owner of a sports bar grew up in the restaurant business | national news

Bullseye’s Sports Bar and Grille in Hastings has been beating independent restaurant ratings for 23 years.

Rod Strong, the owner of Bullseye’s with his wife, Kathy, said such longevity is a quirk for independent restaurants.

“Independents have a lifespan of three or four years,” Strong said. “It doesn’t normally happen very often.”

Part of the reason this happened in Strong’s case is his constant and practical involvement.

“To be successful in this business, you really have to be married to it,” he said.

Bullseye’s is a full service grill bar and restaurant. They are also a full caterer.

Prior to founding Bullseye’s, Strong had a lot of experience in the hospitality industry.

For 25 years he has gained experience in catering, large hotels, entertainment and trade fairs.

Additionally, Strong’s three years of military service while working as a cook provided him with valuable experience.

“I’ve literally been in the hospitality industry since I was 15, over 50,” Strong said.

Bullseye’s has made a lot of changes since it opened, back when “it was just a bar that had food,” he said.

There were pool tables and darts and only offered a simple menu of burgers and sandwiches.

Strong knew he needed and wanted to introduce and expand his menu offerings at Bullseye’s, which he has done over the years.

“We built things as we went. It was 85% alcohol and 15% food sales, and now it’s 90% food and 10% alcohol, ”he said.

Bullseye’s menu isn’t the only thing different. Strong said his footprint had changed as well.

It replaced the pool tables with 35 additional seats and the raised stage with a buffet and salad bar.

“We have continued to put money back into the business,” Strong said. “This is our fourth or fifth set of flooring in 25 years, and we’ve also improved and expanded our televisions. “

Despite these updates, Strong said he doesn’t want Bullseye to be something he’s not.

“We are shabby chic. We’re supposed to be a sports bar, ”he said. “We are relaxed. We are not trying to make a decor statement.

For him, what’s important is that customers who enter are happy with their food and service, including getting food out on time, regardless of the size of the group at each table.

“I really like that people come and have a good experience… to be satisfied with their food, with their service, and then leave with a smile,” he said.

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