Guests feel comfortable and relaxed in Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar with its casual, fun vibe that’s kid and canine-friendly (dogs welcome on patio). Menus feature an eclectic mix of burgers, sandwiches, salads and entrees with beers available on tap.
“Typically, we eat in the local restaurants and talk to as many people as possible who live in the area,” says CEO & Founder Chris Simms of Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar about opening new locations.”While demographic statistics tell you part of the story, you really need to understand your future guests before you make the decision.” The first Lazy Dog opened in 2003 in the Huntington Beach area and the second opened three years later in Torrance. Their twelfth location launches in San Diego this June while a thirteenth is set to open in Concord (Northern California) this fall.
Simms has been careful to grow slowly enough to ensure that, “The guest experience in each of our existing restaurants stays the same or gets better.” He and his team look for the right fit in the community and seek partnerships with new local vendors for each location. There’s a focus on customer feedback and social media with space on their website for comments. “We are fortunate to have guests who really care about the restaurant and that usually means they are very vocal when it comes to sharing their experiences and voicing their opinions. We want to give our guests a better experience and that means listening to everything they have to say and using that feedback to continue to refine our services and offerings,” Simms says.
While every opening brings its own set of unexpected challenges, it was the opening of the second location that Simms recalls. “On the first day we were open in Torrance, our exhaust fan exploded up on the roof, sending metal shrapnel flying all over. It was rough day, but we took care of it.”
Each location is built from scratch instead of taking over existing spaces to get exactly what they want. “We learn something new each time, and each community lends itself to new tweaks,” says Simms.
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar 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.