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Meet Ana Valencia, Beatnic’s General Manager and the Heart of the Rockefeller Center Location

By Kate DonnellyJun 14 2023
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“I know 90 percent of the customers by name,” said Ana Valencia, who, as the general manager of Beatnic — the casual vegan and plant-based eatery inside Rockefeller Center — is known for her personable, easygoing, and welcoming service.

No stranger to hospitality, Valencia started her career at the venerable Hale and Hearty Soups; over a 20-year span, she worked her way up the ranks by learning the ABCs of staff training and management. About five years ago, Valencia was ready for a change and joined Beatnic’s Rockefeller Center team. Touting the brand’s innovative menu for keeping its hungry patrons returning, Valencia added that every three months the kitchen likes to create a handful of new dishes. “This summer, I’m looking forward to the tomato poke bowl and the reimagined lobster roll,” she said. That’s not all. A forthcoming half-avocado dish will be topped with a variety of seeds and a drizzle of olive oil (in essence, a riff on the Everything bagel). “We’re never bored with our menu,” she quipped.

"I love the Rock Center community and definitely have my regulars."
—Ana Valencia, General Manager at Beatnic

As anyone who knows good customer service can attest, Valencia, a seasoned natural, has developed a strong bond with her customers. “I love the Rock Center community and definitely have my regulars,” she said, adding many of her favorites work around the neighborhood. So – how exactly does she manage to memorize so many names? “I joke that it’s a skill you develop with time, but I usually use an association to help me,” she laughed. Example? “I have a customer that loves Saturday, so if she comes in on Tuesday, I call her Saturday on Tuesday.”

“We know some people that come in as a trio at lunchtime almost every other day. I’ll drop by the table for a quick hello and see how their week’s going,” she said. As someone who goes that extra mile for her customers — although she’d probably downplay the fact — Valencia’s known to hand out her personal cell phone number to folks, “just in case they need help.” Valencia also mentioned the international tourists hailing from a host of countries. “We’re often using Google Translate for orders,” she said proudly of those visitors who speak in a rainbow of languages.

And then, of course, there’s Beatnic’s tasty fare – including a few recycled dishes from the brand’s original days as by CHLOE. You’ll find the bestselling black bean, mushroom, and brown rice burger alongside a hearty macaroni-and-cheese and a zesty quinoa taco salad. In fact, the latter dish remains one of Valencia’s all-time favorite dishes. “[It has] the crunchiness of the tri-colored tortilla strips, and the vegan chorizo looks and smells like the real thing,” Valencia added, “It’s the perfect amount of ingredients, and the spice and agave lime vinaigrette give it a sweet taste. Really, you eat those colors with your eyes.”

When she’s not working, you’ll find Valencia catching up with her two grandchildren. And, living away from the city in Westchester County, Valencia enjoys being outside. “I have a green thumb and like to water my plants and spend time in nature,” she said.

As for her favorite parts of hospitality? The staff. “I want to keep them happy, so we can offer good service to our customers,” Valencia said, adding that she looks for a sense of humor and a positive attitude in her co-workers: “I always like to check in with them, too.” Valencia loves when customers leave happy. “I know we did something right, especially when it comes to repeat customers. It makes us feel we achieved something after a good meal,” she said. Even when she’s on her own lunch break, Valencia stays close to Beatnic: “I eat here almost every single day – and that says a lot about how our food is made. Oh, and the dressings are addictive, too.”

Beatnic is open at 1 Rockefeller Plaza seven days a week from 11am to 10pm.

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