The team at Stacked is testing the idea of adding some local flavor at its Texas locations.
“We can let our guests decide what it is that they like, and certainly for Texas we might add some ingredients that are things people in Texas seem to really love,” Motenko says. “We might tweak some of our signature items, but for the most part we’ll have the ingredients that people enjoy them and let them put it together in combinations that they really appreciate.”
Between the two states, growth will steadily increase over the next few years. The company hopes to open one to two new units in 2019, followed by three to four in 2020. Over the next five years, Motenko expects to have 15 additional company-owned restaurants in the footprint.
At the moment, the company’s growth will be strictly with company-owned units. Down the road, Stacked could become a franchise, but that’s in the distant future, Motenko says.
“BJ's and Yard House were definitely not franchisable,” he says. “We believe Stacked is potentially franchisable, but that's a decision down the line.”
Motenko believes the unique customization systems of Stacked will fit well in a number of markets in California and Texas.
“We are a full-service restaurant that allows the guest to be in charge of their own experience,” Carlyle says. “They dictate how it goes. While I think in other concepts they’re getting what they want, this allows them to create their own. And it really kind of personalizes their experience.”
As the company preps for expansion, Carlyle was brought on to support the process.
“A big impetus toward bringing Craig to our company was to make sure that our operations were in as good of shape as possible as we start to grow again,” Motenko says. “Craig's incredible experience over his career is exactly what we we’re looking for. Someone who really is an operator who knows how to teach people, how to motivate them to constantly improve, and we could not be more excited than having someone like Craig on board as we go into our next stage of development.”
“One of the most rewarding things that I've experienced in my career has been the opportunity to provide growth through people and to influence their growth and their lives in a positive way,” Carlyle adds. “It's a really, really exciting time to be with the company when we've just secured private equity partners and funding for growth and looks to be a very, very bright future ahead of us.”
Guests have responded well to the concept. Being able to have a visual of what’s going to show up on their plate is satisfying. Guests can also control when they order and when they pay, adding to the overall personalized experience.
Stacked’s popularity on social media also contributes to guests returning to the company and creating a conversation outside of the restaurant. The buzz is built around guests sharing their crazy creations while dining at Stacked.
“Until you’ve had your own favorite, customized mac and cheese, you have really not lived,” Motenko says.