Marianne and George Abiaad

For George and Marianne Abiaad, work and life often blend together because they treat customers like friends and friends like family 

The husband/wife duo are the legacy owners of Royal Corporation, a BradyPLUS Company headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, California. George is Royal’s president and Marianne is the executive vice president, but those titles do little to communicate the outstanding people these two are.  

Proud of their Lebanese traditions, the Abiaads delight in sharing their more than 6,000-year culture of diverse cuisine and strong hospitality in every interaction. Specifically, they celebrate the idea that when you gather around the table, you build relationships, whether it’s with customers, friends or family 

“Nothing beats sitting around a table with good food and a glass of wine,” says George. We like to interact with customers and friends by breaking bread and enjoying food together. There’s a transparency and honestly about it like no other.”  

This mindset has become a key part of their approach to life and business.  

“That is an integral part of our interaction with customers, vendors, and employees,” he continues. You naturally let your guard down and it involves more interpersonal engagement and openness. In a short period of time, the line becomes blurry between customer and friend.  

The thoughtful way that the couple approaches food and wine has many facets from their observation that the fellowship of breaking bread together is becoming a lost art in business, to looking at food and meals as lessons in decision-making for their young family. 

As George puts it, selecting ingredients for successful food pairings and engaging the whole family in the preparation of a meal brings value to the development of children in a household.  

"It involves decision-making and assessing conflicting or compatible options beyond just the enjoyment of food and pairings,” he says. This is very different from picking ‘combo number one’ in a restaurant.”  

Marianne adds that their kids are learning a lot from these lessons, including how to differentiate tastes. She emphasizes that the act of cooking with the children creates an experimental atmosphere, particularly when they explore different cuisines. The couple considers the endeavor a success when the kids carry out new lessons about different cultures away from the meal. 

Then, there’s the wine aspect of enjoying food and different cuisines. When asked if the food dictates the accompanying wine, or vice versa, George paused for a moment.  

“A good rule of thumb: if there’s a specific occasion being celebrated, the wine drives the meal. If there is no specific celebration, then the meal drives the wine,” he offers. As Marianne says, we all have our unique DNA, and our palate is unique. But nevertheless, there are broader guidelines to use in matching your cuisines with wines.”  

One guideline Marianne follows is that you don’t have to drink much wine to enjoy it.  

“To learn about wine and develop experience in deciphering and differentiating it, you don’t have to be a big consumer. You should be more of a taster than a drinker,” she emphasizes. “We drink a four-ounce glass of wine, or sometimes even less, and we get to appreciate it more.”  

Whether paired with wine or not, the process of enjoying food encompasses many kinds of experiences. Marianne shared two of her favorite examples.  

“There are amazing egg farms in our area. We drive through the farms, collect our eggs, and make omelets for our brunch-loving kids,” she says. Going to a theater is another way to embrace an experience, by eating popcorn and a soda while watching a movie.”   

Experiencing food, for the Abiaad family, requires being bold, courageous, and risk-taking. They feel that in America, the food offerings are diverse and there is something for everyone.  

“We have blessings and opportunities, and we always remain hopeful,” says George. You learn something every minute. That is the norm in America.” 

Gretchen Roufs, a 25-year janitorial supply industry veteran, owns a marketing and public relations company in San Antonio. To suggest someone you think should be featured in “Freetime,” contact her at