Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chad Wallin, owner of Joe Beeverz Canadian Pub. Branches are located at E. Yorkton, SK, Brandon, MB, and Wasagaming, MB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We love Canada, beer, wings, and poutines....... We like to make people feel welcome in our establishments, ensuring that they leave with a bigger smile on their face than when they came in. We don’t pretend to be something we are not. We have earned the trust of our repeat guests so that they know that we will be consistent in our service, our food quality, and atmosphere.
Our customers know that they can feel welcome whether they are wearing a team jersey, a suit, cocktail dress, or grubby coveralls. Our fun, unpretentious atmosphere welcomes all. We are truly unique in our attitude, menu, and personality. We are proud of our people, our teams, and our communities. We celebrate “awesomeness” in all forms and love to support as many local charities and grassroots programs as possible. We encourage our culinary team to be creative and inspired. We stay relevant and fresh by coming up with ideas that push boundaries and challenge our staff, such as setting a record for the World’s Largest Poutine of 1949 pounds.
Tell us about yourself
Like many people who make the restaurant industry their chosen career, I started at the bottom…….the dish area, a table busser, and at the host stand as a 16-year-old kid at the Kenosee Gardens at Kenosee Lake. Luckily, I was hired at a restaurant as I didn’t really care where I worked; I just wanted a reason to live at the lake for the summer. For the next four years, I went back to the lake for employment and progressed to a different position each year from server to bartender in the nightclub and even filling in, in the kitchen when required. There wasn’t a position I didn’t like……. Including the dish pit.
Almost immediately, I fell in love with the restaurant and hospitality industry. From the diverse group of people you get to work and interact with, the crazy long hours and fast pace, right down to being responsible to ruining someone’s life for overcooking their steak, I loved it all. This was quickly becoming my passion! I enrolled in the two-year Restaurant Administration program at Kelsey Siast in Saskatoon. Upon completing my program and finishing somewhere near the bottom in grades but at the top in “fun had,” I decided to take some time to travel before settling into my career. I boarded a plane to take me to Australia and New Zealand. It was here in Australia that the idea of Joe Beeverz was born. I remember one night going out with some fellow Canadian travelers that I had met, and we ended up in an Irish-themed Pub. The pub was packed with Canadians.
We were……. having a great time in an Irish Pub in Australia. This got me thinking…… how awesome would it be if we were in a Canadian Pub in Australia? I mean …. Canadians are equally as cool as the Irish….. We like to party and drink beers and celebrate our heritage…… and we don’t fight with each other nearly as much? So the idea was born…..This idea simmered on the back burner in my brain for another 15 years as I gained experience in the industry, maturity, and most importantly…… capital to be able to open my dream place eventually. Essentially forced to return to Canada because my “working visa” was never utilized…… and the bank of mom and dad had been closed for a while with no intention of reopening, it was time to come back and get a job in the real world.
While still in Australia, I received a call from my mom strongly encouraging me to apply for a large national restaurant company looking to open in Regina. This company was Kelsey’s. After the interview process, I was fortunate enough to be offered an Assistant manager position. During the next two years, I had advanced to the General Manager position at 23 years old, the youngest Gm in the company, something I am still proud of to this day. I operated the Kelsey’s in this capacity for another four years. This experience was really where I began to understand the ins and outs and began to cut my teeth in the restaurant industry.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think that my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is that we have found a way to not only survive but thrive as a small independent restaurant amongst the large national chains.... which is not an easy feat. I am proud that I still employ people that have been with me through the ups and downs of this crazy business and lifestyle from day one. Still, I also am proud that we are recognized in our community as a contributor to help make our community a better place to live and to do business.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Without a doubt, it is the stress of trying to stay relevant with customers as competitors continue to open. Perhaps the biggest stresses are staffing... finding the right people... and keeping the right people as most are part-time, short-term employees as they are predominantly university students with plans outside of this industry.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
There are so many tips that I wish I knew back when I was starting out, but here are a few key points that I think are crucial.
- Surround yourself with great people that can help assemble a great supporting team. These are the people that crave success and have ambition, passion, and energy. These people will make your life a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable, but ensure that they see your vision and buy into that vision.
- Think with your head and not with your heart. By that, I mean that you will be forced to make a lot of difficult decisions that may be "hurt your heart." Still, you need to keep the needs of the business at the forefront, even if this means making a difficult decision and forcing you into an uncomfortable conversation. Make the right decision for you, not the easy one.
- There's no better boss for you than you... but you are now solely responsible for every decision that you make, and sometimes it can be pretty lonely. Stick to your brand, morals, and ethics, and prepare to work your ass off.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.