Brian Fiori

Maitre d'-general manager, Morton's, The Steakhouse, Baltimore

Age: 38

Years in business: Twenty -- six with Morton's.

Salary: $65,000 to $70,000 a year depending on bonuses.

How he started: While attending Salisbury University, Fiori took a job as a busboy and dishwasher. When he moved back to Baltimore and attended Catonsville Community College, Fiori also took a restaurant job bussing tables and later became a waiter. "I was making really good money so I stopped going to school and stayed in the business." He worked in management at local restaurants including the Brass Elephant, the former EurAsian Harbor and the former Globe Brewery. He started at Morton's in 1997 as a waiter and later was promoted to assistant manager. He left the company for about a year and a half and then rejoined as general manager.

Favorite steak: New York strip cooked rare to medium-rare.

Inside tip when ordering steak: Don't overdo it on the temperature. "Our steaks are top-quality. Take a chance and go more medium-rare or a little under what you usually order."

Typical day: The restaurant is open for dinner only. Fiori starts his day between noon and 1 p.m. He begins by surveying the restaurant to make sure it's ready for the night ahead then follows up on administrative work. He then works up a floor chart to plan the night and meets with managers and servers about what to expect that evening. As maitre d', his job is to meet and greet guests. He seats patrons, opens wine and checks on them throughout the dinner. Fiori oversees about 45 employees. On a busy weekend night, the restaurant serves between 175 and 300 dinners. He works two closing shifts each week, typically leaving about 1 a.m. Other nights he gets off about 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Fiori has Sundays and Mondays off.

The good: "The people I work with and the people I get to meet. I've turned a lot of business relationships into very good friendships."

The bad: The hours. He works about 50 to 60 hours a week, including most nights, "so you miss out on a lot of things with family."

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