Casey Thompson will come full circle when she and her husband, Chris, open the doors next Monday at their ‘new’ Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant in Northeast Richland.
Thompson was a part-time waitress at the restaurant in late December when the previous owner shut down the establishment literally overnight, she said. Two days later, Thompson was on the phone and the Internet trying to buy the franchise.
“Within 15 minutes of sending that e-mail, the district manager for this location called me,” Thompson said. “Even he wasn’t aware the doors had been shut down.” The Thompsons had been on the lookout for an investment for about a year, she said, “So, from that day on, I kinda felt like this was meant to be.”
First must come the hard work of restoring public confidence in the business at that location, said Thompson, who has lived in Columbia since she was child, attending North Springs Elementary, Spring Valley High School and Columbia College.
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“We’re so excited – I can’t wait,” Thompson said. “Thinking of the past, especially how the former owner shut this down, I’m most excited about getting out in the community. Even though I’m a Spring Valley girl, Ridgeview High School is less than half a mile away and I want people to come to me after the Ridgeview football games. I want to spend my time focusing on the community,” she said.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a family-style restaurant and pub, serving burgers, wings, pizza, flatbreads, salads, fajitas and such, along with beer and liquor. It competes with restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee’s and Chili’s. The other Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in the Columbia is in Irmo, but is a separate franchise, said Chris Elliott, chief executive officer.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., the company is 30 years old and has 203 restaurants in 23 states, and one restaurant each in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, said Elliott, noting the Beef ‘O’ Brady concept is an owner-operated concept.
The previous owner of the Northeast location had been part of the franchise for 10 years, Elliott said. The franchise owner didn’t want to renew his agreement, though the business was doing well, the CEO said.
A Beef ‘O’Brady’s franchise can cost between $250,000 to $750,000, Elliott said, though the Hardscrabble Road franchise cost much less because everything was already in place. He predicted the Thompsons will do well at the location.
Thompson said she had finished up the night shift the Sunday after Christmas last year at the Hardscrabble Road restaurant where she worked, then heard ‘through the grapevine’ the next day the establishment had gone out of business.
A sign was put up on the door the next day informing the 15 to 20 employees where they could go to pick up their final pay checks, Thompson said.
“That’s what I felt bad about,” said Thompson, the mother of two sons. She and her husband had just purchased a house at Lake Carolina over the summer after getting married in 2013. However, husband Chris lost his job and had to have surgery, so, in a moment of panic, Thompson said she took the part-time job at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.
Reach Burris at (803) 771-8398