Dan Simons: Recipe for Success

Business success is contingent not only on expertise and knowledge, but also a willingness to take calculated risk.

Whether opening a new restaurant or expanding your brand, there’s always risk. Is my location right? Will guests be excited about our menu, design, and business model? And in the back of every operator’s mind: Will my venture translate into growth and profit long-term?

Recently, Dan Simons was featured as a growing business success story in the Times Herald. He outlined the recipe for success he and Mike Vucurevich have thoughtfully built in their VSAG client/growing brand of Farmers Restaurant Group’s farmer-owned restaurants, namely the opening of the company’s latest outpost (it’s sixth), Founding Farmers King of Prussia

Commit to the Core of your Brand. Success stems from clear guiding principles that define your brand’s message, from which all elements grow. For instance, building the FRG brand stems from the commitment to and inspiration from American family farmers. FRG partnered with the North Dakota Farmers Union to develop their brand of farmer-owned, scratch-made food and drink. “As a business model,” Dan says, “it was a pioneering concept and I think it still is. I don’t know of another restaurant group where the majority partners are American family farmers… and where those farmers get a greater share of the food dollar.”

Be Willing to Take Risks. For Dan and Mike V, that meant innovation. Creating a new concept to complement their brand. Founding Farmers First Bake Cafe & Creamery serves the real food and drink that this neighborhood, full-service brand has become famous for, but as a standalone, counter-service concept where guests grab a delicious, fresh, quick bite or beverage to stay or to go. “What I love about the counter is the neighborhood feel it has… my hope is that it will [serve] as a democratic place, where a firefighter and an investment banker can both feel at home and gather over real food and real conversation,” says Dan.

Pull all Elements Together. From menus and vendors to design and art, all elements should thread through your brand messaging. This will help build the foundation to successfully, and thoughtfully, expand your business. Showcase local artists, create separate, specially designed guest areas, partner with like-minded vendors, develop specialized menus that speak to who you are as a restaurant company… pull these elements, and more, together to grow your business, never losing site of your brand’s core principles.

*photo: Founding Farmers King of Prussia, the sixth outpost in the growing Founding Farmers brand of farmer-owned restaurants.