Exceptional Brands also accounts for the nuances of each of its markets by "attempting to have in place a management team that is local and knows those communities," Burton said.
When Sanders came on board in March 2008, he spent several days working in Exceptional Brands restaurants to better understand the uniqueness of each operation.
"I was in Omaha, Nebraska, training at a Buffalo Wild Wings in 2004. I jokingly asked if there was a good barbecue place around, and was sent to a Famous Dave's. I was blown away," said Burton, who ordered brisket and sausage.
"I've been in professional circles for 30 years, and I've never been in a culture so focused and so in synch that moved toward perfection like this one. That takes an incredible focus and attention to detail," said Larry Sanders, marketing director.
"I understand our business and what it's like to work on the line. I know what motivates employees," Burton said. "Our complete culture is to promote from within if at all possible."
In 1999 at the age of 19, he started working full time at a Taco Bell in Snyder while earning an associate's degree in business administration from Western Texas College.
"Our facilities from landscaping to the interior to the exterior are way above and beyond franchise expectations," said Burton about the three chain restaurants that they call concepts.
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The restaurant management company has grown from scratch, beginning in 1973 when Eddie Ohre purchased Abilene's first Taco Bell on North 1st Street, and a second one under construction on South 14th Street from its corporate owner. Through the last four decades, the company has operated as many as 10 Taco Bells.
"We went to bed thinking about that: How do we position this new business? It's not going to be a foreign entity. It's an Abilene restaurant," Sanders said.
Ordering Up Success with Three Concept Restaurants
In the current slow economy, Burton said that Buffalo Wild Wings and Famous Dave's are doing well because they offer a "get away or oasis for people to not have to think about their problems."
Some locations, including the one in Snyder, were closed based on market changes, Burton said. In 2008, Exceptional Brands replaced the original North 1st Street Taco Bell with a larger one on South 1st Street in front of Kmart and razed and rebuilt bigger the South Danville Drive location.
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Exceptional Brands also is constructing a Famous Dave's in Amarillo scheduled to open in September and is committed to opening locations in Fort Worth, Lubbock, San Antonio, Wichita Falls and Lawton.
are prepared using the appropriate blend of rubs, hickory smoke and sauces. They then went on a mystery shopper like tour of Famous Dave's across the country to learn more.
Executing that strategy depends on ongoing training from the top down.
Burton said the company's name was chosen to reflect the quality of its franchises and dedicated, hard working employees.
The Exceptional Brand's strategy was to establish the restaurant as a unique eatery with Abilene related dcor and made from scratch meals of incredible quality, Sanders said.
"In all of our concepts the training never stops," Sanders said. "The standard is perfection."
Sanders said that they were fully aware of a possible initial perception that Abilene did not need another barbecue joint.
He later joined Exceptional Brands, LLC, the management company that owned the Taco Bell. Today he is president of the organization that employees 500 plus people at Taco Bells and two other franchises in Abilene and the surrounding area. Its operations include:
of Famous Dave's to Abilene came after Burton visited the restaurant on a business trip.
The Famous Dave's managers trained for seven weeks at other Famous Dave's in other cities to prepare for running the Abilene restaurant.
"I've worked every position our company has to offer in all our brands," Burton said.
He told David Ohre about the award winning chain that specializes in slow cooked St. Louis ribs, Atlanta pork and Texas brisket that Nike Soccer Shoes Pink
Opening a franchise in a new market gives owners access to proven name recognition and operational strategies.
"The resources they bring Nike Football Shoes Pink us are tremendous. When you go into a new market, it's a leveling tool," Sanders said.
retired founder Eddie Ohre, serves as CEO. The younger Ohre led Exceptional Brand's expansion into Buffalo Wild Wings, first opened in Abilene in 2003. David Ohre managed the interior design of the four restaurants, including selecting much of their sports memorabilia, mixing both local and regional jerseys, posters and other souvenirs with ones of collegiate and professional sports figures and teams.
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