Can Seafood Really Be As Accessible As The Corner Bar?

March 21, 2022
Barbara Castiglia

Can seafood really be as accessible as the corner bar? Shuckin’ Shack was designed on this premise of making seafood an everyday menu item as opposed to the white tablecloth service. The company’s CEO Jonathan Weathington joined The Main Course host Barbara Castiglia to share the company’s story and his thoughts on franchising.

While Shuckin’ Shack is a franchise with locations in the southeast, the vision is for it to feel local. “We want to take the pretense out of seafood and build a community,” Weathington explained. Not only is that critical, they are also committed to responsibly sourced seafood.

Weathington doesn’t come from a background of restaurant experience. Instead, he considers his love for customer service and people made this job a “natural fit.”

The restaurant has experienced success and is expanding. Much of that has to do with the business model, uniqueness, and broad appeal. Weathington explained that a market research project revealed that the average customer was between 25 and 75 and 50% male and 50% female. “Our average customer is everyone,” he added.

The locations also vary from central business districts to suburbia. No matter where the store is or who it owns it, they all have that local, authentic coastal atmosphere. That attracts would-be franchisees, too. Weathington explained their ideal partner. “Grit is the first quality, someone who can push through, but this business is difficult. They also have to be communicators because the personality of the owner is what makes or breaks a restaurant.”

Shuckin’ Shack, like any restaurant, dealt with issues in the past few years, from closings to supply chain to staffing. Weathington shared, “We understand that we’re successful because of our front-line employees. We talk to them; ask them what they need beyond just the money or better hours. We want to meet those needs.”

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