In late 2016, company vice president Bill Bean reevaluated how best to restructure his business going forward, because there were several components to the company — one of them being the hospitality group. The Fort Wayne-based development company already had several ventures underneath the hospitality umbrella, including the Ramada Plaza and Conference Center (which houses Deusey’s sports bar and the Red River Steak House), Park Place on Main, Bill’s Bistro, the One Summit Building (including the Window Garden restaurant) and Chestnut Hills Golf Course. With all of these locations having similar needs, Bean decided to form one consolidated group of quality people to be the most efficient and achieve the most success.
“The first key person I brought on board on the corporate level was Brian Schreffler, who was formerly with Chop’s and then Chop’s Wine Bar,” says Bean. “Then I added Ken Davenport, who had been the manager at Biaggi’s and also a partner at Black Canyon, and Vince Buchanan, who has economic development experience as well as a knowledge of Muncie-area restaurants.”
Bean knows a good opportunity when he sees one, and with numerous real estate acquisitions and successful businesses already in place, he and his partners are able to continue that momentum in successfully running more restaurants. “I know from years of experience on both sides of the table that the key to success lies in the people,” says Bean. “You need to have good people because you’re dealing with the public. Not only do they need to have the knowledge and direction but a good personality as well. The next key is consistency. When I go into a restaurant I want to have the same dish I enjoyed the first time, prepared the very same way each time I order it after that. We spend a lot of time striving for consistency at each of our locations.”
One of the newest projects Bean has in the works is to acquire and reopen Flanagan’s restaurant on the southwest side of Fort Wayne. And, he plans to continue seeking new opportunities as they present themselves. “The key for me during this ‘start-up’ period is patience,” he says. “I think we are starting to hit our stride and then we will possibly move on to the next project. I want to make it challenging enough to attract good talent. If we have servers who want to work more hours, we have the flexibility for them to work at an event at the hotel, pooling resources from one place to another, which is something few businesses have the ability to do.”
A self-proclaimed ‘redeveloper,’ Bean prefers to take existing restaurants and give them a fresh concept. “It takes a while to change the existing perception about a certain restaurant—so that’s one of my biggest challenges. I would rather take something existing and rebuild it into something new than to begin with something totally new.”
Bean draws inspiration for his restaurants through personal experience. “I eat out quite often and have had the opportunity to travel and experience different types of cuisines,” he says. “Most of our restaurants will have at least one or two items that are personal favorites of mine that I’m trying to share with the our guests. As we develop concepts, I may offer my own ideas, but also allow the chefs to be creative as well. The idea is to blend all of our visions into one enjoyable experience for people. Dining out is not just about the food or the service — it’s the total experience. That’s what people look for when they come to a restaurant. They want to feel appreciated and welcomed. We try to create that enjoyable dining experience at each of our locations.”
Address: 200 E. Main Street Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Phone: (260) 422-2150