Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire Podcast. I’m Jaime Tardy and today we have Doug Guller on the show. Doug owns Bikinis Bar and Grill, a sports bar grill based out of Austin, Texas and they have a bunch of locations in Texas and are now actually franchising and I’m really excited because we haven’t had a restaurant owner on the show yet. So thanks so much for coming on today, Doug.
DOUG GULLER: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
JAIME TARDY: So let’s first start off with a little bit of your background. I found a ton of information online about your restaurants but what sort of background did you have to get to become a business owner?
DG: Good question. I don’t think there’s any typical background into getting into the business. It’s some your DNA, what you’re born with because you think a little bit differently. But my background from a school perspective grew up in the Midwest and went on to Villanova University and got a finance degree out there. Shortly after that I went to Manhattan and worked in finance because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. Realized after about six months that sitting in a cubicle was making my skin crawl so I had to choose a different career path.
JT: Wow, so how old were you then?
DG: Right out of school so you’re 22 and then I started my first company at 24 and that was probably the best experience that I’ve had in my life because it taught me so much and it prepared me for starting the restaurant years later.
JT: So can you tell us what did you do when you were 24? What was the company?
DG: Sure. It was called, if you’re familiar, you probably are with 1-800-FLOWERS. It’s similar in concept in the sense that we were trying to take a very fragmented market which our concept was called 1-800-CHOICES and it was focusing on the $30 billion pizza industry a year and we were trying to consolidate and be that one go to company for anyone and everyone at any time of the day who ordered or who thought of ordering pizza. So you would call us for the fastest, healthiest or cheapest pizza, whichever one you were interested in.
JT: Nice! So tell me more about this. I want to sort of get into this beforehand. So, number one, did you have any experience with pizza before you started?
DG: No, not at all. So I was living in upstate New York working for an executive search firm and at the time it was called Ramsey Burn Associates, RBA. It was a really unique company. David Burnett had founded it with Chuck Ramsey and they did searches for everyone in Silicon Valley. So it would have been, it was a Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and all of the early pioneers of some of the biggest internet companies today. Did Chuck Bazos, you know, at the time when we were working with him it was the world’s greatest bookstore.
JT: Way back when.
DG: Right. So I was sitting there and I was the quasi controller for the company because I had a finance degree which basically meant I collected checks and answered the phone. I was just getting the itch. It was in ’96 and things were really happening online and I really liked the energy that some of the folks we talked to had about their companies that they were starting. Although our company wasn’t an internet play, at least it wasn’t at that moment, it really gave me the bug to do something and so it didn’t take me very long for someone to convince me to move on to ****, New York which is in Westchester County and the only thing there is the prison and this search firm.
So I moved to what I thought, what I had been told was the pizza capital of the world and that was Chicago. So Chicago obviously known for its deep dish pizza, I thought well that’s a great place to start. It’s a big economy there in Chicago and I’m familiar with the Midwest growing up in Cincinnati. So I packed my bags and literally drove to Chicago and started from scratch.
JT: What gave you that risk? I mean you were an employee before. I know you said you’ve always wanted to do it but to pack up your bags and move to a new city and go I’m working with pizza when you’d never had it and it was just an idea. How did you (a) pick the idea and (b) go with the risk and just do it anyway?
DG: Sure. So I’ve always been, growing up, that type of person. What I mean by that is I’m one of five kids in the family and we developed a very, in our family, it’s very competitive in a good way and we always had to sort of earn our way in order to do the things that we wanted to do. So from very early on I think my first restaurant was being a dishwasher at age 13. There’s probably like some labor laws in there somewhere.
In mowing lawns and paper routes, what have you, early on, it really created a kind of work ethic I think in me and my other siblings and did that through college whether I was selling t-shirts to freshman or some way organizing the spring break trips in some way so I could either go for free or make some money on the side in order to help put myself through college. So it kind of came that I was ready to jump ship. I really don’t consider what I’ve done really earth shattering in the sense that restaurants have been around for a while, a long, long time.
So I didn’t reinvent the wheel, I just kind of tweaked the wheel in my opinion and it goes back to the 1-800-CHOICES when I moved to Chicago. The gentleman who started 1-800-FLOWERS had been tremendously successful in that model and I thought well okay, what is missed. When I asked folks how do you order pizza, tell me about that experience, everyone at the time would say well I just scramble around and look for coupons in a drawer or go to the yellow pages because, again, this is kind of pre internet what we have to do. It’s pre Google. It’s PG, right.
JT: I like that. I’ll have to use that. My goodness!
DG: So that’s kind of the basis that I used. Obviously there is more research into the industry and what we were doing. But I just said okay it’s time to jump off. I have very little responsibilities at this point in my life. I was 24. What’s the worst thing that could happen? The worst thing for me was that I’d go find another job.
JT: Yeah, not much risk when you’re already out of a job.
DG: Right and you know it’s really hard to, I think a lot of people it’s that jumping off point. Peers that I talk to or friends that want to get in business by themselves, you have a comfort zone and you check coming in and obviously your risk tolerance goes down the older you get because you have other things to consider. So, at that point, it was very easy for me to say okay pack up, let’s go to Chicago and let’s give this a shot.
JT: So what happened with it? Tell me more.
DG: Sure. So I found a stage for us which was this dingy loft down in South Chicago which is probably now a most desirable place, a beautiful loft on the Chicago river, but at the time it wasn’t. We were trying to set up a call center and as a young kid with no experience and what to do, I think we made every single mistake in the book and so that would be lack of management. I didn’t know one, how to manage folks and what a company looked like or should look like. Lack of capital, I had my credit cards and very little money from two friends to throw into the kitty and I was trying to raise some money but I didn’t know how to go about it exactly.
I think I had sent out 500 prospectuses, our business plan to venture capital firms blindly and that just wasn’t going to get you anywhere and really just scraped by for the year and a half that it was in existence. I was the main person responding calls along with a few friends depending on volume or which day it was but ultimately, Jaime, I think it failed because it was the wrong model, at least at that point in time where technology was.
What had happened was you would call me and give me your order and then I would fax it into Luigi over at the pizzeria and 20 minutes would go by, 30 minutes you’d call me back and say, “Doug, where’s my pizza?” and I’d have to call Luigi and he’d say, “Well I didn’t look at it on the fax, sorry, we don’t get a lot of fax orders” and so I got caught being the ultimate middle man and it was a different way of thinking for the owners of the pizzerias and I did work with the large folks, like Dominos and Little Caesars but it was heavily dominated particularly in the Chicago market by your mom and pops and it was again pre internet in the sense that my biggest competitor at the time that was just getting their feet off the ground was called Cyberslice.com and they morphed to Food.com so that’s kind of where that went. Either we were ahead of its time or ahead of technology or the business plan was ultimately flawed. I think it was all of the above.
JT: Wow, that’s a really interesting story because usually we hear an internet start up in ’96, woo hoo you must have had it made, right, because that’s when everything was taking off. So what did you really learn? I mean you went back and you learned about whether or not this model would work and that the people weren’t necessarily ready for it. But what else did you learn in starting and growing your business?
DG: Sure. One is the type of idea. For me personally and I heard it from folks that maybe were willing to invest because I thought that was the route that we needed to go since I had no money, at that time, if you were looking for money, it had to be an attractive idea that they wanted to invest in and I constantly heard, “Hey, right now in ’96, you know, investing into a call center that does pizzas is not that sexy. I have this thing over here that I just invested in called Netscape and it’s this browser and it will allow everyone in the world to do X.”
So I thought about the actual business. I think I internalized it more for me as what do I really want to do and what am I going to get excited about every day to wake up and go do and that openly was probably one thing that I’ve learned whether it was from family members opening a business or myself as I’ve just got to be passionate about what I do and then I can figure out how to bring money to the bottom line second.
And then the same things that kind of branched off that was managing. You can’t just read a book and learn about management. You actually have to do it and after I went back in to the corporate world because I needed to obviously earn some money and build up my savings to go out again, I got that experience and how to manage folks better and perfect, not perfected, but enhanced my selling skills which is needed or was needed certainly for this company and probably for any company for that matter. So I would say those were some of the biggest things, Jaime, that I took away from that failure was looking at it and going what am I going to do differently.
Actually, I spoke on one but I probably wasn’t clear enough. What I wanted to do on the next one was not go out and raise money. I wanted to find a venture that I didn’t have to go to family or friends or angels or whatever those folks, whatever their business card might say and raise capital. I wanted to do it on my own so that if it did fail, I knew that it was on my shoulders and I didn’t affect any family or friends relationships.
JT: So first I just want to say that’s huge what you said before about having to go back to corporate because the people that are listening that maybe aren’t in their own business yet feel like well I’m going to go and then if I fail it’s all over. But it’s not. You went back to corporate and then you came out again once you learned more dealing with sales but also getting your reserves back up which is huge. I would love to know though because you said you don’t want to raise money and yet you have a restaurant which seems one of the things that you really need a lot of capital. Was that your next business or what was your next business?
DG: It was. So I went into the tech world and telecom world and sold First Telecom when in ’96 they deregulated local service and I ended up selling door to door explaining local long distance internet services to small businesses.
JT: I used to do stuff like that so that’s funny.
DG: Oh yeah? I think every one of those companies has morphed into one company or declared bankruptcy but at that time, and maybe this is typical, but I was a sales guy in ’96, the company had just gone public and usually in sales if a company finds a good salesperson they make him a manager right away and not every salesperson is a manager, of course, but in my case, that’s where I really got to understand what it could be like growing a fast growing company, a publicly traded company and my first opportunity at managing first a team of 8 sales people and then I ended up running the Philadelphia market by year 2000 or so, which was 145 people. I’m still in my mid 20s.
JT: That’s what I was going to say, how old were you?
DG: I was 28 I think. I was thinking every day I woke up I’m like I shouldn’t be managing these people, they should be managing me.
JT: So I am going to stop you. Why do you think you got to hit that success at the age of 28?
DG: Two reasons only I think. It’s certainly not my charming good looks. It’s definitely because of results and the hard work that I put in to get the results. I was relentless about achieving my sales goals and so with that rose to, when I started we had 50 employees and by the time we ended or I ended and jumped off the ship, there was 5,000 three and a half years later.
JT: Wow, three and a half years later.
DG: I know.
JT: So you saw it from the ground up. My goodness, that’s crazy.
DG: So I think that would be the main reason that I was getting opportunities within the company. They saw the results that I was selling personally so they said, “Okay we’ll make you a manager. Now make all your sales people do the same thing.” Then when I had a great team of sales people, they said, “Okay now you need to show your entire city and now you have the Philadelphia market. Teach that to everyone.” It worked up to a point. The sales part was awesome.
The problem was the fulfillment side of it. It got to be challenging for the company from an engineering aspect because it took the coordination of our company with the local phone company who had been around for years and really didn’t want their business taken away so it became an execution thing and that’s what ultimately and it was a month after 9/11 actually and I said, “Stock has gone down from 165 at a time to we’re sitting at 30. I don’t know if I believe in what I’m selling anymore and I don’t want my team to think I’m leading them into the abyss.” So I jumped off the ship and said I’m going to go travel the world for six months and figure out my game plan.
JT: Wow. So you must have amassed quite a bit of savings in that time, if you’d been growing so fast and getting raises upon raises, I’m assuming for the fact that you were doing so well.
DG: Yeah, I think a lot of that, Jaime, was back in the day, if you recall, people were grabbing shares of stock like they were in a gold rush. For some fortunate folks they were. Unfortunately, for me, I was acquiring shares of stock but they weren’t exercisable for years later and by the time they were they just didn’t make much sense so I was working on the commissions and the salary of what I was making which, as a 28 year old guy, that was great relatively. Probably just a fair salary for that specific position I guess.
To answer your question, I was able to put away probably about between that and the next company that I joined after I came back because I wanted a few more dollars. I put away about I would say $200,000.
JT: Yeah, that’s really impressive for a 28, 29 year old guy after six months. That’s really impressive. So you really spent the time to go ahead and amass this start up fund so that way you didn’t have to go to anyone. So was it just sort of like saving every penny? I mean it sounds like you did six months of traveling so you at least weren’t living this horrible lifestyle. You were able to amass quite a bit. Did you have to change your lifestyle at all when you were trying to save all that?
DG: No, you know, I got some lucky breaks. I think I believe that people put themselves in a position to get lucky and I think through a lot of hard work and just by trying to uncover a lot of stones, I was able to get myself in a place in Philadelphia where I was, with the first company, into my first real estate buy and that really was the other catalyst that helped me accumulate some dollars to open up the first restaurant.
I was living in a condo and a gentleman said, “Hey can I sell it to you because I need a loss for all my market gains” and I said, “No problem.” I can’t really afford a $70,000 condo but I will scrape it together and do it and to me, from ’99, probably 2000, 2000 to 2006, it was a great run from a real estate side and I happened to get into a couple places. Usually those were the places I was living in and just was able to sell or cash out or refinance and take some money out in order to put it on the side for the next play.
JT: So you saw these opportunities just sort of coming up in real estate which you were able to take advantage of because you were saving and saving and working your butt off.
JT: Excellent. So tell me about the restaurant then. I loved what you talked about before which is why I got into depth so much but tell me about how you started the restaurant after all this.
DG: Sure. Actually, when I was reading over your profile Guy Kawasaki’s interview, I assumed by your name that I was going to be talking to a guy and when it was a woman I said, “Wow, this is going to be interesting. She’s going to grill me about…”
JT: Oh yeah, bikini ladies.
DG: No problem, I can field those questions. I get it all the time and I’ll give you my take on it.
DG: I was living in DC, Jaime, after I had traveled a bit and spent some time in Australia and that’s where the idea was born and when I left Australia I worked in DC for the tech company and again I did similar things to the telecom world. I told them when I started I was going to be there for two years and three and a half years later, I was still at the company because it was hard. It’s hard to make that jump and I was making very good money and a very comfortable job.
I had a big expense account and if you wanted to go to Capitals game, we had a box. If you wanted to go see a concert, I could take you there. We sold technology to the government and it just wasn’t fulfilling. Every day I would come home and just go hmm, I just don’t really enjoy what I’m doing. My customer, the government, is going to buy no matter what because it has been mandated that they need a laptop every year and it’s not a sell, it’s more of taking an order or fulfilling a fax machine.
JT: You said you were competitive. There’s no competition in that.
DG: There wasn’t. It was a shock to I think the company when I said, “Okay, my last day is November 1. I’m going to start Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill.” If you could be in that room, if we could rewind the clock on the calendar and sit next me, the looks on peoples faces will be always ingrained in my memory.
JT: That’s great. So you already had the idea when you left. So was it already in fruition and how did you come up with owning a restaurant because your last business idea having to do with pizza didn’t really work out so well. So what made you go with a restaurant?
DG: Sure, no, good call. So a few things. I wanted to do something obviously that I enjoyed and growing up, I had, like I mentioned, I started as a dishwasher. I was McDonald’s employee of the month at one point when I was 16.
JT: Congratulations by the way.
DG: Thank you. I still hold that honor pretty high. Bartender in college, busboy, you name it. Did all the odd jobs in order to have some spending money and when I was looking for something to do, I literally have a spreadsheet of goals that go back to probably ’95 when I graduated college and each year, each worksheet is a year and then I break down those goals into monthly and then they’re categorized into business or philanthropy or spiritual or family or what have you and my list of ideas, one of the worksheets, because I think every person daily comes up with a different idea and says oh what if I could do X. That would be a great idea.
Then you fantasize and romanticize about that idea for while and then you just go back to the job because that’s what you’re responsible for from your boss, etc. For me, the idea that kept jumping off the page and maybe it was through a couple books I read, there’s a famous quote once from Lee Iacocca that said, “If he wasn’t in the automobile industry, he had to do it all over again, he’d get in the restaurant industry because people always have to eat.”
I don’t know if that was tucked away somewhere in my unconscious or something but I knew that since my main competitor Hooters is around for 25 years or 20 years at the time, they had started the model and I was looking just to tweak the model. We kind of make a joke amongst our team members that they’re the Hertz, we’re the Avis. We try a little bit harder. They’re the Microsoft of the restaurant world because they started the “breastaurant” category. There’s another one for you.
JT: I had never heard that. Thank you.
DG: You’re welcome! They’re the Microsoft and we’re the Apple. We just tweaked what was currently being done to offer something better. That’s our mission is the different, offer something better.
JT: So that’s really interesting. So you took a model that worked which was Hooters and you decided to just try and make it better and have it specific for just in Austin? Was that the plan to just sort of start one restaurant and see how it went?
DG: I chose Austin because I was looking, personally it was two fold. I was looking for a place that I wanted to live and call home and really so my friends didn’t have to write my address in pencil anymore, a place that I really wanted to enjoy and I had traveled here before and just really enjoyed the people and everything Austin has to offer. So when I was making the decision it was well 1) where do I personally want to live and 2) where do I think the company could get out of the gates in a good fashion.
So the reason I chose Austin was it’s the capital of Texas. It has a great sports environment. It has beautiful lakes all throughout the city and hill country. It has a tech background because I figured well if this bar thing doesn’t work out, I could go work for Dell or Free Scale or A&B or someone potentially. So there was kind of fall back plan and I wanted it to be a way, way, way fall back plan but at least there was a fall back plan, because there’s no guarantees, that if something didn’t go as planned, I could live.
JT: It’s so funny, I’m laughing because you couldn’t really start it in Maine because bikinis in the winter would really not be a good idea for people in Maine. I’m just laughing.
DG: I think everybody would be wearing LL Bean.
JT: Oh yeah, definitely. That’s just funny. Snow bunnies, right? That’s excellent. So I loved how you said you had a fall back plan though. It’s not as though you were like yes, no matter what I’m going to do this because you don’t ever know for sure so you did have a fall back plan where I could always get a job at corporate if this doesn’t work out. So tell me about like starting the restaurant. Number one, you’ve never started a restaurant before, you’ve been working in corporate a lot. What did you do and how did you learn the basic ropes of it?
DG: It was a lot of trial and error and asking folks in the beginning. So I landed in Austin. It was a week before UT football beat USC in the national championship so it was a great time to be here. It was late ’05 and the first thing I did and I don’t know if it was the most logical thing but I said okay I’m going to open a restaurant I need to find a building. Jaime, I didn’t write a full blown business plan. It was more of probably a two to three page document that had bullet points about the specific areas of the restaurant or what I learned from people.
That was a big reason why I believe that we’ve been fortunate to have the growth that we’ve had is the beginning when I landed here I didn’t know anybody so I started asking people who are the best restaurateurs? Who are the best bar owners? Give me their name, their number, who knows them? Get me an intro. So it was using the sales skills from prior and networking that you had to do and most of these business owners, in fact, all of them that I called and I would say I probably met with almost 10 and I said, “Hey my name is Doug, I just moved here. I want to open a restaurant. I was wondering if you have five minutes so I could ask you a couple questions.”
That five minute meeting was an hour, hour and a half and I still talk to a lot of those folks. I realized that my questions were basic, looking back at it. I mean probably laughable questions to those folks but they were really genuine and gave me a lot of time and a lot of good input and steered me in the right direction. Hey Doug, this is what I would do first. I would do this, this and this. I would say they were giving, some were giving advice but mostly they were sharing their experiences and that was good for me because from there I could deduce what I wanted to do. They just said when I started I did this. So take that sort of gestalt and figure out how you want to move.
JT: See, that’s really interesting the fact that your competition is willing to talk to you about their advice when you’re going to be competing with them. So how did that happen? Were they just completely open or did it take, did you get people who rejected you and said I’m not going to talk to you because you’re going to be my competition down the street?
DG: I think the name, honestly it’s part of the reason I chose the name. The name Bikinis is so thought provoking and shocking to folks and it creates this image that immediately helped me to get a return phone call. I’m Doug. I’m opening a place called Bikinis. They just called me back because they wanted to hear the story. It just sounds funny and laughable so they were like I got to hear what this guy has to say.
What they realized, Jaime, was during the conversation I wasn’t going to directly compete with them. My competitors, obviously we mentioned the big one, the 800 pound gorilla. There weren’t any like me outside of that at the time that were big in Austin. There were a few that existed but I certainly didn’t go to them to ask for advice. There were other sports bars like a Buffalo Wild Wings but again I didn’t, since it’s such a big company, I was looking for sort of the mom and pop or, as we say, just a pop.
I was looking for the small business owner. Someone I could really relate to and who I knew I’d be trying to get into their shoes. So I went to restaurants but it was maybe an Italian restaurant or it was a bar that was strictly not even serving food because I knew that since it was that type of business it would be pretty close to what I was going to do which was find a building, find managers, build a menu, sign a lease. All those types of things. It got me into the ballpark and then I can get specific with what I was looking to do.
JT: So when was this? When did you actually open?
DG: So I started having those meetings in Austin with those business owners in January ’06. I signed our lease at the end of February, our first location and we opened in June. So very fast.
JT: That’s crazy. You must have been working a lot.
DG: We were. We did things that are very contrary to opening a restaurant I’ll say. What I mean by that, I think to a large extent when you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur you have to think, you have to be a contrarian to some extent or even a large extent because your new business is different than what everyone else says and they’re going to come at you guns blazing saying that you’re not going to succeed. So you’ve got to have that fortitude to realize that you think it’s going to happen and you do all the things necessary in order to make that happen so the things we did different and we’ve held on to all of these things and that’s how we’ve been able to grow.
We haven’t folded back into what they say we should do. One is most restaurants, Jaime, spend $300 a square foot by the time they’re open on build out, furniture, fixtures, equipment, etc. So, if you do the math, if you’re opening a 5,000 square foot place which is typical for us, typically they say that you have to raise a million and a half or spend a million and a half by the time you open. Well I don’t have that, didn’t have that so we needed to tweak and our tweaking came, okay well let’s find a closed restaurant that already has plumbing, mechanic, HVAC already inside and hopefully the furniture looks good and the equipment is in good shape in the restaurant so we could really minimize some of our costs and, for us, 90 percent, maybe 80 percent of our fan base, everything we do in our company is around the sports culture.
So we kind of a talk a different language but our fans are our customers and 80 percent are men and guys don’t really look at the ceiling, the floor, the type of chair they’re sitting in. Guys, we have this level, if you could see me I’m kind of shaving off my top side as I’m looking in bottom. Like we have this TV view, pun intended, of what we’re looking at and so if the chair is uncomfortable we care about it or if the color is that bad we’ll notice it but otherwise it just blends in.
JT: I was going to stop you because you also have beautiful women that these people are mostly looking at rather than the furniture and stuff like that. Do you guys get a lot critics I guess I should say being in that industry of going hey we have girls wearing bikinis?
DG: Absolutely. Our slogan is a sports with a view. So kind of a double entendre, right? You can look at the sports on TV or you can look at your view in the restaurant and choose what you want to be viewing. Do we get a lot of critics? You know, absolutely. I think anything different that is out there people instinctively would raise a caution flag or even a red flag and say well that’s not normal, that’s wrong. Depending on who our critic is, we have answers for them depending on what it is. Do you want me to dive into that?
JT: Yeah, we have a couple minutes so go ahead. I’d like to hear. I mean I think what’s truly important is being able to respond to critics because every business has critics in general and so being able to respond and giving them feedback is huge. So I’d love to hear what your feedback is for your critics.
DG: Sure. We’ll take the most obvious one. If someone says hey I don’t like what you’re doing, your business model, because I think you degrade women. We hear that. So my response is okay I understand that but if you look at what we’re doing, in my opinion, this is my opinion, people are born to this earth and they’re given a lot of different talents. Some are great athletes. I think Lebron James was born being a tremendous athlete and added on to that. I don’t think he taught himself how to jump that high. I think it was a given talent that he was born with to some degree.
So whether it’s any athlete or if you’re a nuclear physicist, you were given a real raw set of intelligence that you honed in over time and just as a runway model walks that runway to sell clothes, we do the same thing and some of our team, especially in the front of the house was yeah they’re good looking and they were fortunate to be dealt a different hand than someone else and so they’re using that talent, gift, in order to make a living. It’s they’re choice just as, like I said, a runway model walks down there and sells clothes, we sell buffalo wings.
JT: I think that’s a huge thing having to do with that is that it’s they’re choice. If somebody doesn’t want to do that then they don’t have to and I think that’s a really important distinction that a lot of people don’t see. Excellent. So tell me about where you guys are now because that was 2006. Five years have gone by and you have many locations, right? How many locations do you have right now?
DG: We are up to 12.
JT: Oh wow. Even more than I saw on the site. Because you’re franchising now too, right?
DG: We are. The number one reason why we have been able to grow this way is we have stuck with our model and continued to hire great people. That’s the number one reason why we have gotten this far. We focus within the restaurant on our five Ps. We call it people first, process second, product, promotions and physical and my team has been with me for a long time and they’ve all grown with us over time.
We have almost 600 employees and out of the 12, 9 are Bikinis and we actually have branched out and opened a couple different restaurants – a Tex Mex restaurant, a live music venue and we didn’t set to do that. It’s just the opportunity came up in particular locations that we thought were attractive and because we have the model in place from an operations side, we’ve been able to open some things that have been different that what we opened back in ’06.
So our goal for the next year is to be close to around 20 units. We’ve got almost 100 percent growth over the next 15 months so we know are going to have our work cut out for us but we’re super excited about our franchise model and what has taken us five years to really hone in on and develop and critique in order to offer that to someone else.
JT: That’s truly impressive; 600 employees in five years and let alone perfecting a model of doing that so that way you can go out and do it even more in the future. That’s really amazing. I’m sure you’re pretty proud of all that stuff that you’ve done so far especially from corporate and failing in one of your first ventures that you had. So really being able to show that success – 600 employees in five years is just crazy.
DG: I think it’s shocking to all of us and I appreciate that very much. We’re focused daily on making sure that we create a wow experience for our fans and I think if, in our opinion, if you do that, if you just focus on what’s inside our four walls and we don’t advertise at all. I should add that in there.
JT: Let me just throw that in…and we don’t advertise.
DG: And by the way… Well we really focus with our fans of making sure that they have this fantastic experience when they come in the door. We treat everything like a sports environment and I should note we have two games a day we could say – lunch and dinner and in those games we measure how we’re able to win. We have huddles before every game with our team so they know what’s going on, what the big things are. Hey the Cubs won last night. Hey Tony Romo had a collapsed lung. Mention that.
All these things that our fans would care about in order to win that day and when we’re just gobbling up little wins day by day, one time you’ll lift up your head when you’re talking to Jaime and you’ll go wow, okay, we do have 600 plus employees. I don’t externalize that a lot. So it kind of is an a-ha moment because we focus day to day on making sure our fans are happy.
JT: Yeah, it’s funny. It’s like you going to the Superbowl, right? You take it game by game by game until hey wait we’re at the Superbowl! Now that’s absolutely amazing and that’s exactly what you’re doing in business, just take it game by game, apparently you call them games too, game by game by game and that’s all you can really do. So that’s amazing advice. So for the very last question that we have, because I know we’re running a lit bit over but this is great.
JT: I always ask the same question and the question is what’s one action that each of the listeners can take this week to move them forward towards their goal of a million? Usually I give my millionaires that I talk to prep but I totally forgot to tell you this question in advance too. Sorry about that. So I’ll put you on the spot. What’s one action you think that people can take this week?
DG: Sure. Write down measurable goals that you look at on a weekly basis and those goals, for me, were three months, one year and three years. Nothing further out and it gives you a really good blue print for where you’re going. You can change your goals if you don’t meet them but update them, edit them, create new ones in the months that are to come but put a define date when you want to achieve those goals so you can look back and go yes I achieved 10 and missed on 3. It’s okay to miss, it’s just putting new ones in there so you are always moving forward.
JT: Great advice. So thank you, Doug, so much for coming on. Can you tell us where we can find more about you and if my listeners are in Texas or wherever your restaurants are, how we can find more information about you and your restaurants?
DG: Sure. Website is bikinissportsbarandgrill.com. Our new calendar comes out October 1 so it’s a bikiniscalendar.com. Our new blog actually I think starts on Friday so it’s bikinisblog.com and otherwise you can certainly find me on Facebook or LinkedIn and I’d get back to you as quick as possible. I really appreciate you, Jaime, for having us on.
JT: Perfect. What I will do is I will link up everything in the show notes too. I’ll definitely add you on Facebook and Twitter because I’d love to hear more about what you guys are doing. I’m really impressed. So thanks so much for coming on today, Doug. I really appreciate it.
DG: You bet. Whenever you’re in Texas, look us up.
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