller every day so it is critical that we connect with different cultures and societies if we want to grow.

The Millennial generation is also exciting for me as they will be the largest segment of workers in the next five years. I relish in the deep dive of understanding that motivates them and strive to create an environment where they feel that what they are doing is making a difference. They want to live near where they work, which helps developers create density in cities. What they are buying and why, what they do when away from the office, and how they don’t want to work make a difference. Knowing these things helps me be a better leader and create new business that is geared toward this demographic.

Exploration of the term “hospitality” into nontraditional sectors is really the most exciting. While Chairman of the College of Charleston Hospitality and Tourism Management department, I saw firsthand new industries luring our graduates. Architects, law firms, and even hospitals are interested in the hospitality industry. They often offer better pay, hours more conducive to quality of life, and benefit packages unlike the traditional hotels, resorts and restaurants. One of my favorite quotes is by Danny Meyer: “In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experience and human relationships. Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard”. Using this, one can see that what we do matches any industry and that excites me.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Organization is the one habit that permeates every aspect of my life. Developing lists, be it color coding or labeling, helps me define ideas, thoughts, and actions that need to take place. It can also be a spark of enlightenment, for a new idea has to be written down because the forces of everyday life can easily cloud these thoughts and actions.

What advice would you give your younger self?

This is difficult, not in the answer itself, but in the acknowledgment that giving advice to a younger version of myself, with the experience that I have, wouldn’t work. Life experience can’t be taught in school, so it’s unlikely that a younger version of myself would understand it. What I have learned and would try to explain is the value of empathy. If one can understand where someone is coming from, which is different than agreeing, then a conversation can be had. With dialogue comes an understanding and, with time, respect. Always try to listen more than you talk. The value of strong relationships affects both your personal and professional life. Personally, it will be your faith, family, and friends that get you through life’s rocky waters. Quality not quantity in friends so you can commit deeper. Developing strong relationships is the definition of leadership as it will impact the trust of your team, clients, vendors and everyone else you are in contact with.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

It is frequently heard that there is so much negativity in the world. I believe that it feels this way because we are connected now unlike any time before in history. We are instantly made aware of a famine in Africa, military operations on the Pacific Rim, and the tensions between world leaders. On a micro level, the speed in which rumors and innuendo travel is unbelievable. A person’s creditability can be evaporated instantly. We see this happening everywhere from school bullying and to the competitive market place.

On the surface we are inundated with news. As technology increases our awareness of world events, we must also learn how to filter what it is we are reading. We must also hold the journalistic community to a higher standard such as the standards of Daniel Ellsberg and his work on the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. Often, people leak misinformation to the media to deceive their opponents or simply for their own personal gain.

WIth all this said, I believe that the world is becoming a better place because of this rapid spread of the news. There is good and bad in everything and it is up to us to decide how we want to react and what we want to do with the information we’re given. Genetic modification is widely viewed as toxic, but it also allows rice to be infused with beta carotene for the impoverished where agriculture is nonexistent. It is heartwarming to hear the quick response of the “Cajun Navy” during the horrific damage inflicted by hurricane Harvey in the Gulf Coast. It is convenient to have so many resources available when making dining decisions and to be able to get information quickly regarding community events. It’s wonderful that local citizens can receive recognition for doing good deeds.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Be accessible and open, and talk less. An entrepreneur has a vision so it’s incumbent upon them to explain in detail this vision if they expect their team to help in making it a reality. Look at the iconic Waffle House brand with its more than 2,100 locations across 25 states. Each delivers consistency of the brand, from the style of the buildings and the quality of the food, to the teams who carbon copy warm, southern hospitality. Joe Rodges, the founder, had a simple concept: combine the speed of fast food with table-side service around the clock. It was well known that Mr. Rodges was on the road with great frequency checking in on his many stores.

Talking less and listening more is probably the most crucial thing that I do now with my decades of experience. I have learned that leadership comes from a fundamental set of values and principles expressed through my words, actions and decisions. We, as a society, are drawn to the extroverted, then demand they perform and live by unrealistic expectations of who or what we want them to be. This leaves me to believe that the side of our cultural icons we see is the shiny and polished image with a void inside.

My personal and business life is one in the same because the accountability and personal responsibility I teach my son are the core values I strive for with those around me, be it at home or in the office. My philosophy on how I handle mediocrity and the dignity of hard work sets the standard for myself and hopefully those I work with.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Stay true to your mission and don’t relax your standards during the harder times. This was one of my biggest lessons from the market correction of 2007 and 2008. People were scared as they saw their life savings and multigenerational businesses disappear. Lowering your standards to increase short term profits make it nearly impossible to retain your brand. With our company, we didn’t consider just the present client our customer, but rather all those who shared in the experiences we delivered. All were potential clients. Once you have the trust of your team, your vendors and your community, the client will sense this and seek you out.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Stay true to your mission and don’t relax your standards during the harder times. This was one of my biggest lessons from the market correction of 2007 and 2008. People were scared as they saw their life savings and multigenerational businesses disappear. Lowering your standards to increase short term profits make it nearly impossible to retain your brand. With our company, we didn’t consider just the present client our customer, but rather all those who shared in the experiences we delivered. All were potential clients. Once you have the trust of your team, your vendors and your community, the client will sense this and seek you out.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Create density in either where you develop or where you choose to locate. “Location, location, location” we all have heard but with today’s generational shift, people are moving back to the inner cities. Quality of life is paramount, so a commute of minutes vs hours allows more quality personal time. The one business idea I would pass along is the service industry delivering goods or services, quickly, with purpose, with an atmosphere that makes anyone walking through your door feel like they walked into Cheers

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 dollars I have ever spent was for supplies to make recognition awards. The market crash had me cut back on many of the luxuries I made available for my team. While watching the Oscars I thought, I could make that award! For our annual party I gave out handmade “Goldies” to those who performed beyond expectations. The team loved these and several were actually taken by a few of the departments and passed down within their own team over the years. Another award I made was “The Golden Spotlight Award” for someone who did something extraordinary. I purchased a small spotlight on Amazon for $19.00 then used crown molding parts to create a base and spray painted it shiny gold. The award would sit on the persons desk, lit of course, for the day bringing attention to their efforts.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

The most critical software product I purchased that revolutionized how we operate was clouding our network. With Charleston, South Carolina, being in a hurricane prone area, evacuations are common and the “cone” of uncertainty seems to have grown into many days. Our clients have extremely large financial commitments with us so once a storm seems to be heading our way the calls of concern start flooding in. Having everything on the cloud allows the sales team to work from anywhere and with VoIP they can take calls and reply to emails immediately. The hospitality industry front of the house is largely females so as the company grew in years so did our senior team. New cars, first new home, and the first child all folded into their work experience. Having everything on the cloud allowed parents to work from home if their child was sick, which created an incredible atmosphere.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Because hospitality can no longer be defined in the traditional sense of hotels, resorts, and restaurants, this book is the key for running a successful business. From the moment I started my career in hospitality, I always had the awareness that my industry could be applied to others, yet never found a resource that so eloquently explained my theory. “If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 1/2 Things You’d Do Differently” by Fred Lee was a major game-changer for me as it took my industry and applied it to one I hadn’t considered. Fred Lee does one thing better than anyone else: he models how to transfer those principles to another industry and explains why employees must be allowed to “make things right”. If you hire right then you need to let your team have the discretion to make in-the-moment decisions. It can be frustrating and demeaning to your team to have to say to the client, “let me ask my manager”.

Since leaving Patrick Properties I have helped nontraditional hospitality sectors improve their environments and, in turn, increase morale, customer satisfaction and improve efficiencies. All of these things affect the bottom line. Hospitality is generally understood in the sense of hotels, resorts and restaurants, I am now broadening this definition.

The book that helped me see that my industry was every industry was “Be Our Guest” by the Disney Institute. This book taught me that an excellent team that is well trained with very clear priorities set for them is the model of success. This clarity allows your team to do their work well and creates a safe framework within which they can improvise freely. Disciplined, yet empowered and trusted. This is a good combination to achieve in any industry yet not commonly implemented. Everyone is an individual and it is our role as leaders to match our teams with the people we are serving. In today’s globalization we must take this a step further in our training and we must teach the awareness of various cultural influences. Sometimes the smallest gesture can quickly break down barriers.

What is your favorite quote?

I have two favorite quotes, both of which are equally important and go to my core principles. The first is by Richard Branson: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure if you can do it, say yes- then learn how to do it later”. The other quote, which, for me, speaks to the human condition, comes from St. Pope John Paul II. While in the mist of seemingly hundreds of poor and impoverished children, a Sister asked him “Father how can we save all these children?” His answer has helped shape my philanthropy, “Sister, I am not sure, but I will start with the one in front of me.”

Key learnings:

• Values and Vision: the two must be in sync because, as a member of a team, if your values and vision don’t align then one’s genuine self will not come out. If that happens it reflects poorly on the brand, making it unbelievable.

• As a leader, your behavior has to at all times be demonstrating the values and vision of the brand. You are always on stage even when you are away from work. Your behavior is what people see as authentic.

• Reason before action: I find it absolutely necessary to explain the reason before asking for an action or task. Knowing the ‘why?’ of doing something creates a better outcome from their actions.