Beefy, Brassy, Brilliance
“Just as we have two eyes and two feet, duality is part of life,” once said Carlos Santana. In the case of a franchisor known as Family Sports Concepts, such duality not only figures as a part of professional life, but amounts to a double dose of deliciousness imparted by their two highly popular and rapidly expanding brand concepts: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap. For entrepreneurs looking to train their two eyes or two feet toward a profitable business model, here’s a duality delighting with opportunity.
Whether it’s the good food and good fun at the family-friendly grill and pub known as Beef ‘O’ Brady’s or the world’s best offering in craft beer that adds a golden hue to The Brass Tap, the parent company of these two blossoming brands (Family Sports Concepts) has created two distinct business models that have proven to not only be popular with customers, but profitable for entrepreneurs looking to achieve business success. With currently more than 211 locations throughout the United States and development deals that will result in international openings, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s has emerged as a dining destination of choice by catering to consumers craving comfort food as well as somewhere to check-out the big game with their family and friends from the neighborhood. It neither skimps on the servings of sports nor the dishing of Buffalo wings, which despite its beefy namesake, are as in-demand (if not more) as its helpings of Fresh Angus hamburgers, hot dogs, salads and other mouthwatering menu fare. The Brass Tap is a blarney-free bastion of the best in beer, boasting more than 300 varieties of imports and craft-brews as well as wine and cigars, all made the more enjoyable through the Tap’s serving as a top-notch venue for musical talent and entertainment. There are currently seven open locations of The Brass Tap throughout areas of Florida, but dozens are under development for future opening.
“We’re very encouraged by the response we’re seeing from customers who are drawn to our brands,” says James Walker, Vice President of Franchise Development at Family Sports Concepts (FSC). “We’ve experienced remarkable growth and success not only at unit level, but also in terms of our overall goal to develop a best-in-class franchising model and that makes us very excited about the future.”
How It All Began
Long before these brands captured the flavors savored by consumers, they were concepts compelled to life through the efforts and imaginations of two independent entrepreneurs. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s was the brainchild of the late Jim Mellody, a Pennsylvania-native who moved to Southwest Florida in 1971 and experimented with several restaurant concepts in the years that followed. By 1985, he elected to establish a place that played-up a sports-infused Irish pub theme and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s was born. The “Brady” derived from the maiden name of Mellody’s mother. No doubt, Mellody was thinking of his mother by setting firm rules that would allow for the restaurant to resonate with families; mandates to keep it clean (literally and figuratively) with no pool tables nor serving of hard liquor to potentially sully the setting. In Brandon, Florida, the restaurant proved so popular with local appetites and sports aficionados alike, Mellody was soon opening other locations. By 1998, Mellody sold most of his interests in the company to Tampa-based FSC, and within two years, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s presence had expanded to more than 40 locations.
Before FSC’s acquisition of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, Walker says his company conducted a comprehensive assessment evaluating the aspects which particularly align with their understanding of what can be worked into a winning business model. Walker says FSC applies a number of metrics when determining which brand can be most capably grown, which includes evaluating unit-level economics and the strength of the brand in its respective category. The menu, the growth, its appeal with consumers; all contributed to make Beef ‘O’ Brady’s appealing to FSC. In 2002, Mellody would ultimately succumb after a long battle with cancer, but Beef ‘O’ Brady’s has stayed true to the original concept and unit owners have adhered to the values of good food, clean family fun and operations that not only cater to consumers, but also connect with their respective communities through their active support of philanthropic initiatives.
The Brass Tap was actually begun in 2007 by a highly successful Tampa-based Beef ‘O’ Brady’s franchisee named Jeff Martin. Martin was inspired to develop a business model that could thrive on those who thirst for the beckoning of craft beer, equally succulent cigars and live entertainment. In June 2012, FSC acquired the rights to franchise The Brass Tap and success has been brimming over with Martin continuing to provide input to the corporate team compelling its growth.
FSC’s Chief Executive Officer is Chris Elliot. “Chris brings a wealth of experience from the restaurant industry,” says Walker. “His expertise in building, brand messaging and communications has led to a new era of success, unprecedented growth and the relationship with our franchisees it at an all-time high.”
As a franchisor, FSC has eliminated the extent of guess work new business owners typically have to endure by creating a system that allows franchisees to rapidly achieve success if they simply follow the formulas which have been developed in such a way to help assure their operational effectiveness and efficiency. Walker says the company is looking for people who not only have the financial wherewithal but also the desire and general business acumen needed to grow a business. Candidates need not necessarily have a background in restaurant operations, but a good understanding of business and the ability to follow a system for achieving success is a critical component of the candidates typically sought by FSC. Walker says Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap were initially grown by an owner/operator model, but in recent years, have seen development deals enacted by investors who go on to appoint their owns staff, and either scenario can be adapted for their system. The investment cost for The Brass Tap is approximately $525,000, more or less, depending on real estate and construction costs which can fluctuate market to market. A Beef ‘O’ Brady’s can range from $500,000 to $600,000 with the same variable, but in either brand concept, the company wants franchisees to have some $200,000 in available capital.
The franchising process includes candidates coming to a discovery day in Tampa where they personally meet the corporate leadership team and take a tour among the operations of an existing location. Walker says these interactions are driven to provide clear understanding of the operational values being deployed and that candidates have a comfort level with what they’re investing, not only fiscally, but in terms of time and energy. In terms of time and energy, FSC has gone to great length to make opening and operating convenient and efficient through the range of support services it provides. Candidates are fully trained in all operation aspects, and are also assisted in all manners involving site-selection, lease negotiation, and build-out of location space. The Brass Tap typically requires some 2,500 square-feet of operating space while Beef ‘O’ Brady’s typically requires at least 4,000 square-feet, with both accommodating outdoor seating as well.
Franchisees receive hands-on help throughout the period of opening as well as during the actual public opening. Afterwards, they further benefit from ongoing training, ongoing support from field representatives, and ongoing marketing and product development services. The company has secured the vendor relationships as well as the intelligence to help franchisees understand which products are most demanded by consumers from market to respective market. As Walker affirms, FSC has achieved its growth and industry respect by not only focusing on the atmosphere and products imparted by its brand concepts, but also through its creation of system designed to help franchisees readily and rapidly achieve their business goals. “Our mission is to be a best-in-class franchisor with 100 percent franchisee success- that’s what we want to be known for,” says Walker.
And more are certainly getting to know these already popular brands. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s will soon see its first openings in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, to complement the ongoing openings in America. “Great food, a family environment with a sport theme; we’ve seen these core ingredients of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s translate globally,” notes Walker.
As for The Brass Tap, Walker was the innovator of an idea to develop locations among highly-trafficked airport terminals which has met with favorable response. While those negotiations continue, consumers may anticipate additional openings to take flight with more than a dozen other new locations currently on the drawing board. As Walker says, “It’s a busy time and we’ve got two distinctive brands that have people twice as excited about our future.”
For more information, please visit their website at: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s
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