If you’ve eaten at a Shari’s you’ve experienced the entrepreneurial genius of my dad.
You know the old Denny’s design, and those rocks on top of so many coffee-shop roofs? Well, dad came up with that look when starting out as an architect and designer for Sambo’s Restaurant way back in the day. He went on to start a 7 chain restaurant named after his little brother Dan called Fancy Dan’s with my mom. They had locations throughout Oregon and Washington.
After that, he opened a place along the Oregon Trail called The Blue Bucket. It had the most incredible homemade barley soup I have ever had, served up in a really cool cast iron bowl.
Next came the Shari’s venture. Today it is still the only design patented restaurant and has nearly 100 outlets.
With a few projects in between, Dad has never stopped innovating. Those projects include helping his friend Horst Mager (yeah that is the fondue recipe we all love) of the Rheinlander and Gustav’s fame with menu development, to designing, building and running an incredible hotel called the Rogue Regency in southern Oregon.
He currently owns and operates Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge with his wife Donna, right below Mt. Ashland south of Ashland on the Southern Oregon border. After the lodge burned to the ground in 2006, dad went to task to design and build a lodge that today amazes and entertains guests year round with it’s rustic but elegant world-class service and accommodations.
This week I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on all dad has taught me about business. Most of all he instilled in me an innovative spirit. He has a passion to design and give customers a grand experience. He is a businessman at heart. A friend reminded me of dad’s two hospitality rules a few weeks back: A. Never ask how everything was when you are cashing out. It’s too late! B. Never ask if a customer wants more coffee; just fill the cup.
I hope one day to have my own business legacy. Happy fathers day dad!