Shain Buerk is a veteran franchisor and the President of Scramblers, a family breakfast and lunch restaurant with multiple locations in Michigan and Ohio. With more than 30 years of experience, Shain’s biggest passion remains building a brand that embraces family principles and a franchise that changes lifestyles.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Shain Buerk’s insights on creating a successful business in the restaurant industry
- Building an effective recipe book in a family business
- Shain shares the challenges of franchise growth
- The benefits of one-shift restaurant management
- Shain’s advice on working during holiday seasons
In this episode…
In this episode of the SpotOn Series, Chad Franzen is joined by Shain Buerk, franchise owner and President of Scramblers. They discuss the business entry requirements in the restaurant industry, building signature brand recipes, developing a focused business model, and the benefits of staying open during the holidays. Shain also shares his experience and advice for effectively growing a franchise business into a multi-state corporation.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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Chad Franzen 0:20
Chad Franzen here co-host of the show where we feature top restaurant tours, investors and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn Series. SpotOn has the best-in-class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn Restaurant, where they combine marketing software and payments all in one. They’ve served everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and subway to small mom-and-pop restaurants. To learn more, go to SpotOn.com This episode is brought to you by Rise 25. We help B2B businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcast. If you have a B2B business and want to build great relationships with clients referral partners are thought leaders in your space. There’s no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing. To learn more, go to rise25.com or email us at email@example.com Shain Buerk is the president and co-founder of Scramblers restaurants, a growing chain specializing in only the most profitable and efficient part of the foodservice industry, breakfast and lunch. With over 30 years of experience in taking a small family-run coffee shop and champion into a multi-state franchise corporation. Shain knows what it takes to design and develop a restaurant concept master the challenge of running it efficiently, efficiently and properly profitably, and then definitely steward its growth to expand the company’s reach and influence through effective franchising. Hey, Shain, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
Shain Buerk 1:41
You’re welcome. Glad to be here. Thanks so much, Chad. Appreciate the introduction.
Chad Franzen 1:45
Sure, sure. Hey, so how did you get started in the restaurant industry?
Shain Buerk 1:50
Well, it was family business. A lot of people you know, the interesting thing about restaurants and most people know is it’s a, it’s a relatively low barrier to entry business, right? I mean, it compared to other industries, which might require a lot of capital, or a special license, or a special training or experience, and many cases, contacts. In case of restaurant business, all you really need is a good recipe and a little bit of money and some a lot of elbow grease, right? I mean, so it’s a relative, as a result, competition is very, very fierce. It’s a low barrier to entry business. And that’s definitely true with us, too. We started as a family business, my dad and I were partners in the business. And we started saying, you know, we’re going to, we just want to open a restaurant, we’ll see what we can do, we’re going to do breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And we did that for about six months or so before we began to realize it was businesses tough, you’re spending long hours, and it’s difficult to get a niche. And it was at only after about six months. And we began to realize that if you concentrate on only what you do best, and 30 years ago, it was a really revolutionary idea to say, You know what, let’s let’s not be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, let’s just do breakfast and lunch. That’s it. We’re going to close the doors in the middle of the afternoon, we’re gonna leave dinner to somebody else, we’re just gonna do breakfast and lunch. And today, there are quite a few concepts, even regional or national concepts, similar to what we’ve been doing for 30 years concentrating, and just breakfast and lunch. But it started just that we were a family business that said, you know, I want family life, I want to honor quality of life to go along with my my career. So that’s how we got started. It’s family, like so many small businesses are
Chad Franzen 3:31
great. What did you What do you find most appealing or invigorating about working in the restaurant industry?
Shain Buerk 3:37
Yeah, you know, that’s a good question. It’s, um, the restaurant business is, it’s different than others in that. A lot of times when when I’m meeting with new potential franchisees or people who are interested in our concept, one of the things they do is they come to me, let me say it this way, if I’m in a, if I’m going to a cocktail party, and somebody says, What do you do for a living? And I say, Oh, I’m in the restaurant business, immediately. They know what it is I do that because everybody knows restaurants, we’re all comfortable with it. As consumers, we’re very familiar with it. It felt that same cocktail party, someone asked me what I did, and I said, Oh, I’m the control supervisor for the manufacturing arm of the chemical plant. They’d be like, I have no idea what you just said, Okay, I don’t I can’t imagine what you do every day in the restaurant is they’re very familiar with what we do. And so interestingly, when we’re in that business, the oftentimes those new franchisees or prospects or or just the casual person who’s interested in our business, sees it in a kind of an erroneous way. They imagine it to be sort of a glamorous business, right? I mean, after all, movie stars on restaurants and football coaches on restaurants. I mean, how hard can it be? I know what tastes good and I know how it works. People walk in the door, you cook their food, you serve the food, you wash the dishes, you count the money, you close the door. I mean, it’s not magic, and that is true, there is no special chemical process. It really is fundamentally something that we all understand how it works. But what I spend most of my time with kind of people who are not exposed to foodservice industry is explaining to them that it’s actually not a glamorous business. It’s actually kind of a dirty business, right? I mean, we mop floors, and we clean drain, you know, we snake drain lines. And so a lot of what I enjoy about the restaurant industry is that it’s very tangible to people, they understand what it is we do, and, and what makes us good. And what we’ve refined over the last 30 years, is to be not so amazingly creative at it, but instead, instead to be very efficient at it. And so it’s a business like any other business. And if you treat it like a business, it pays like a business. And if you treat it like a hobby, then it pays like a hobby. So what I honestly liked about the restaurant business, is that it’s a business, and it’s one that you can absolutely have a ton of control over.
Chad Franzen 5:59
So tell me about Scramblers. And what a customer might expect when going there.
Shain Buerk 6:04
Oh, thanks. Well, Scramblers, of course, is a breakfast and lunch, exclusive content of or concept. We’re open from 630 in the morning, until three o’clock in the afternoon, and we only do breakfast and lunch, we concentrate on breakfast and lunch. So you know, we’re proud of our of our menu full of omelets, and pancakes and bottomless french toast. And when I was when we were first coming up in the restaurant industry, you know, that’s all I did, I just concentrate on on operations. And we got more efficient at it and open a second location at third location. And on Sunday mornings, our busiest day of the week, there’d be a line standing outside the door waiting to come in to the restaurant and Sunday morning, some people would come to us and say, such a great idea, you should franchise this, you should expand it. And we’d say You know what I’m I really just concentrated on the operations. And it wasn’t till 10 years of people requesting it that we actually began to franchise. So what you’ll find in a Scramblers store is that first and foremost, it’s about the concept. It’s about this the food, which is unique in itself from unique recipes and unique ideas of flavor profiles, but also unique for the fact that we do it the way we did it 30 years ago and generations before us did. For example, in our restaurants, every single egg comes in in the little white oblong shell, right? I mean the way you think of an egg and quite honestly, that is unusual. In the foodservice industry these days. Most of the time, most of our competitors, they bring their eggs in, in a bladder, right? It’s pre pasteurized pre we’re going to clip the corner, we’re going to pour that into a bucket mode. Okay? And that’s fine. It’s eggs, no question about it, but it does not taste the same, right? As I cracked every one of them by hand by hand. It’s true about shredding your own cheeses. It’s true about making your own pancake batter, not from a mix, not not bring it in in a bag and add water but actually start with flour and baking powder and sugar that feel the traditional way. So what guests usually like about our concept is it’s a full service breakfast and lunch concept in which they’re coming into us. And they’re gonna dine with us for 45 minutes to an hour, they’re gonna get large portions of flavorful food that they don’t want to make at home. That’s just too difficult to make it on. So we leave it to somebody who concentrates. And only that so a huge array of, of, of omelets and eggs Benedict, and of course, a little more eclectic versions of things like breakfast quinoa, or, or croissant breakfast sandwiches, right? So it just enough to be innovative with frittatas. And, you know, and unique lunch offerings. So it’s breakfast and lunch exclusively. And that’s what a lot of our guests come to expect with us.
Chad Franzen 8:49
How did Scramblers get started? And where was the first location and what what was it like there in the you know, the first few months?
Shain Buerk 8:57
Yeah, thanks for asking you. Like every other family. My ours was done. Myself and my, my wife, were working in the restaurants every day. My parents, my my dad and I who were partners, my mom, right? So I mean, it’s truly family working in a store. Here’s me cooking in the kitchen and and you know, my dad’s trying to run the front of the house. My My mom is the hostess and my wife is running back and forth trying to wait tables, very, very traditional. Our first restaurants were actually in Toledo, Ohio, right, so rather obscure in Northwest Ohio. And we opened several stores in that area and began to expand outside. And really, today we’ve expanded that concept, not just to Ohio but around the state of Ohio, which restaurants in Cincinnati and in Dayton, in Cleveland in Columbus, Ohio, and parks in between. And then of course we have stores in the Detroit area in Michigan and we’re under construction now in our first two of what will be a five store market in in Jacksonville where we’re opening corporate stores. So It really started with Yeah, meat cooking every day. And incidentally, a lot of people in that cocktail conversation ask, so does that mean, you’re a chef? You must be a really good chef. And I say, No. I mean, I don’t know how to cook. Exactly what’s on that menu. And only what’s on that many. I mean, you spent 30 years in the foodservice industry, you get pretty good at understanding flavor profiles, and you get pretty efficient at how to prepare food. Well, but honestly, my wife does all the cooking at home I ours is a business, not a hobby. Right? So quite honestly, we. We started in doing just breakfast and lunch. And that’s what we’ve really concentrated on. So that’s how it got started in Toledo, Ohio.[continue to page 2]