What’s so special about Pogey’s

OKEECHOBEE — The hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, has had an employee turnover rate exceeding 70 percent for the last three years. Knowing this makes it all the more surprising to learn how many employees have been working at Pogey’s Restaurant for many, many years. Customers who spend any amount of time at Pogey’s notice when they go in they are often greeted by name. Waitresses sometimes know what they are going to order before they even sit down. One man, who didn’t want to give his name, said if his wife ever dies, he is going to eat all his meals at Pogey’s because they treat him like family.

 

November 2018

Pogey’s Family Restaurant

Customers aren’t the only ones who feel like Pogey’s is family. Jim Sigman has worked at Pogey’s for eight years, and he said he loves his job. He believes the owners, Doug and Sandy Vest, really care about their employees. When Mr. Sigman’s son passed away a few years ago, Mr. Vest not only allowed him to take several weeks off, but paid him for the time off and called him often to see how he was doing.

“Not many people would do something like that,” he said. Mr. Sigman also thinks the fact that Mr. Vest works alongside his employees makes him a good boss. He cares about the food that is served.

Narda Boclardo has been a prep cook at Pogey’s for six years. She loves working for the Vest family, and says the whole family is very nice.

Simon Chavez began working at Pogey’s 14 years ago as a dishwasher and is now a cook.

The thing that makes Pogey’s the most special in his opinion is that “they give you the opportunity to move up.” He is very grateful to Mr. Vest for taking a chance on him. He says Pogey’s is good food, good people, a great place!

Lots of people in Okeechobee know Michael or Mikey Sippert as the “Numbers Man.” If you give him any date, he can tell you what day of the week it will fall on. Mr. Sippert has worked for Pogey’s for 25 years and, according to Mr. Vest, is one of his best workers. He washes dishes and buses tables. Mr. Sippert says he loves working at Pogey’s but not when he has to work on Sunday.

Bethany Kight has worked for Pogey’s for eight years. Her favorite part of her job is getting to know her customers. She says she has customers who bring kids in before ballgames and she remembers them bringing the same child in as a newborn. She also loves the hours. She has known the Vest family for years, and says they are great people.

Mr. Vest prefers to remain behind the scenes and is not very comfortable with a lot of attention. His only comment was, “ I just try to treat people the way I would want to be treated.”

There is something special about Pogey’s, and it keeps not only the customers coming back week after week, but it keeps employees coming back day after day, and you can’t say that about every place of business. Well done, Pogey’s, well done.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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