“We actively get feedback through social media and customer emails,” says Brian Bennett, co-founder of Paul Martin’s American Grill, “We generally receive positive comments from customers about where we should open the next location.” The first location opened in 2007 in Roseville, just northeast of Sacramento. A year and four months later the second kicked off in El Segundo and a third in Irvine in 2011. “Currently four locations are operational and two more are scheduled to open this year,” Bennett says.
The restaurant focuses on organic, local and seasonal food with the same menu at each restaurant. One change was made, however. “We trimmed the menu overall by the time we opened the second location. By then we knew what could be adjusted that would improve our operation and consequently, our service,” says Bennett.
Consumer demographics, traffic patterns and annual community activities are studied carefully before each opening. When considering real estate, “Aside from looking at what’s available, we pay attention to the size of the space what we’ve found over the years is that an intimate dining experience works best for our needs.”
In addition to financial risks in the opening of any restaurant Bennett points out that, “There’s also a significant time investment to get your staff trained and ready. Have the right people in place.It’s really all about the people because you have to trust those who will help you manage when you’re not around.”
“Opening the second one is harder than the first,” Bennett says. With that warning, he advises patience, perseverance, a great product and putting people first. “Overall, expansion has had a very positive effect. Everybody is looking at opportunities to grow within the company. We’re in a good place. We’re very grateful to be in the growth phase.”
Paul Martin’s American Grill is part of our series highlighting restaurant groups and chains founded and flourishing in Orange County that were featured in the May|June 2013 print issue of Great Taste Magazine. Click here for the entire article.