When I opened this restaurant in 1996 at the age of 22, I never knew we would grow across the state, employ more than 1,300 and get the opportunity to brew our own beer (after all, that was the goal when I first opened). I’m so thankful and blessed to have such an incredible wife, children, parents, sisters, friends and family of employees around me that supports this vision to make our dreams become reality. I’ve always told my team that I am only 1 person in a company that takes all 1,300 to make it work. I’m not the greatest bartender, cook or host – I’m not the smartest person in the room. But, I am smart enough to surround myself with incredibly talented, honest, dependable, dedicated, hardworking people that elevate this entire company together as a team. My employees are the most important piece to our success.
After I opened my 2nd restaurant at the age of 24, I closed the doors after 3 years and lost over $1 million. I was young, naïve and made more mistakes than I can count. It took me 8 grueling years to pay back all my losses, but, I did it. I took all those mistakes and used them as learning lessons for my future growth. Over the next 16 years, I opened 10 more restaurants. And, with every new restaurant comes many new challenges. I have tried to teach my team that it is OK to make a mistake in life, none of us are perfect. But, it is our job to learn from those mistakes and make improvements for the future. A true test of character is how you react when things aren’t going your way… how do you react and take life’s punches by moving forward, positively.
I was baptized a few years ago after I recovered from being hospitalized with a brain infection. It has been very important to me and my life. It helped me re-focus my life on the importance of God and my family. My illness taught me how precious life is and reminded me of the short time we get here to make the most of it. It also reminded me that I am a teacher for my staff. We created a vision for our team that incorporated more than just how to serve burgers, beer and fries. We train our team to remember the importance of the characteristics you were taught at a very young age, because the world is slowly forgetting these things: politeness, etiquette, manners... all found in the book, “Everything I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” We then added to this vision for our company by asking our employees to get involved in our communities and do something philanthropic by donating their time, mind, body and soul every 90 days. I want our company to help be that change we want to see in our world.
Community service has always played an integral role in my life and our restaurants. I believe it is important to use our restaurant growth as an opportunity to serve in our communities through philanthropic work, raising awareness and funds for charitable organizations, and to help those that are less fortunate. It is my duty to reach back and give an outstretched hand to lift someone up. Thank YOU, our guest, for doing your part to help with a few of the organizations we support like Habitat for Humanity, Kids Against Hunger, Riley Hospital for Children, DaySpring, and participating in our Thanksgiving day lunch for the less fortunate.
And, finally, I want to thank YOU, the guest in my house that has supported our growth, dreams and restaurants these past 20 years. We are nothing without you. You allow us to have a job, career and passion (and never the other way around). We are not perfect and we have and will continue to make mistakes. I often refer to this business is like serving Thanksgiving dinner in your home to your family of 10-20 people… if you had to do that 365 days a year, you occasionally will burn the yams. It is our job to own those occasional mistakes, learn from them and regain your trust and forgiveness for future visits. Your loyalty and patronage are the heartbeat in this small town boy’s dream from Yorktown, Indiana (go Tigers!). We may have several restaurants, but, we are still a small, local company trying to make our community proud of our accomplishments, while giving great customer service, delicious homemade food & ice cold, hand-crafted beers.
Thank you for your continued support.
Scotty Wise, Founder
firstname.lastname@example.org (contact me anytime with feedback from our restaurants, questions, comments or to just say "hi".)