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10 Quality Specifications

Marbling and maturity

  1. Modest or higher marbling – for the taste that ensures customer satisfaction
  2. Medium or fine marbling texture – the white "flecks of flavor" in the beef that ensure consistent flavor and juiciness in every bite
  3. Only the youngest classification of product qualifies as "A" maturity – for superior color, texture and tenderness

The next three specifications ensure a uniform, consistent steak size:

  1. 10- to 16-square-inch ribeye area
  2. Less than 1,000-pound hot carcass weight
  3. Less than 1-inch fat thickness

And finally, four specifications further ensure the quality appearance and tenderness of the brand:

  1. Superior muscling (restricts influence of dairy cattle)
  2. Practically free of capillary ruptures (ensures the most visually appealing steak)
  3. No dark cutters (ensures the most visually appealing steak)
  4. No neck hump exceeding 2 inches (safeguards against cattle with more variability in tenderness)


Brian’s Cheesesteaks

Diner Success: Giving Customers Home-Made Value for their Money

One could say that the fast food business has always been in the blood of Brian Vick, a Rocky Mount native and owner of Brian’s Cheesesteaks on Jeffries Road. Whether it was bussing tables or cutting steaks at Western Sizzling in the early 80’s as a high school student, or managing a grill in Tampa, Florida, in the early 90’s, the business of preparing and serving quality fast food was something he always gravitated towards.

“I tried several jobs and careers as a youngster, but I got my teeth in this business early, and it sort of just stuck with me. Eventually, it got the best of me, and I succumbed to its siren call,“ he said recently while sipping a homemade sweet tea at his popular Rocky Mount diner.

And to us citizens of Rocky Mount and surroundings, we couldn’t be happier that he turned his passion into a business that so many of us continue to frequent and in ever-increasing numbers. The secret to the success of the business: They’ve kept it simple.

Brian, as he’s known to all who walk through the front door, said he and his parents always knew that Rocky Mount could use a diner where “common but good food was served, but at good value for the money, and with efficient service.”

Sounds simple, but making the concept work required several years of trial and error, revisions to work methods, physical space and menu to make all parts function efficiently and effectively.

Doors Opened in 2001

Initially, in October, 2001, the diner opened in the floor space next to the current location, but at about one-third the total floor area. It was originally called “Brian’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers,” and the theme at the time was to offer simple hotdogs and hamburgers at a good price. It didn’t take long for the business to undergo some necessary changes in order to meet customer needs and ensure adequate profits to keep the doors open.

“To survive in this business, you must give the customer what he/she wants. It’s not about what I want,” Brian said. That viewpoint meant modifying the menu to include fresh salads and soups, but it also meant expanding the menu and for a very important reason: the need for repeat business.

“You got to have your customers coming back,” he said. “You soon learn that you’re not paying your bills with the customer who comes in once every six months. Our local market area just won’t support that type of thinking.”

So, responding the diner’s customers, low carb meals were added, as were cheesesteak sandwiches and various lunch combinations. And as time passed, the good will spread and the business expanded, which created another challenge for the diner: insufficient diner floor space.

“Man, we hated turning away customers at lunch in those first days, but that was how far we had come in just first five years,” he remembered. “We had to move for the sake of those who continued to come back, or wanted to come back.”

Business Expansion in 2006

The answer to the space problem was a move, literally, to the floor space next door in the fall of 2006. Immediately, the business went from approximately 1,000 square feet of working space to over 3,000 square feet. That meant several things to the restaurant, the least of which was adding the much needed chairs and tables.

First of all, the “old fashioned 50’s feel-good theme” of the business was reinforced. A visit today will take one back to the comfortable times of those early years with individual jukebox music stations again located at each customer’s table. Visitors will also notice many vintage posters of big name stars and old-time company brands dotting the diner’s walls. However, a lunch visit also comes complete with the latest large LCD video technology located on several walls to keep the customer both entertained and informed.

“We wanted to give people a comfortable environment with the neon tubing, personal booths, wall hangings, et al, of those great early years, but we also wanted to keep the technology and video current to meet the needs of all customer groups,” Brian explained. “We have people of all ages coming here looking for value for their money, and we’d like them all to feel comfortable.”

Behind the scenes, the move next door also meant several improvements to meet the diner’s needs both for today and tomorrow. One fundamental

Change has been the addition of the latest in restaurant business systems technology in order to improve several areas of operation. This entrepreneur learned quickly that better controls would be absolutely necessary in the larger and costlier environment if the diner were to ever maximize revenues and control operating costs.

The business’s computerized PDA ordering system is state of the art. Today, a well-trained waitress takes a customer order on her PDA, which is immediately and wirelessly transferred to kitchen and cashier staff. The order is literally being prepared on the grill or salad table before the waitress leaves one table of hungry customers for another. Quick service is of the essence at Brian’s Cheesesteaks.

“It’s a fast world, and we try to keep some value in it,” Brian said. “We do that by going from order to food on the table in a matter of minutes. That kind of service is imperative to the working man and woman of today.”

When asked if the quick service has been the prime reason attributable to the success of the diner, Brian is quick to point out that first and foremost it is a combination of factors, of which timely service is but one of them.

Quality Breeds Success

“We honestly believe that it is the quality of our product that keeps people coming back,” he said. “From the first day, we decided not to skimp on the quality of our product. Maybe we haven’t been the biggest promoter of this feature, but we do everything homemade that we can, and always with the best of product money can buy.”

The homemade offerings include most items on the menu. The beef is Angus Beef and always freshly made patties and steak - never frozen product. The soups and chili are homemade daily, as are the desserts from the kitchen of his mother, Joyce. His pimento cheese sandwich is his own recipe, as is a customer favorite, the chicken salad. And the tea is pre-chilled and from scratch.

So, what’s in the future for Brian‘s Cheesesteaks? For one thing, the business is already contemplating a possible physical expansion. Those lunch-time lineups, however short, just don’t sit well with the owner. But on the immediate horizon, the business will taking its successful menu on-line with a new website, www.brianscheesesteaks.com. It’s a project that Brian’s been mulling and planning for the past year, and….well…here it is before you. It’s a fully enterprise-integrated website and ordering system brought to you, the customer, on-line, and fully secured with the best of available web technologies.

“It took some time to get it ready for the customer, but we’re very pleased with what we’ve accomplished,” Brian said. “Our on-line ordering system will display each menu item we offer, and it will permit the customer to order and pay on-line, and it will further guarantee a secure on-line transaction. By that, I mean that each customer will be insured by Network Solutions Site Safe for up to $50,000 in loss on his credit/debit card when he places an order. We will be using the very best of encryption technology to ensure that our customers feel comfortable when ordering our menu items on-line.”

Oh, yes, when ordering on-line, the customer only need pop into the diner and, wouldn’t you know it, the homemade food will be waiting. And best of all, on-line orders will come initially with a 10% of discount on all menu items.

“This is our way of expanding our business, but also of providing our customers with what they’ve been wanting, an additional service,” said Brian. “We can’t express our appreciation enough to those loyal customers who keep us in business. Hopefully, they’ll take advantage of our many, many offerings on the menu, do it at a discount, and we’ll continue to improve product and offerings to them as we continue to grow.”

Brian’s Cheesesteaks: A Rocky Mount success story by providing customers with homemade value for their money.

 

 

 

 


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