Our Executive Team
Vine Solutions is a team comprised of some of the best and brightest restaurateurs and financial advisors in the Nation. We strive to hire a staff that brings a diverse and elite knowledge to our client base. Most everyone on our executive team has had first hand experience in opening and operating their own restaurants. We all have a great passion for the culinary world and a deep personal understanding of the restaurant business.
Edward N. Levine
Edward N. Levine is the CEO and founder of Vine Solutions, Inc. He is also CEO and founder of Vine Dining Enterprises, Inc. and the developer and principal partner of the Left Bank brasseries located in Larkspur, Menlo Park, and San Jose (www.leftbank.com) and LB Steak located in San Jose (www.lbsteak.com). Since 1987, Ed has been involved in the development and financial management of hundreds of full service restaurants.
From 1987 to 1991 he was Chief Financial Officer of Il Fornaio (America) Corporation; a multiple unit, venture capital backed Italian restaurant and bakery company. Ed developed the business plan for the strategic redirection of this company and co-led the restructuring and turnaround. He was instrumental in opening five full-service restaurants in three years with average annual unit volumes exceeding $4 million. In addition to managing all financial and administrative functions, Ed reorganized and directed the production bakery division.
Prior to Il Fornaio, Ed was the Planning Director of Collins Foods International; a $700 million, publicly traded Los Angeles based food service Company with multi-concept/unit locations.
From 1993 to 1995, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, a multiple unit microbrewery restaurant company. He fulfilled these duties on a consulting basis and repositioned and grew the company from two to five units. In December 1995, majority control of Gordon Biersch was sold. During Ed's tenure, the valuation of the Company's equity increased approximately five fold.
Ed received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1981 and a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from the University of British Columbia in 1978.
Ed serves on the Stanford University’s Advisory Committee for Residental and Dining Enterprises. He is also a Board Member of the Tom Steel Clinic, a Marin based AIDS treatment center. Ed has served as a guest lecturer at Penn State University, Stanford, as well as the Commonwealth Club. He was previously a member of the Board of Directors of Pasta Pomodoro, Inc. until it was sold in late 2009.
Residing in Marin County, CA, Ed spends his free time hiking with his dog, Coco, playing disc golf, dining out and adventuring.
As President of Vine Solutions, Jeremy oversees the strategic direction of the company and coordinates its leadership efforts.
Prior to working at Vine Solutions, Jeremy worked for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in his hometown of Napa, running a dual-concept Michelin starred operation. In addition to Napa, Jeremy has opened and operated restaurants in Sacramento and the Central Coast, with companies such as the Paragary Restaurant Group, Hawk's, and the Mission Grill.
Jeremy is extremely passionate about problem solving and leadership. He has a knack for numbers and, likely due to his overexposure to the 80's television show "MacGyver", he takes great pride in identifying problems and mobilizing solutions with a sense of urgency. When he is not diffusing bombs with a stick of gum, he enjoys spending time reading books with his beautiful daughter Emilia.
Gerhard Tratter leads the Vine Solutions Executive Team as the Chief Operating Officer and Executive VP.
With over 30 years of experience in hospitality operations, he has built and grown numerous successful organizations while working for such groups as CCRC, The Patina Group, Saddle Peak Lodge and Viceroy Hotel Group. He credits his success to his wide-ranging quality of knowledge that allows him to understand the challenges of a single-unit operator just as easily as the needs of a complex corporate team.
Gerhard leads the Vine Solutions consulting force with his expertise in process management, restaurant valuations, and operational and financial modeling. He is passionate about bettering the restaurant industry as a whole by bringing unique insights and professional business reporting to the hospitality community. A native of Austria, Food & Beverage flows naturally through his veins. In an effort to offset caloric intake, Gerhard can regularly be found road cycling and, when time permits, hiking and fly fishing in the high country.
Maria Hagerty is our Director of Accounting. She oversees the accounting and payroll teams who insure that our clients' numbers are delivered not only in a timely and accurate fashion, but have been considered against industry standards and internal trends.
To this day, Maria and her father continue a childhood tradition of taking self-guided 'restaurant tours' where they review menus, discuss the décor, and analyze how the story of a restaurant is told. Not surprisingly, Maria's first job was in restaurants and she went on to pursue her love of the industry at the University of San Francisco as an Accounting and Hospitality Management double major. While in college, she interned at Vine Solutions and was offered a full time position upon graduation.
Maria is passionate about the community-building aspect of restaurants, and their role as a place to publically pursue creative interest. She drives the Vine Solutions team to make a supportive and thoughtful impact on the underlying business so that chefs and restaurateurs can pursue their aspirations.
Prior to entering the world of accounting, Takashi worked in various restaurants for more than 15 years, culminating his career as the general manager and wine buyer of a restaurant in the East Bay. Wishing to expand his knowledge of business, he went back to school.
While performing coursework at San Francisco State towards his MBA in 2005, Vine Solutions offered Takashi the opportunity to intern. He was trained and performed duties in various GL and payroll functions and engaged in P & L consultations with clients. Upon completion of his degree in 2006, he began work at Grant Thornton and performed audits on a broad range of clients including restaurants.
Coming back to Vine Solutions in 2011 represents the convergence of his careers in restaurants and accounting; he quips, "you cannot get too far away from restaurants, really, once you have worked in one."
When not making sure that debits equal credits, he participates on the boards of the Berkeley Buddhist Temple and Daruma no Gakko, an East Bay summer school program. He also attempts to impress his wife and 2 daughters with his cooking, plays basketball and regularly participates in the Bay to Breakers as a top 2,000 finisher.
As the Director of Client Services, Chris makes sure that 'Everyone is Happy', as easy a task in the restaurant accounting world as it is in an actual restaurant.
Luckily for us, during the early part of his career he decided for the first and only time, not to listen to his wife, Amanda. Instead of taking a job as a Silicon Valley corporate recruiter, he went into restaurant management. From the start, Chris was drawn to the energy and fast paced environment of the industry. Before he knew it, he had worked his way up through front of house positions to management and then regional management. One piece that he found particularly rewarding was training others to exceed expectations, which is his goal with the Client Service team at Vine Solutions. Under Chris' tutelage, Vine receives a rigorous "stand-up", "pre-shift", "call-it-what-you-will" on a daily basis.
Chris is especially enthusiastic about finding solutions to the unique problems facing every restaurant and watching the progress as solutions are implemented. "Having a client trust and value our advice", says Chris, "is the ultimate reward".