Weekly Business Profile
Central Grill and Coffee House
Type of business:
2056 Central SW
Albuquerque NM 87104
Number of Employees:
What was your first job?
I worked at a Lotaburger when I was 16 years old, flipping burgers. It’s kind of funny. I just realized here I am, 44 years later, flipping burgers again. Wow! Talk about going full circle.
What is your business philosophy?
Our purpose is to serve exceptional, creative food while delivering first-class customer service to our guests.
What is your or your company's greatest asset?
No doubt, it’s our employees. They have caught our vision of serving top quality comfort food while making sure our guests totally enjoy their experience with Central Grill. They understand our goal of making sure every one of our guests will spread the word about our food and service levels. Alicia and I are excited because they are starting to come to us with new ideas and new crazy food creations—always with the intent to make our food and customer service levels even better.
What are your strongest business traits?
I understand what the customer expects when they dine. When they visit a restaurant, they want good, exciting food at a fair price, and they want to feel like they are truly a guest at your restaurant. If for some reason a customer is not happy with something, we will take great effort to make sure they leave happy and will come back.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
We are excited to open our restaurant near Old Town. We feel this whole area is experiencing a revitalization of interest with new restaurants and microbreweries opening in the area. Locals, as well as tourists, are discovering this new trendy hot spot of good food and fun. We want to be a contributing part of the community by offering great comfort food and having our customers enjoy their time with us.
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We just finished phase one of our new patio. We are excited because we think it will be kind of a cool place to sit out front, enjoy a meal and watch some of the classic cars that are always "cruising" Central. We have also added a new daily special to both the breakfast and lunch menu. We’ve also added daily hot soups.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
I really don't spend much time thinking about the competition and what they do or don't offer. My thoughts are that all I can do is offer the best quality food and customer service we can. If we do those two things, we will be successful. We proudly serve Seattle's Best Coffee at our espresso coffee bar, along with daily fresh-baked deserts.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
One thing we take very seriously is listening to our customers’ comments or complaints. We strive to always get better in every area of our business. If we don't know something is not right, then how can we fix it? That is why I always visit with our guests to see how we did with the time they gave us.
What are your growth goals?
We open at 6:30am and want to see an increase of coffee and breakfast sales in our morning drive-thru window. We are starting to get morning regulars; as soon as we recognize their car, we are already making their specialty coffee and breakfast burrito to go. Everyone is in a hurry to get to work. They can drive up and get their morning java and be on their way quickly. We would like to see more and more people discover our morning breakfast and coffee drive-thru service.
What have you done that you are proud of for a charity or the community?
From the beginning, we have never charged policemen, firefighters or military personnel for beverages. We think it is important to honor them and thank them for their service.
How has the internet affected your business, and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
Honestly I really didn't understand how huge social media is in the restaurant business. So many people are looking for restaurant reviews on Yelp and Urban Spoon and will base their decision on where to eat on those comments. Twitter and Facebook have to be a part of your business planning. We just launched our new website, centralgrillcoffeealbuquerque.com, and people are already visiting the site. In the future we will be adding more features to our website to let people know what we are doing.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
if you are going to start a business, make sure you understand the commitment level you will need. It is not easy, and you will face difficult decisions and have to deal with them. On the other hand, it’s exciting to know you started your own business and are giving jobs to people. Also make sure you like what you are doing because it is going to take a lot of your time. Don't be afraid to find people that can give you help through their own experiences.
What's your favorite saying or quotation?
A bad attitude is like a flat tire; you’re not going anywhere until you change it.
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