Jeremy Julian

168. Fat Boys Pizza Transcript

December 13, 2022

43:30

Owner: Jeremy Julian

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

pizza, people, restaurant, drive, new orleans, gabe, chicken wings, gave, casey, cooking, pie, bit, wife, fat, grew, company, boys, business, staffing, utilizing

SPEAKERS

Casey (61%), Jeremy (39%), Intro (1%) 

I

Intro

0:02

This is the restaurant technology guys podcast, helping you run your restaurant better

JJ

Jeremy Julian

0:13

Welcome back to the restaurant technology guys podcast. Thank you guys for joining us as, as I always say, when we jump on these things, it’s a privilege to to get a little bit of airtime with our audience out there. I know that many longtime listeners will, will hit me up and tell me the episodes that are your favorite. Please don’t be afraid to do that. Today is another cool episode as the last couple of years have gone by I’ve been trying to get more into less just pure tech. And here’s some cool stories about some brands from restaurants. And today is no exception. I’ve got a pretty cool story that I’m going to have my friend Casey here share with you guys. But Casey, why don’t you introduce yourself to the audience and then we’ll talk a little bit about what you get the privilege of doing day in and day out at February’s pizza. Hey, guys, this is casey Beale, thank you for taking some time and joining us today.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

1:02

So, Casey, tell me a little bit about what your what your background is. How did you know how did you get in the restaurant industry? Have you been here for a day a week a month? I’m guessing it’s it’s not your first rodeo here at at Fat Boys.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

1:14

Fat Boys Pizza. You know, tell me a little bit about your background. You were telling me a little bit pre show before I hit the recording button. But, but I’d love to have our audience hear a little bit more about it. Well, like many humble people in this business, often it feels like my first day

CB

Casey Biehl

1:31

it’s something about getting kicked in the teeth every day by customers and vendors and the economy and all of it right. Absolutely. But that being said, you know, I think, you know, like many other people in this business. This this became a career opportunity for me not by design. You know, we finished college and got into sales. And when when when that went poorly, I went back to my roots as a bartender through college. And next thing you know, I was a general manager of a 36,000 square foot venue called generations Hall. Really cool opportunity as a young man to host events that we had a venue called the tip of Tina’s big room which was a partnership with a historical tippet Tina’s concert venue in New Orleans, Louisiana. And we hosted private events and concerts with groups like Pat Benatar, Ray Charles,

CB

Casey Biehl

2:28

Irma Thomas, Dr. John’s just some really, really neat events. And I did that for for several years and loved my job. And then this thing called Hurricane Katrina came and really altered the trajectory of many people in New Orleans lives and took a bit of a hospitality detour, recalibrated and somehow got sucked back into this business. And partnered actually with some people that opened up a new concept that I worked with, from the group from generations hall with a group called bar Cadia concepts. They had Arcadia bar and grills in the Houston Dallas, New Orleans and Baton Rouge market. I was director of operations for them and did that for several years and then kind of serendipitous, one of the individuals that actually worked for me as a manager generations Hall. He had left and joined Caesars Entertainment and he worked his way up to the assistant general manager came back to New Orleans in that capacity and pull me over as a director of food and beverage with Caesars Entertainment at the Harris New Orleans property. In a very cool and I spent about about eight years with those guys actually had the pleasure of actually taking on responsibilities at the Biloxi Caesars property that was there as well. oversaw, gosh, about 650 employees 45 leadership members had the really unique experience of being part of the opening team of the Caesars Blue Waters Dubai, where we successfully launched several food and beverage concepts including Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, which is really neat and all along the way. For the past like 15 years. I’ve had a friend of mine named Gabe Koch eonni and Gabe is the founder and owner of fat waste pizza and way back when gave Gabe and I we work out together in the mornings and he bought a boat and had it parked in Miami and at the marina and he sees this pizza place at the marina that’s has a line wrapped around the building. And he went in there and they were selling these really large slices of pizza and he came back with this vision. And Gabe has been a very successful entrepreneur and business person person gave his background has a lot of gaming involved in it with video poker, and has a lot of real estate opportunities that he’s able to do well with. And my advice to him as a friend is do not open a restaurant.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

5:15

Yeah, it’s amazing how often people think it’s super easy. You just make some food and people show up like that, like that place down in Miami.

CB

Casey Biehl

5:22

Go buy a building and sell it, you know,

JJ

Jeremy Julian

5:25

exactly go buy the building and then rent it to Lisa to a restaurant but don’t. Because you know what, when that one fails, then you got the next one to come into that same space that zone for it. Right?

CB

Casey Biehl

5:34

Exactly. So, you know, regardless of my, my good advice, he went ahead and he opened up his first restaurant here in Metairie, Louisiana, which is a suburb of New Orleans. He reached out to me become a partner, he actually said, hey, I’ll give you 49% of this business if you do it. So man, I’m not going to flip pizza. I’m sorry. No, thank you. I’m an executive with a world’s largest gaming company. And I’m good to go. Well, here I am, three years later, and I’m groveling to go, Hey, can I can I come do this with you, because it’s really exciting times. He’s done so so much, I joined the company a little less than a year ago. And after this first iteration, I thought, you know, when we opened up Fat Boys, or when Gabe opened up Fat Boys, it was just supposed to be a, a neighborhood pizza restaurant, featuring wife size pizza, you know, really cool decor, family centric, and it’s now evolved into six locations. And number seven, and eight are currently under construction. That’s amazing.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

6:37

That’s a really cool story. And I mean, I tease about it from time to time. And just because people I mean, people have asked me and and many of the longtime listeners that know me will say, Dude, how did you never get into restaurants, I’m like, because I realize how painful it is. I realize the hours that you got to work I realize, like I’m in and around the restaurants and I get to talk to cool restaurant tours every day. And I also don’t have to work every single weekend and every single holiday and every single, you know night and and all of that. And so that’s that’s really funny that you you shared that with him. Now, looking at the story of Fat Boys. It’s not like this concepts been around for 40 years, like like, it’s it’s relatively new. Was it really just this guy gave? That’s it. You know what I’m gonna go figure out how, you know, tell me a little bit about that. You told it told us about the story. But if he’s a real estate developer, I’m guessing, you know, mixing, you know, yeast and, and flour and water was probably not in his background. But maybe it was like, where did that even come from? Why did he decide pizza? And why did he decide pizza? Man, it’s one of the most. I know, I know, from a food spin perspective. It’s one of the you know, it’s one of the higher percentages, lots of people have pizza in the United States. And at the same time, the amount of competition is just silly. And so tell me a little bit about where did pizza come from other than, you know, and if you’re going to the gym every day, my guess is neither one of you guys are wanting to have pizza day in and day out if if you’re trying to stay healthy. Not that not that we don’t. We don’t do it anyway. But but you know, tell me a little bit about where that came from.

CB

Casey Biehl

8:06

Gosh, I mean, you know, the background on Gabe, really, you know, he came he’s from Miami came to New Orleans on a basketball scholarship at University of New Orleans, fell in love with the city met his wife who I think gosh, they have four children. They’re they’re about to welcome I think their third and fourth grade and baby if I’m not mistaken. I mean, they are just, you know, it’s a really tight family and but he has Italian in his background. And, you know, in pizza is something that is has been part of his life. He remembers when he used to go see his family. They grew up in Miami Bay had a lot of family and the up in the Jersey Shore, they’d go up there and they’d get pizza up there. And he fell in love with the New York style pizza and when he saw the the restaurant in Miami and when you know just kind of an epiphany of like, gosh, this I could do this and I want to do this. And one thing about Gabe is he’s tenacious, he’s determined. He’s a hard, hard worker. You know, we’re talking about a very, very successful business person. And when he opened, he was here every single day and you know, somebody that I’ve always thought of as a friend and I admired as a business person, I grew a new respect for him with the determination you had to make this thing successful and I I truly mean it. He willed his way to this. And he was you know, there’s a joke that is an inside joke that’s now about to be an outside one but we say he he Forrest Gump his way to success. And so yeah, in the space the pizza space man it’s it’s a highly personal space. You know, like, there’s so many varieties in so many different iterations that people think are the best. Competing in that space is is pretty unique and pretty challenging. But I think for guys, I gave an We were not culinary people by trade. We’re hospitality people, I think in a way. And and I think that’s where we separate ourselves is we have very high quality ingredients, scratch made ingredients, we sourced the best that we can, we can find. But when it comes down to it, where I think we separate ourselves is a unique looking product, people freak out when they see the size of our 30 inch pizza, man, they the one slice of pizza can fill up a person and people freak out. They take pictures of it. And, and I think that’s good for us. But really, I think that the experience I guess has in our restaurant is very unique. We’re thanking people, very simple elements, but it blows me away, but they come in expecting to order sit down and eat and the interaction that we mandate from our leadership team and our employees sets us apart. And people tell us how great our services and really all we’re doing is thanking them for coming in and, and cleaning up after them. So pretty cool.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

11:02

Love it. I love it. And I know you and I just met but I grew up hanging out at the Jersey Shore so I’m very familiar with New York style pizza. And I have to digress and I’m gonna call my wife out here. My our close friends. And I grew up on New York style pizza and I I’m I used to be called the pizza man when I was like, like, like as a teenager on my soccer team because I would eat pizza way too often. My wife when she first started dating and she’s since she’s since repented. But she says to me pizzas pizza, and I went oh, I don’t know that we can date anymore, babe like I love you. But like like pizzas, not pizza. And so I teach her from time to time when we’ll have a good you know, good slice of pizza. You know? Oh, so pizzas, pizza, right? And she’s like, Shut up. You’re a jerk. Because it’s now been over 20 years that we’ve been together. But But yeah, I grew up on on those large slices. And still when I go to the city in New York, and I go anywhere that’s got good. You know, I recently moved to Dallas and and trying to find a good slice of New York style pie here in Dallas was a challenge of this beginning, like I was all over the place, on the food groups and on Facebook groups saying, Alright, let me go find one of these. And I fortunately found something that I enjoy. It’s not quite as good as it was one of the places I had back in California before I moved, but so

CB

Casey Biehl

12:18

have you made it to serious pizza over there in detail?

JJ

Jeremy Julian

12:22

I haven’t I haven’t thought I’ll go check it out. Is it worth the trip? Because I’m on the the Fort Worth side? I’m over in South Lake area. And so is it close enough? I mean, it’s that’s a good, that’s a good 30 minutes, but I will drive for good feet.

CB

Casey Biehl

12:35

I was inquiring because I’ve admired them from afar, but there’s a lot of similarities in their concept. And, and I have not been there. So I was curious as to you know, their, their product?

JJ

Jeremy Julian

12:48

Yeah, well, it’s funny, I was back at the Jersey Shore this summer for a wedding for my cousin and I hit my favorite pizza spot. And there’s one on every corner, which goes back to kind of the story of just gave and you and really kind of digging through that. Talk to me a little bit about the transition even for you, you went from nightclubs, to you know, casinos and the restaurants instead of casinos all over the world to what you know, looks like a local, you know, corner in line strip mall pizza place like it’s not, you know, it’s not glamorous, you’re not, you know, catering to the stars, you’re catering to kind of the local, you know, the local soccer team that’s coming in after the game, talk to me a little bit about even that, your that journey for you. I know you did it with your friend gave and you guys were business partners now. But But tell me a little bit about where that how was that for you? How was that for your wife? How was that, you know, just your life totally changed, and that the type of clients you’re dealing with the ways that you’re interacting with them, I’m guessing was very, very different.

CB

Casey Biehl

13:42

You know, I deliberated about this, and as I said in the opening gave it you know, before it opened, he said, Let’s do this together. And you know, I was like No, and I came back and I’m not 49% by anyway, at this point, I missed that window. However, you know, the transition was one where I wasn’t quite comfortable at with at first. And I was working with Caesars and during COVID-19 and large organizations have to make some challenging fiscal decisions. And it really kind of struck a chord to me about like, you know, there’s a lot of people that invested a lot of effort and energy and time into something to make this business successful. And at the end of the day, it’s it is a business and, and when when we went through that it made me kind of recognize, you know, this could be my an opportunity to do things a different way. With a family based, you know, concept with a leadership style that is aligned with we’re going to treat each other well. We want an inclusive environment. Their large organizations have a lot of really, really really intelligent and smart people that help you make decisions. But sometimes those decisions force you to kind of just be a vehicle for delivery of instructions versus an inclusive culture. And, and I thought, for me personally, this was a unique opportunity to be able to do some things that I believe good leaders are continuing to evolve, are constantly trying to learn constantly try to talk to people like yourself and in other colleagues to learn how they do things. And in the ability to create a culture that was inclusive, there’s some Japanese car companies, and they require every member of their team to come up with one idea, a month. And I thought, you know, in a micro, if we could take this organization from day one, in this early, early stages were three years new. And we create a culture where our leadership team, they just one idea year, what a unique and diverse opportunity, this could be what a dynamic organization, it could be. And so the transition was was different. But when you really break it down, it doesn’t matter if it’s pizza, or if it’s, you know, if it’s widgets, whatever it is, if you apply, I think some really core things, helping individuals, as a leader, understand the why helping them understand that, you know, our responsibility is to work for them, and get alignment on what success looks like that that to me is that was the biggest catalyst for coming over here and gone, this could be a really unique opportunity to, to put our stamp on something. And you know, I do believe at some point, there’ll be an article written about this organization as we grow, and it’s going to have a big picture of a really large slice of pizza, but it’s not going to be about our pizza, it’s going to be about our culture, it’s going to be did things differently. And, and it’s that we’re equal, we may have different titles, but our our ability to alter the trajectory of this organization is an individual opportunity.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

17:06

I love it. And anybody that knows me knows that I’m I too am a little bit of a leadership junkie and I love just pouring into people and you know, growing myself so that I’m one step ahead of people that I’m leading, and I’m just keep pouring it out. Some of that was on the podcasts in the past that you might want to check out is a guy named Mike McFaul he he was one of the founders of big big coffee up and up in the Michigan area. He just recently wrote a book about you know, kind of servant leadership in the community. Just that just a really, really good dude. His podcast is was all is also up on the up on the channel, just he and I he and I wrapped for a good 10 minutes about just kind of leading people in what does that look like? Because at the end of the day, you’ve got the opportunity through what you get to do to change people’s lives, which you know, you’re just using it as a vehicle meaning if you read the story of Chick fil A and why a Chick fil A is so successful, it’s it’s when the chickens good, don’t get me wrong, you know, the the french fries are unique and they’re different. But ultimately, it’s because they’ve got great people that they pour into and they put a foundation together to be able to help people to grow and and it sounds like that’s kind of what you guys are looking to do there. I love it. I love it. So you talk about you guys are at six stores now. Looking on the website, you guys are kind of in that that you know that that New Orleans area of the country. Talk to me a little bit about where where growth is for you guys organically and then we’ll talk a little bit about the franchising community because I know you guys just launched that and that’s that’s an exciting opportunity for you guys as well. But tell me a little bit about organic is you know as Gabe looking to build all six of them corporate loan, some of them franchise talk to me a little bit about the ownership ownership structure and what does that look like for for those that might not be familiar with the brand?

CB

Casey Biehl

18:44

Yeah, so as you mentioned, we’re all of our stores are in a similar geographical area. We’re in Baton Rouge on LSU campus. We’re in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, across the street from University of Southern Mississippi. We’re actually in the French Quarter next to the famous Pat O’Brien’s, which is really a unique location. We have two and small suburbs, Covington and Mandeville, Louisiana. And then our first store which was Mary, Louisiana. We’re currently under construction in Richmond, Texas, which is a suburb of Houston. We have a signed lease in Katy Texas. So we expect to start construction probably in the next two or three months out there on our second Houston location. We we have a couple other locations that we’ve identified with potential elderlies in that Houston market and our goal is to have five stores in the Houston market by the end of 2020. For now, out of nowhere, we were presented with a the kind of give you a little bit longer version of this story but one of our landlords also has a very large development in the city that has his home of a multi 100 million dollar redevelopment and it has a target there kind of a walking strip, very cool looking location, one of the most dense flick foot traffic and car visitation in the city. And our landlord asked if we’d be interested in putting a drive thru out there that pizza drive thru pizza. And you know, and we looked around we said, well, since everybody’s doing it, this must be easy, right?

JJ

Jeremy Julian

20:36

Oh, silly, silly guy. You know, kind of like gave so long it’s easy to restart a restaurant, it’s easy to run a drive thru. It’s like a totally different, totally different deal. But I’ll let you keep going.

CB

Casey Biehl

20:45

Yeah, so so as you reacted was very much in line with my reaction. And so we started getting that opportunity and started doing really just due diligence to see if that could be something that’s viable. Well, I guess we’re trying to do their due diligence on that. Another one of our landlords reached out to us on a daiquiri drive thru location they have in a different area of town, and he said, Are you guys interested in trying to do a drive thru pizza. So that’s crazy ask that because we’re literally kind of trying to do our study whether or not this can be executed. And fortunately, the the building needed very little, needed some paint and some signage, and a very, very low risk investment. And we took a shot on it. So we’re targeting a mid December opening of our first fanboys Express, it’ll have eight tables on the inside of the restaurant, and it will have primarily be focused on pizza by the slice. Check. I

JJ

Jeremy Julian

21:51

was gonna say you’re not doing full pies through the drive thru, I’m assuming Yeah, okay.

CB

Casey Biehl

21:55

Now, you know, some of our best locations up to it, there’s times where up to 30 to 40% of our business is exporting food out of the building. So you know, really, the Dine in is still number one. But there’s a close second for the third party delivery platforms that people are utilizing. So with a very small square footprint, low occupancy costs a very low startup capital needed to get this thing going. And primary investment being equipment that we can always take out, we’re going to dive into our first foray into an omni channel restaurant experience that will feature drive through third party delivery platform of small dine in self checkout kiosks, and QR codes that are going to be on the tables where guests can order from their phone, all of this stuff’s kind of new to our brand. And we’re going to give this a shot. And then if we prove that things successful, with a low startup cost to this compared to a full 3500 4500 square foot building, and all the labor needed to execute it, I could see this being the honestly the catalyst that helps us reach our growth strategies quickly.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

23:07

Yeah, and I know we’ve done quite a few podcasts on had different guests on talk about kind of this whole omni channel for wall. I mean, I call it for wall economics, because ultimately you’re paying rent, whether the food’s going out the door or the foods, you know, somebody’s sitting in the dining room, somebody’s going through the drive thru somebody’s going, you’ve got to figure out how to maximize that square footage. I guess talk to me a little bit about where you guys are going with that, because I found I don’t know how far into this journey you guys are. And I know you’re you know, you and I talk pre show about kind of some of your background and some of the some of the education you have about continuous improvement and, and all of that. But one of the big things that I guess I’d love for you to talk through even you guys as internal strategy and conversations as the VP of Ops is, how do you deal with the throughput? How do you deal with throughput? How do you deal with even staffing for those different channels because oftentimes, they function differently and back to your back to one of your differentiating points as you guys are a hospitality company that really wants to take care of the gas. And you’ve got this third party delivery where you may not have an engagement with the guests, you may not have be able to talk much through the drive thru window to the people it’s all about the product at that point, get into them fast get into hot food, hot cold food, cold, all of that kind of stuff. Talk to me a little bit about how you guys intend on operationalizing all of those things because it’s it’s going to be a challenge. I mean, and I’d love to get your thoughts and then I can I can even challenge you with some things because I’ve been here I’ve seen it I’ve seen it fail I’ve seen it succeed and and happy happy to help with it. But I’d love to to know your thinking because a lot of people are in the same spot you are where they’re like it’s gotta be or in the in the words of our CEO it can’t be that hard. And I’m like no more difficult words have been said then it can’t be that hard. And so when you say you’re trying to do omni channel with third party delivery and QR ordering and drive thru and you know web ordering and just Thought kiosk it’s like, that’s a lot to take on when you’ve never done any of it. So talk to me a little bit about the operationalization of how you guys have thought about these and how the strategic conversation has been? Well,

CB

Casey Biehl

25:10

I mean, first of all, you said you want to challenge me on it, please don’t because I wake up in the middle of the night challenge myself to do so. I love it. And you did also say you would help. So that’s where I’d like us to focus. So no, but with, you know, part of the, the name of your your show and your podcast is you know, technology. And, and I truly believe implementation of technology is how we overcome some of these challenges. We invested into a new product, something we’ve never used before. It’s called a hot rocks oven. It is a conveyor oven that utilizes granite stone. So you know, pizza can be cooked on vague conveyors, that gets cooked on conveyors all the time, but what you lose is the quality of your dough by cooking on a traditional deck oven with stones. This technology allows for it to still blend the best of both worlds with the speed the consistency that you get with a conveyor oven. Yet with granite stones that help with the cooking process. The the claim by the manufacturer of the hot rocks oven is they’re able to cook over 100 pies in an hour. So the

JJ

Jeremy Julian

26:24

that’s impressive. Yeah, the throughput

CB

Casey Biehl

26:26

that we’re able to get off of these ovens that are still being tested today. We’re not open yet. So we still have to that serve several threads saying things through this, and we may hit obstacles that pushback are opening. But at this point, our strategy from just strictly from a throughput on a pizza perspective, is we’re going to take the traditional deck ovens to transport deck ovens and stack them on top of the conveyor oven. So we’ll have three a triple stack oven, and we’ll be utilizing traditional methods for baking pies. Holding those pies, and then utilizing the conveyor oven to for throughput purposes. With Yep, and we can crank that thing up to a very, very high temperature at a fast speed and flash cook it for it to finish it and under under two minutes, pull it out, box it up and sell it to the customer in the drive thru. Additionally, one of the things that we currently have on the menu are chicken wings and other item that you don’t see a whole lot of dry through. We’re going to try to you know, overcome pizza and chicken wings, which

JJ

Jeremy Julian

27:36

can’t be that hard, right.

CB

Casey Biehl

27:39

And we sourced a handy pantry pressure fryer and holding vats that hold with humidity and heat and convection. So the hope there is we’re cooking 30 pounds of chicken wings and three minutes will part bake all of our chicken wings will hold cook them in a pressure fryer for three minutes holding the vet and scoop and toss from

JJ

Jeremy Julian

28:06

their guy. Yeah, those I mean from a food production perspective, Those both sound like really cool innovative things that I that I don’t know that there’s very many people doing that, where it where I guess going back to the restaurant technology, guys, one of the things that I’ve seen people fail at and I guess I would caution you to to at least consider this as you guys go into your opening is trying to take on too much. I’m in agreement with you that that the technology is the way to solve a lot of these challenges. But I would also challenge you to walk before you run, whether it’s turn on online ordering and third party delivery at first, you know, then do drive thru, then do QR ordering at the table then you know, and build up from that because the ways that you’re going to staff your kitchen, and the ways that they’re going to have to deal with production and holding food is going to be different for each of those different modalities. If you’re sitting in the dining room, you’re taking it out right away. If it’s coming through third party delivery, you’ve got to figure out a way to deal with the queuing and making sure that those third party delivery drivers which I’m sure you already dealt with the last three years through the pandemic, and oftentimes it’s not done well and then ultimately the guests suffers and they may not come back and guest retention suffers because of it.

CB

Casey Biehl

29:17

Yeah, no, I mean all of our openings, we’ve been fairly pragmatic about turning on different levers and not opening up the floodgates from day one. We often joked about keeping the doors locked at first on this thing, just doing drive thru only, you know, it’s what the first iteration that was presented to us was strictly a drive thru. Now this one has eight tables and it doesn’t sound like a lot but you know you have that’s quite

JJ

Jeremy Julian

29:46

a staffing for that. I mean, my wife said she just went into a fast food place the other day and there was one person working both the cashier and the drive thru. And so her experience was just crappy because of it. Because you know, there was people in the drive thru and she was standing at the counter trying to get it and I you know, I just, I just did an interview with, with the people from Yelp a couple of weeks back where I was on their podcast, and we were just talking about it. And I have a philosophy that technology for technology’s sake is not necessarily needed, or a value technology to solve a true business problem is really, really helpful. And I think that, you know, I would just encourage you to make sure that you’re solving a true business problem that the guests want solved.

CB

Casey Biehl

30:28

Yeah, appreciate that. Yeah. And And honestly, you know, where where I got excited about a drive thru is the low occupancy cost, the labor model is nominal. And you absolutely, theoretically can get away with a significantly smaller team. And in staffing, if you ever go to any one of our six operating partners, and the seventh and eighth that are currently looking to hire, the number one topic that we talk about is how are we staffing? How can we think differently? What do we need to do? And how can we make this a more competitive place for people to work, and how to our message about our culture, and why it feels better to work here than anywhere else across the people, companies like canes and Chick fil A, they will, I’m sure they still have some challenges. But that doesn’t feel like it when you go in there, you know. And I think because they’ve scaled large enough in such a strategic way that their culture resonates with people. And it feels like a good place to work. And it feels like a good place to go. And with a small company like us, we’re still we’re not able to get that message out there yet.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

31:39

Well, and based on kind of your philosophy, and I know where you guys are going, it feels like there’s there’s certainly a possibility if you guys get with the right partners out in the franchise market, and you build a brand that’s worthy. It sounds like you guys are already having people. You know, it’s always it’s always encouraging to me when I have restaurant tours on the show, and they have people coming to them saying how do I get your brand into my shopping center? Because I know what’s going to drive traffic that you know, that tells the story already. Now it’s how do you do it at scale beyond the the eight that you have, which I guess I’d love to wrap out our conversation with? What are you looking for? I know we started our conversation, you talked about growing, we talked about growing beyond kind of your guys’s region. It sounds like you guys have got operating partners that you guys are looking for in the franchise model. What are you guys looking for? What does that look like to you? Are you looking for a Chick fil A franchisee that knows all about restaurants? Are you looking for a guy that that is a real estate guy that you know, is going to hire somebody to operate the store? Somebody that owns 400 Burger Kings and is looking to get you know, 100 stores? Have what? Because I’ve watched them and I watched red brick pizza do it. I watched Pieology do it. You know these are all different pizza brands that have franchised and some have done really well MOD Pizza done really well. And then others that have struggled. So where are you guys looking? And what does that look like? What’s the ideal franchise look like? What’s the ideal market look like? What’s the ideal consumer look like for Fat Boys and so that people are sitting here listening going. I’ve always wanted to open up a pizza place. How do I get how do I get involved?

CB

Casey Biehl

33:09

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. The first thing is, you know, this is something that’s relatively new for us for for going after the franchising lever. In effect, it’s something I’ve been very territorial about. When since I’ve joined the organization, the franchising thing is definitely something that we are going to be territorial about. It’s something that when I joined the organization, it was an opportunity that was discussed. And fortunately for us, we are a new company, but we have been blessed with having some strong capital backer backing. So growth can be strategic for us and it does not need to be let’s get as many franchises as we can. So we can scale and have more corporate stores and have the fiscal ability to do so. So first thing for us is it has to be a good partner that understands us we were passionate about the community. We partner with Children’s Hospital, the vehicle dog adoption and pound adoption, we are very philanthropic driven individuals. And in order like we want to make sure people are aligned with us culturally, philosophically and fit the Fat Boys model. The ideal franchisee would have restaurant experience of a net worth of over $1.7 million. They would be able to have cash liquid cash over three quarters of a million dollars. And we would be looking at franchises in other areas in Mississippi, the Georgia market, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and northern Louisiana. We’re kind of South Louisiana and The Texas market we kind of want to look at continuing to grow from a corporate perspective.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

35:04

So when do I get one in Dallas? That’s I want to go selfish here and say, When do I get a family’s pizza in Dallas, so you didn’t get given on the roadmap and the next? Are you telling me I gotta come to New Orleans to get get a slice of pie? Is that kind of what I’m hearing?

CB

Casey Biehl

35:16

I’m telling you, we had I have a text that I could show you that we talked about Dallas today. Okay. Honestly, though, like we number one goal from a corporate store perspective will be to do our five in Houston by the end of 2024. assess where we are, and then determine what’s next in that market. I think, you know, doing one in a market is challenging, you don’t get the scale, you don’t get the efficiencies but from

JJ

Jeremy Julian

35:43

the supply chain.

CB

Casey Biehl

35:45

So, clearly, Dallas is on the radar. You look at San Antonio Austin, potentially couple of those markets are I’m not sure which one we’ll attack first. But

JJ

Jeremy Julian

35:55

okay, well, I’ll have to keep on the radar and get get connected to the newsletter to know about that. Now, I’m gonna ask you a purely personal question, Casey, what’s your favorite menu item when you go in for yourself? Talk to me about you know, you know, are you are you a basic pie guide you like the wings might so my wife used to work it in and out. And every time we go to in and out it’s like a science experiment because she makes something up that’s not on the menu. You know, I guess and if you’re not at liberty to share, what are your what is your wife like? Or what is your kid like when when they come in the Fat Boys.

CB

Casey Biehl

36:29

Alright. I’ll start with me. I’m schizophrenic. And I had a supreme today it’s called a fat boy. I love our gluten free. A, I have that more than I should. And it’s probably from health conscious reasons. If you’re coming into the store for the first time, I’m going to recommend our cheese or pepperoni. Because I think that’s when you can really understand the quality of our ingredients, the best hand dough, some of the best source cheese that we can get Stanislaus tomatoes, you know, I mean, just things that really just the simplicity,

JJ

Jeremy Julian

37:07

I think you made my choice for dinner tonight. And unfortunately, it’s not going to be Fat Boys, but it’s probably going to be a New York style pie interface on our conversation.

CB

Casey Biehl

37:17

And then my wife, she’s got some health challenges so she she’s unable to enjoy it. So she often will complain about when I bring it to the house. And my son just is a nut for our chicken wings actually. He he’ll do the he likes doing a Hawaiian and and then chicken wings.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

37:39

That’s funny. I teach my kids that, you know, pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza because I grew up on the Jersey Shore front in the summer times and you never had pineapple on pizza. It’s like what I mean I get that it’s there all the time now but when I was a kid like he literally gotten run out of the store if you lay through pineapple and and ham on a pizza or Canadian bacon or whatever the heck it is on there. So but a couple of I’ve got my four kids, two of them. Two of them certainly enjoy themselves to Hawaiian Hawaiian pie from time to time.

CB

Casey Biehl

38:04

I’ve learned not to swim upstream when feeding the children. It’s it’s easier to acquiesce.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

38:09

Oh, absolutely. I’ve got I’ve got two of them that are pretty picky. And so it’s it’s always a challenge. I was my 17 year old is my pickiest and I was going to I was going on a college visit to a town that a friend knew really well in Lubbock, Texas, and he’s given me food spots. I said, you realize I’m traveling with a 17 year old that has the palate of a six year old. Don’t give me anything that’s exotic. Just give me the basic like blocking and tackling. And so I tease him about that. But it was very true. We had a great time. But it was it wasn’t a very culinary, culinary. You know, I guess visit that we took there loads and loads of ketchup. Yeah, yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, Casey, I’m super excited. What did we miss that we didn’t get through on today’s conversation? I you know, I’m I’m super excited about listening to where you guys are at and where you guys are going. But is there anything that we missed that?

CB

Casey Biehl

38:57

I think you know, as you see our organization, you see an innovative brand new company, I think the culture, as I alluded to several times is really unique. And I’m proud of it. But we’re also we’re technologically based where data and analytically minded individuals, we utilize several different platforms to help us for managing our metrics from a cost of goods and labor perspective and inventory controls. We utilize tools for understanding trends, what what our P mix is look like what yeah, there’s just layers and layers of technological components that are already built into baked into our systems that I think really separates us from a lot of people in this market.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

39:44

I love it. I love it. Because I mean, I do think that that even just some of the innovations you guys are talking about on the Cooking side of stuff that most brands don’t invest in. They don’t they figure out something and then they don’t go any farther. And so I love that you guys are spending that time and that energy, too. To truly be able to create a great product, and you know, and meet the consumer demands that you guys are looking to looking to expand into,

CB

Casey Biehl

40:06

yeah, thank you. Now this will, this will always be a company that’s looking to improve. We’re gonna make some mistakes, we’ll learn from those mistakes, but it will always be a culture of continuous improvement and evolution. And, and I think that’s what will make this company successful.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

40:22

I love it. So how do people get in touch? How do they get in touch with you? How do they get in touch with the brand, what’s, what are their next steps, if they’re just sitting here going, I gotta, I gotta have it. Let me go figure it out after they have their slice of pie at their local pizza place because they don’t have one in their town.

CB

Casey Biehl

40:36

Yeah, now the easiest way to get in touch with this is through our website, which is eat Fat Boys pizza.com. Through there, there’s several different tabs that allow for you to contact us, you can connect to me directly through that platform. And you can also get further information on our franchises as well.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

40:55

I love it. I love it. Because I just had this epiphany is Gabe, the fat boy that’s in the Fat Boys name. Is there someone else? Like where did the Fat Boys come from? Like, it was just a fun name that he came up with

CB

Casey Biehl

41:07

a name? Yeah, so he, we went round and round for this one, the name not and maybe his version of this will sound quite different. But in my head, I felt like I was putting up a valid argument of where we should go and where he should go because I wasn’t with a company then. And he he’s got this marketing bug. And he knew that something like that would resonate. And with, you know, really think about our brand and its families and you know, kids drive a lot of decisions, you just share the story about you and your daughter, and you’re making decisions to make sure that the 17 year old is satisfied. And in a macro. You know, you look at the makeup of our consumers and it’s loads and loads of families and and there’s so many that’s so easy for children to connect with and relate with and we have a mascot that comes out. And you know, there’s a lot of elements to it that but yeah, I have to give credit to Gabe on that.

JJ

Jeremy Julian

42:06

I love it. I love it. Well, Casey, I’m grateful that you were able to come on and share the story of Fat Boys where you guys are at where you guys are going to our audience guys, as I said it on the onset, I know that you guys have 1000s of choices, and it feels like there’s a new podcast that gets released every day. So I appreciate you guys taking just a few minutes to to share a moment of your time to hear the story of what’s going on with these guys. I would encourage you guys to check their stuff out. Don’t go on the website hungry because it’s gonna mean that you’re gonna want to go have a slice of pizza I’m sure but you know fantastic product that can’t wait for it to hit. Hit a lot more markets and you guys are in today. While you guys are online, checking them out. If you haven’t already signed up for the restaurant technology guys newsletter. Once a month on the first of the month, you guys will get an email with all the podcasts with all the blog posts everything else that’s going on. I would encourage you to do that, as well share the podcast with some of your industry friends. I know everybody’s got lots of people that they know in the restaurant industry. So if you found this, this episode or any of the other ones, interesting, share them to get the word out so that we can get more people out there. Casey, thank you very much for sharing your story and to our audience. Make it a great day. Thank you.

I

Intro

43:12

Thanks for listening to the restaurant technology guys podcast. Visit restaurant technology guys.com For tips, Industry Insights and more to help you run your restaurant better

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