Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Managing partner at Drunken Jackís Restaurant and Inlet Affairs Catering
Murrells Inlet resident
Chairman of the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association
What are the challenges facing the restaurant industry?
You know, the success rate of restaurants.
Eighty percent fail in the first 18 months, so itís quite the crapshoot.
One of the things that has made our world more challenging is the emergence of The Food Network.
Weíre dealing with a whole new educated and demanding consumer because they watch the shows. They participate in the shows in the interactive way, they go online, download the recipe and they make it.
They come to us with expectations. Why arenít you doing this or why arenít you doing that?
How important is the Grand Strand to the restaurant industry?
In the Grand Strand, there are 30,000 people employed in restaurants. The count always fluctuates, but there are between 1,800 and 2,000 restaurants between Little River and Georgetown.
Whatís the best part of being chairman of the SC Restaurant & Lodging Association?
The neat thing is I get to travel across the state, and the networking involved with other restaurant owners is critical to survival.
I enjoy the hospitality industry as a whole; I like to learn about other facets of what goes on in the world besides my little corner of it.
How do Drunken Jackís and Inlet Affairs fit in with their peers?
Drunken Jackís has a fairly traditional menu. We still do a lot of fried seafood platters and combination platters.
We arenít going to forget who brought us to the dance.
Weíre celebrating 35 years in July, and in the restaurant business, thatís a long time.
How do governmental regulations affect your business and your industry?
One of the things that hurt our industry to some degree is the Affordable Care Act.
If you work more than 30 hours, you are entitled to health care.
One large restaurant group cut its workers back to 29.5 hours.
Recently we got caught in the crossfire over the concealed weapons issue.
Thatís a no-win for us. If you order a drink, are you willing to open your purse to show if thereís a gun there, and if there is, do you have your permit? If you agree to allow concealed weapons, you have people who write and say, Iím not coming there because of the guns. If you donít allow guns, you have people writing and saying, Iím not coming because you donít support the Second Amendment. The only thing we could do as an association is to let each restaurant make its own decision.
Can you tell me about your family?
I have been married to Beth for 27 years. Sheís a nurse at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. My son, Wade, age 23, is finishing up at Coastal Carolina and heís quite the drummer. My daughter Claire, age 20, lives in Charleston, where she is working and going to school.
ó As told to