Your Maître d’ May Be the CEO of Groupon

He's just a billionaire. No big deal

If you ever wondered what a CEO of a major company like Groupon does with his spare time, here's your answer: He's serving as a maître d' at a local sushi joint.

Well, at least Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is doing that; BusinessWeek interviewed the 31-year-old Groupon founder and discovered that Mason is working at a Wicker Park sushi restaurant to understand the local merchants scene. Lessons learned? What makes small business owners mad, how they book reservations, what payment methods they use, and how they manage inventory.

"In addition to actually greeting customers as they come in," Mason said, "I’m running between the front of the house, where we have one system, and the back of the house, where we have another system, entering redundant data from one into the other. I’m just managing the mess that is this technology infrastructure for the business." Sure, it may be a bit late in the game for the billionaire to get this sort of experience, but he's come away with at least one good lesson. "I didn’t realize how hard it was to run a small business," he said. Restaurateurs everywhere are probably silently screaming, "Duh!"

Jessica Chou is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @jesschou.