Appell Pie January 2009
Swimming Upstream

As we begin the year 2009 we are going to face challenges that have never been presented before and could threaten to destroy our bottom line and worse, the very existence of our businesses. Hold on a minute that’s what the people who have no vision and no business sense would tell you. Now is the time to grow your business and take the time to expand upon what you are doing correctly and work on eliminating the elements that are not working for you.

I just returned from a road trip and along the way ate at two restaurant concepts that seem to be thriving against all conventional wisdom. Would you open a hamburger restaurant chain and face the giants head on? That’s what Five Guys Burgers and Fries did. It was Sunday afternoon around 12:30 in Dalton Georgia as we began our first experience with Five Guys.

We were greeted at the order counter warmly by a lady with a giant smile. We asked a few questions about the menu choices and ordered our meals. My wife always orders her hamburgers extra well done and she ordered hers that way. The response was a smile and the assurance that no hamburger is served with any pink showing. Bacon was also ordered well done to complete the bacon cheeseburger. Again the assurance and smile that all meat products were cooked well done. I shook my head knowing I was looking at a return trip to the grill. Not so. Everything came out perfectly. We also ordered two orders of fries, which turned out to be enough for 4 people. I ate my share and more. By the time we were ready to leave the line was out the door to order.

What is making this chain successful? The design is checkerboard red and white, clean and relaxed, the cooking area is open to public viewing and kept clean even at the busiest times. Did I mention the food? Quality seems to be the number one reason for repeat customers. We enjoyed our meals.

A BBQ rib restaurant concept is a very difficult concept to expand on due to different regional tastes and recipes. The Carolina’s vinegar base sauce, the Memphis style, the Texas beef and the Kansas City style are very different tastes and many have tried and failed. In a new shopping plaza in Hendersonville Tennessee is Shane’s Rib Shack. It has been there for about a year and I always wanted to try it and on this trip we made the time to do so. It was Saturday late afternoon when we arrived. Upon entering you face the counter to place your order. I found it strange to be ordering ribs at a counter because every restaurant I enjoy ribs in offers table service. We were there with three adults and two kids who ordered hamburgers. You get a number on a stand and you seat yourself. After a few minutes the meals were delivered to us. Did I mention the food? The ribs were a cross between Memphis and light Carolina with a pepper kick. I enjoyed them. By the time we were completing our meals the line here was out the door to order for eat in and take out. What makes this chain successful? Designed to look like a picnic in the Caribbean it is warm and family friendly. Did I mention the food? Here again the quality and serving size will lead to return visits.

These two chains have invested the time to develop concepts that will work based on elements that insure their success; quality of product, price, decor and service. You know your business better than anyone else. Take a good long look at what you are doing right and wrong. Make the necessary changes and you will survive in a tough economic environment. Did I mention the food? (Thanks Rick)

Views: 0


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Howard Appell on February 2, 2009 at 5:34am
I heard that the Shane's brand was sold to another restaurant group right after I wrote that column. I hope they keep it as good as it is.
Comment by Andy Swingley on February 2, 2009 at 4:01am
I haven't had the pleasure of Five Guys but we do have a Shane's here in Columbus, OH and I would have to agree with you! Good stuff.

Thanks Howard for validating my faith that great service and great food can thrive anytime




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Eateries turn to rationing as lime prices soar

Unrest caused by Mexico's drug cartels, along with floods in Mexico and a drought in California, are taking a toll on this ye -More

25% Usage Reduction, Guaranteed!
Reduce waste and cut cost. Impress your customers and express your brand. Every single Tork Xpressnap napkin dispenser performs double-duty for your business. Find out more about our 25% usage reduction guarantee or get a free trial.

Burger King to upgrade wireless with Whopper Wi-Fi

Burger King has teamed with AT&T to replace existing in-store wireless Internet with an upgraded system dubbed Whopper Wi-Fi  -More

Late-night indulgence pays off for Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box saw its profits rise sharply in the first quarter, a few months after introducing its $6 Munchie Meal menu of -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

TED: David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? - David Brooks (2014)

Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves "Adam I" and "Adam II.") Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves?

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service