HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO "YOU"
Mugshots Grill and Bar Celebrates 10 years
Happy Birthday to "You" - the best customers in the world!
I woke up this morning with a text message from my wife saying "Happy Birthday to you and the whole Mugshots crew! Congrats to all of you for all your hard work over the last ten years!"
As I sit in my office this morning rereading the message I can't help but think about the words Happy Birthday to "you." One word in particular - "You." Today "WE" will celebrate 10 years of being in business. Together, we have kept this dream alive and growing for a decade! I cannot express how grateful I am for all of you and what you have done for me and my guys at Ain't Life Grand Investments. I think about you all the time. I hope I am making you proud.
Ten years ago today in an old dive bar in Hattiesburg Mississippi we opened our first location for you. We had a small loan from our parents to get started that went quick - so quick that on opening day our bartenders had to empty their wallets to give us change for the registers when you came in for your first visit. We paid them back after the shift of course Then later (when we could afford kitchen equipment) we named menu items after them in thanks. There was no room in the budget for decor back then, but you soon filled up the walls with your "Mugshots” pics from all over the world (thanks for the idea Howard Bond). You supported us as we packed up and moved from town to town, figuring out this "restaurant" business for you. You were always there for us.
Over the first couple of years we learned a lot, always trying to make our company better for you. We were hit with many problems back then but we kept a POSITIVE ATTITUDE for you. We WORKED HARD day in and day out for you. We weren't always sure why you were coming in as often as you were, but we were sure GRATEFUL that you were. Although sometimes it was hard to see, we kept our VISION of being the best burger restaurant in each town. We didn't always know what we were doing back then, but we always made sure to HAVE FUN doing it. Those five words became our core values and our "Havin' A Good Time" way became our culture. We formed our non-profit organization about 5 years ago - named it "Making Life Grand" and we have put a portion of every burger and gyro you buy into that fund and give it to your local communities. This past year alone you helped us give back over $57,000 to your local communities. $20,000 to the Child Advocacy center - an unbelievable organization we have grown close to because of you.
You have not only support me and kept my dream alive but you have fulfilled the dreams of many more along the way. See back ten years ago, I was a 25 year old, full of confidence, ready to tackle this restaurant business, open 10 restaurants and buy a boat! That was my plan back then. Then someone told me that the key to success wasn't to run you company for "yourself" but to do it for "those around you, and if you do, success will come." I didn't know what that meant back then (not many 25 year olds would) but it somehow became embedded in my heart and in the culture of our company.
I want you to know that ten years later you have not just fulfilled my dreams but opened the door for countless others to achieve their dream. To name a few....My first manager (Adam Briscoe) in our original location is now the Director of Business Administration and partner in a store of his own. One of my first cooks (Chris Banchero) has worked his way up to being president of the Musghots brand and partners in 3 Mugshots locations. Our second hired manager (Tray Gamble) and one of our first bartenders (Jim Hicks) have partnered up and own 2 locations for themselves. Will Taylor started at our original location in Hattiesburg shortly after we opened and is now partners with me and has 2 Glory Bound Gyro Company restaurants. Cliff Rayburn started as a cook for me when we opened our Starkville location in the fall of 2004 - he now is the owner of our Tuscsloosa Mugshots. Sam Montgomery was also a cook in those early Starkville days - Sam is now Director of Performance, Development and Culture and is partners with me in his own Mugshots territory. Clint Walker and Derek Howard started as bartenders back in 2004 in Starkvile and now are partners in our Montgomery and Covington locations. My cousin Sean McCarty started with me after finishing college and is now partners with me in 2 restaurants of his own. He is our company cheerleader as well (sorry for that Sean). You have led to the success of, not only these guys, but countless others who have worked with us over the years.
Over the last ten years we have stayed true to our core values and the notion that if you put the success of others first, good things will happen for everyone. To my employees - Thank you for the countless hours of work. To my vendors...Thanks your for the partnership. To my friends and family - Thank you for your unconditional support. You would have thought that old dive bar was a 5 star restaurant. To my executive team...I wouldn't want to take this journey with anyone else. To the one person that has sacraficed the most over the last ten years...my wife Darah - Thank you for giving me the freedom to follow this dream, patting my back during the good times, and telling me to "lace up my boot straps and get to work" through the tough times. And to "YOU" all of my unbelievable customers.... You have played a huge part in the success of our company, and for that I say Thank You and Happy Birthday to "You.
"Ain't Life Grand"
Grill Cook / Founder