Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

AUG 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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chain profile employees gives the manager time to fill the open spot with the right type of person — not just someone who can take orders and make drinks. Second, the company emphasizes attitude over experience in its hiring process. While many chains require wait and bar staff applicants to have a year or two of experience in these jobs, Big Whiskey's doesn't. "We made a conscious decision five years ago that we're hiring attitudes. You don't have to have the experience," Caetano adds. "We'll train you if you have the right attitude. That's worked for us ... We've empowered our managers to make those calls rather than eliminate [candidates with limited experience] from the beginning." Finding the right people represents just the first step in the Big Whiskey's approach. In addition to being fun and friendly, Big Whiskey's occupies a space in the upper-middle area of casual dining where both drink and sports play an important — but not defining — role, Sundy says. "If you call yourself a sports bar, the only time people think of you is when sports are on. That's why we stand behind our ambiance pieces and our food quality and service. We're a res- taurant that celebrates sports — not a sports bar. ... We're not a bar — we're a restaurant that celebrates our bar." As the chain's name suggests, this celebrated bar offers a whiskey-heavy drink menu. Given whiskey's current popularity, Sundy acknowledges the company got lucky with this aspect of the concept. "If I had told you 11 years ago I knew whiskey was going to be the fastest trending spirit, I'd be lying." Still, the chain makes the most of the moment. It offers more than 100 whiskeys, including bourbons, scotches, ryes and other varieties, as well as its own Big Whiskey's-branded spirit, made to the company's specifications by a local distiller. Patrons can order any of these whiskeys straight up, of course, but the chain also offers mixed whiskey drinks designed to appeal to women, who make up a minority of whiskey drinkers. These include the Whiskey Blackberry Sour (blackberry whiskey with sweet and sour) and the Vegas Bomb (whiskey with amaretto, peach schnapps and an energy drink). "Our goal is for a female demographic to say, 'I would like a whiskey drink because Big Whiskey's can make me one that I can enjoy.' We feel like we can grow the most in those categories. We're trying to bring a new flavor palette to whiskey so everyone can enjoy it," Sundy says. Bar Celebration Naturally, as a restaurant with a "celebrated bar product," Big Whiskey's put a lot of thought into its bar design. Many of the key elements of the concept take shape here. In the spirit of the concept's inspiration, for example, the bar features a custom wallpaper designed to look like a chalk- board covered with jokes, toasts and sketches. Each restaurant also has an impressive display of whiskey bottles behind the bar. In addition, the chain serves three whiskeys — including the house brand — on tap using a proprietary draw system. These whiskey taps are either built into an impressive tap tower or into a whiskey barrel display. As part of a restaurant that "celebrates sports," the bar area also has several televisions that allow people to enjoy a game with ● President: Austin Herschend ● Founder, Senior Vice President of Operations: Paul Sundy ● Founder, Senior Vice President of Finance: Mike Heslin ● Founder, Senior Vice President of Marketing: Randy Gildehaus ● Senior Vice President of Sales: Jameson Clark ● Senior Vice President of Training and Operations: Matt Caetano ● Vice President of Accounting and Legal: Jeremy Heslin ● Interior Designer: Performed in-house by Paul Sundy, Mike Heslin and Randy Gildehaus ● Kitchen Design: Performed in-house by Matt Caetano ● Preferred Equipment Dealer: Requip KEY PLAYERS High-top seating helps distinguish the Big Whiskey's bar area from the dining room. AUGUST 2017 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 67

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